Pranayama and its Benefits

Step 1 – Abdominal Breathing

Have you noticed your natural breathing technique? You must have noticed that when you inhale your abdomen or your stomach rises and falls when you exhale. Spend a few seconds checking the flow of your breath. Now try to take deep breaths allowing your abdomen to rise to its last limit during inhalation and allowing your abdomen to fall completely while exhaling. Remember, keep your chest still during this exercise and move your abdomen only. Repeat the process for 20 breaths and relax.

Step 2 – Chest Breathing
Observe your natural breathing again. In the first step you had focused on your abdomen, now focus on your chest. As you breathe your chest will be moving very slightly up and down with exhalation. Now try lifting the rib cage as much as you could while inhaling so that the lungs get filled up completely. Now let the lungs deflate completely and let the chest sink to its limit. Keep your abdomen still and repeat the process for 20 breaths. Relax.

Step 3 – Full Yogic Breathing

The Full Yogic technique of breathing is a combination of both the first and second steps. Inhale and first fill your abdomen, continue to inhale and expand your chest. Now exhale and deflate the chest first and then the abdomen. The pattern would be inhaling in to the abdomen first and then chest and exhaling from the chest first and then abdomen. Remember do not strain. Try to practice this as smoothly and effortlessly as possible.

If you keep practicing the Yogic breathing regularly, you will start breathing in this manner over time.

Benefits of Yogic Breathing

Helps against respiratory diseases like asthma and emphysema.

Improves stimulus to the cardio-vascular system.

Reduces anxiety and calms the mind.

Improves the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen, thus improving detoxification.

Increases distribution of energy to the endocrine system.
Releases acute and chronic muscular tensions around the heart and digestive organs.

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