A Quick RECAP.
Practice I: Meet your Breath [Breath Series # 01]
Practice II: Sectional Breathing [Breath Series # 02]
As per our ancient wisdom, the number of breaths allotted to us in a lifetime is predetermined. Though I am unaware of the exact Source (which Scripture/ Classical text) for this, yet the implied understanding is that ‘the slower we breathe, the longer we live’ [considering natural death, of course].
Ancient Rishis studied nature in great detail. They observed that the rate of breathing is directly related to the lifespan. Animals with a slow breath rate (e.g. tortoise, elephant), have a longer lifespan. They realized the importance of slow breathing not only in increasing the human life span, but also in maintaining a tranquil state of mind.
Deep mindful breathing automatically slows down the breath and revitalizes the body and mind. Here, in this post we shall dive into the practice of Deep Breathing or Full Yogic Breathing.
PRACTICE III: DEEP BREATHING / FULL YOGIC BREATHING
We saw that there are three sections/ levels in Sectional Breathing – Abdominal, Chest and Clavicular Breathing.
Deep Breathing is all these three levels/ types combined together.
- Sit in a comfortable cross legged posture [Or on a chair, if needed].
- Ensure that the spine is erect. Gently place your palms on the thighs or knees, as convenient. Gently let the eyes closed.
- Roll your shoulders up, back and down; 2- 3 times. [Instantly releases any tension in the upper body and rectifies drooped shoulders].
- Ground yourself. [Be aware of the parts of the body that is in contact with the ground. Ensure there is balance along the center, i.e. you are not tilting to any one direction].
- Start to be AWARE of your breath [One inhalation at a time and one exhalation at a time].
- Now, start Deep Breathing.
- Inhalation – first inflate the Abdomen, then Chest and then Clavicle up [Sequence 1,2 and 3] OR all three simultaneously.
- Exhalation – Release clavicle, then chest, then Abdomen [Sequence 3, 2 and 1] OR all three simultaneously.
- Continue for about 5- 10 rounds OR about 3 -10 minutes, as per capacity, within comfortable limits.
- Once you are done, continue to keep the eyes closed. Sit still and quiet, just observing the effect on your mind and body. Maintain this state as long as you feel like.
- Then gently let the eyes open.
In Step 6, as per convenience, one may go sequentially OR simultaneously with the different sections, as already mentioned above. The essential idea is to get the full expansion of abdomen and chest cavity walls, so that the lungs expand fully and maximum exchange of incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide happens.
Benefits of Deep Breathing
Our breath influences every cell in the body. The constant oxygen supply for energy generation to run every single function of the body (be it muscular contraction, glandular secretion, brain functioning or anything at all) comes through breathing. Thus breathing influences the quality of life.
Some of the benefits are:
- It influences the brain functioning and overall nervous system.
- It keeps the body high on energy and more resistant to disease.
- It stimulates the lymphatic system, so the immune responses are enhanced.
- Abdominal organs and heart gets stimulated, better nourished. Any abnormality in the internal organs is healed.
- Aids relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Relieves insomnia, lowers heart rate, lowers BP, reduces stress, increases mental clarity, calms the mind and steadies the emotions.
- Slows down the aging process.
The list can go on and on, the point is Deep Breathing most definitively brings vitality to the mind and body and promotes good health.
Having said all that, please know that we are not designed to breathe deeply at all times, in all situations. So, please do not struggle there. Practices lasting upto 3 -10 minutes, 1-3 times a day (in an empty stomach) is okay. At other times, one can just maintain the natural rhythm of Abdominal Breathing (remember this is what we inherited from Mother Nature).
In the next post, there will be some more breathing practices to maintain our holistic health, even more so during these COVID times.
Till then, keep discovering your Rhythm 🎵🎵through your Breath.
P.S. It is wise to practice as per one’s capacity and only progressively increase the duration of practice.