Yoga breathing focuses on using low abdominal breathing of the diaphragm muscle, and filling the entire lungs (upper, middle and lower parts) with pranic air. It involves the following regular, rhythmic, flowing breath pattern:
Stage 1: Puraka – inhalation, filling the lungs
Stage 2: Kumbhaka – retention, or holding of the breath
Stage 3: Rechaka – exhalation, emptying the lungs
Stage 4: Kumbhaka - breath suspension when the lungs are empty
Through a range of breathing exercises, Pranayama helps us more fully oxygenate and purify our bodies, calm our minds, balance our emotions and energies.
Inhalation brings energy and nourishment. Holding the breath allows the stale air and fresh air to mix in the air sacks and gets Prana to fully enter and energize the body. Exhalation cleanses the system and quiets the emotions.
Pranayama, through full, deep breathing fuels, energises, cleanses, balances and relaxes the entire body, and mind.
The complete Yogic breath fills the lungs completely in a smooth, continuous, conscious flow of Prana through Puraka, Kumbhaka, Rechaka and Kumbhaka, in the following three steps:
Step 1: Abdominal Breathing
Step 2: Middle or Chest Breathing
Step 3: Shoulder or Upper Breathing
After exhaling (Rechaka), we pause (Khumbaka), then we inhale (Puraka), filling the abdominal zone of the lungs first, followed by the chest and upper lungs. Then we hold the breath for a moment (Khumbaka) before exhalation (Rechaka). Both exhalation and inhalation start at the abdominal (diaphragm) area.
Your lungs fill up with air, as a glass with water.
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