If one is aware of the tenets of yoga and the ancient tenets related to one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, one knows how this ancient science links the breath to every system and process of the body – tangible and intangible. It is the breath that determines the rate at which the heart beats, the rate at which the lungs function, the amount of blood that reaches the brain and so on. The problem with us is, that we do not pay attention to our breath and, in turn, we do not breathe right, which a yoga specialist would describe as the root cause for every ailment that plagues human beings. The fact that breath is such an integral part of existence makes us take it for granted all the more, which is where we go wrong. It pays to track the pattern of our breath and to breathe consciously. Here’s how to breathe right.
Learning To Breathe Right
Knowledge Is Power
It pays to be aware of the breath taken – the inhalation and exhalation, and the gaps in between. Awareness of something that we take for granted all our lives could demand some practice. You could begin by concentrating all your thought processes on your breath and, in the process, letting go of any other thoughts or concerns. Once you have begun to notice the inhales and exhales as also the pauses in between, you will also be able to track the pattern of your breath – how and when it is easy or difficult, shallow or deep.
Breath And Body Changes
When one inhales or exhales, there are many changes that occur in the body; get used to noticing them. Take a deep breath and hold that breath; now notice the changes in the body. Notice the position and posture you are holding. If you find it difficult to hold the breath, your posture might be wrong; you could sit upright on the edge of the seat or lie down on your back to support your back. This will bring into your breathing pattern an order and make it even and natural.
There are some physical exercises that could help you notice your breath better. For instance, you could begin by feeling your abdomen by extending out with your inhale. Hold the breath for a few seconds and then exhale and relax your shoulders. You could also adjust your scapulae by rolling them up and back, inward and down toward the hips, every time your crown lifts. You could pay attention to your next inhale and how it expands the abdomen, chest, ribs, and the throat areas. Notice all four sides of the torso expanding with your inhale. Ultimately, exhale totally and let go of anymore effort to expand. Feel yourself releasing tension along the spine from the crown of your head to the tailbone.
Gaps Are Important Too
The inhale and the exhale are important in themselves, but equally important are the pauses between each inhale and each exhale. You could practice balancing the breath by counting the inhale upto four seconds, pausing for about two seconds, then exhale another four seconds. You could increase or decrease the number of seconds for each part of the breath. A good rule is equal time for inhale and exhale. Continue practicing belly breathing from the abdomen upward into the throat and exhaling throat, chest, then abdomen.