The Art Of Good Breathing
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Yoga

Control of Breath – Pranayama.

The Art Of Good Breathing

It is extremely imperative to know the art of good breathing before starting to do pranayama. Many people complain about the adverse effect that pranayama causes on them. But the basic reason behind it is that they begin to do pranayama without complete knowledge of the process of breathing and to what extent it affects the system. Many people in their ignorance just jump to doing the pranayama exercises and never bother to understand the seriousness of the whole process, and end up harming their systems. But their ignorance and eagerness are the culprits behind the damage, and not the discipline of pranayama.

Life is entirely dependent upon breathing for existence. People can stay without food and water for a few days, but without breathing it is difficult to survive for more than a few seconds. Breathing is one faculty that is not dependent upon where a living being is placed on the ladder of evolution. All the creatures no matter how highly or lowly placed they are, require breathing in order to survive. Thus, breathing remains the most important single chord that affects life everywhere.

It is a point of introspection and discussion that despite much advancement in the medical sciences over the last few years, the number of diseases is always on the rise. Yoga experts attribute this negative advancement in the society to incorrect breathing practices and faulty life style practices. They believe that most people do not know the art of good breathing. They advise to look at and learn from a three year old child to understand the meaning of good breathing. Three years is an age and stage in life when the external impressions have still not begun making a mark, and faulty habits have not yet set themselves in. It is important to understand a few critical factors for good breathing. They are being given here in detail.

Respiratory Organs: The bronchial tube or air passage leading to lungs and network of air passages inside the lungs constitute the respiratory organs. The two lungs are in the thoracic region of the body on either side of the median line separated by the heart and a mesh of blood vessels and larger air tubes. We inhale through the nose and there the air comes in contact with the mucous membrane which is richly supplied with blood vessels. Coming thus in contact the inhaled air is sufficiently warmed. Then it goes in the lungs where it is absorbed by the numerous cells of the lungs. These cells here separate the vital prana from the air and the rest is ejected from the system by way of exhalation. The retained air is sent to the heart. This is then used to purify the blood.

People who habitually indulge in shallow breathing restrict the supply of vital prana into their system. If the system is trained to retain air for a longer duration the respiratory organs get a chance to absorb the vital prana which is then utilized for better oxygenation of blood and helps in enhancing the state of the entire body. Through pranayama the art of retention of air can be taught to an individual so that the system can be better trained.

Techniques of Deep and Complete Breathing: Practice of shallow and hesitant breathing should be stopped immediately. Starting now, make sure to breathe deeply and to retain the inhaled air for a longer time until this practice becomes a habit. Visualize the inhaled air being distributed to all parts of the lungs. While exhaling the chest should be kept steady and abdomen should be drawn slightly inside. As the exhalation process proceeds further the abdomen will be sucked in a little more automatically. And along with the air from the abdomen the air from the lungs will also be pushed out. After exhalation the next breath should not immediately taken in. The abdominal walls should be kept relaxed. This process of breathing combines high, medium and low breaths. A person practicing this for a few times in the morning can sustain the benefits for the entire day. Initially a practitioner may be faced with difficulty in keeping the mouth closed during the process. But with practice it can be learnt and mastered.

Exhaling deeply throws more of carbon dioxide from the system. This is an exercise that can be carried out once a day, preferably in the morning when the air is fresh. The practice should be done just by focusing on inhaling and exhaling deeply as described above. Throughout the process the body should be considered just an instrument of breathing and nothing else. Imagine creating a storm inside yourself. Deep breaths should be practiced exercising all power, so that the entire body trembles in the process. With concentrated effort the process should be continued for ten minutes starting with two minutes, or as long as a person can take it easily.

Care should be taken to do this in the open and also not to open the mouth during the entire time. This process is a complete exercise in itself. The process can be repeated several times during a day especially when the person is feeling tired and stressed out.

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