A person inhales and exhales unconsciously, so often breathing is superficial, which negatively affects the state of the body. In yogic culture, breathing plays a big role, because together with air, a person draws prana – vital energy. This is an intangible ether that comes to earth from Cosmos and gives life to plants, animals and people.
According to the precepts of Patanjali, before starting the practice of pranayama, it is necessary to study the basic techniques by which the inhalation-exhalation cycle is carried out:
1. Upper or clavicular. Inhalation occurs when the muscles of the shoulders are strained, the clavicles rise upward, letting in some air. The abdomen and diaphragm remain motionless. Such a technique is considered very energy-consuming and ineffective. Often such breathing can be observed during the practice of inverted asanas, such as halasans.
2. Secondary or costal. Due to the tension of the muscles of the thoracic region, the diaphragm expands and air enters the lungs. Muscles relax – exhale occurs. The abdominal muscles remain relaxed all the time. With this technique, the upper section of the lungs is ventilated. Such breathing is also not considered full and useful, it is appropriate when performing asanas that involve the retention of uddiyana bandha, for example adho mukha schwanasana.
3. Lower or abdominal. Inspiration technique: the diaphragmatic muscles tighten and open downward, the ribs press on the outer wall of the abdominal cavity and push it forward. When you exhale, the muscles of the diaphragm relax, the ribs close, air is expelled from the lungs. This technique promotes good ventilation of the lower parts of the lungs. If you do not use them, then mucus accumulates, stagnant, “exhausted” air. The breathing cycle performed using this technique saturates the abdominal organs and the gastrointestinal tract with oxygen. It is advisable to use such a technique in the practice of sarvangasana.
4. Complete yogic breathing. This technique combines all three types. Such a breathing cycle is considered the most effective and harmonious. Applying 3 techniques in the sequence, we open the lungs and supply the maximum amount of oxygen to the body.
Conscious yogic breathing pacifies thoughts and promotes contemplation.
HOW TO BREATHE WITH MAXIMUM USE
If you apply breathing techniques at a subconscious level, thoughtlessly, the effect will be miserable. We will just inhale oxygen so as not to die. The main task is to let the prana into you during inspiration and absorb as much of it as possible. To do this, hold the breath on inhalation. A pause should be equal to the time taken for inhalation, or exceed it by 2, 4, 6 times – as far as preparation at the given moment allows. For example, you took 4 seconds to inhale, then the pause before exhalation may be 4, 8, 16, 24 seconds.
This technique allows you to absorb and redirect through the energy channels the greatest amount of prana – vital energy.
If we “breathe” only the clavicular region, without using the middle and lower chambers of the lungs, the abdominal cavity, we will end up with a slagged body, an excess of carbon dioxide in the blood, stagnation of the lungs and gastrointestinal tract.
Also, a good effect on the state of the body is provided by breathing according to the square scheme: inhalation-pause-exhalation-pause. The delay after inhalation helps to absorb prana, and the delay after exhalation clears our energy channels, as a result of which the energy moves between the chakras freely.
A person can live without water for several days, without food – for several weeks, but without air for a minute. For a quality life, simply inhaling oxygen is not enough, this process must be conscious and controlled. Energy management cleanses the mind, pacifies thoughts, allows you to see the world adequately.