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Pranayama Breathing
"A more useful science than the science of respiration, a more beneficial science than the science of respiration, a greater friend than the science of respiration has never been seen nor heard." Shivagama "Breathing may be considered the most important of all the functions of the body, for, indeed, all the other functions depend upon it." - Ramacharaka !indu-"ogi Science of Breath "#ranayama is $hat heart is to the human body." - B.%. &yengar 'ight on the "oga Sutras of #atan(ali

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Table of Contents
Importance Of Breathing )hy &s *+ygen So ,ital&mportance of !ealthy Breathing )hat.s )rong )ith /he )ay )e Breathe)hy &s *ur Breath 0ast and Shallo$/he 1ffects of Shallo$ Breathing &mportance of Breathing /hrough /he 2ose Summary Benefits of 3eep Breathing

Anatomy Of Breathing Stages in Breathing %inds of Breathing *rgans of Breathing #rocesses in Breathing o o o Respiration *+ygenation Regulation

Pranayama: The Breathing Exercises of Yoga #rana #rana and 4onsciousness /he 0orms of #rana #rana and Apana Agni, the 0ire of 'ife

The Complete Breath !igh breathing 'o$ breathing 5iddle breathing 4omplete breath

Learning to Breathe Correctly Yo r !irst "eep Breath The !o r #tages of Breathing $ "escription #uraka 6&nhalation7 Abhyantara %umbhaka 6#ause After &nhaling7 Rechaka 61+halation7 Bahya %umbhaka 6#ause After 1+haling7

Arreste% an% &esting Breath /echni8ues or Aids /o #rolong #auses

'e(ala ) mbha)a #afety of Breathing Exercises Patterns of &est Bet*een Inhalation an% Exhalation Importance of Exhalation or Breathing O t In Yoga

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Breathing Exercises A Breathing 1+ercise for 9ood #osture 3eep Breathing Rhythmic Breathing /he Retained Breath 1+ercise 2adi Sodhana 6Alternate 2ostril Breathing7 Surya-Bhedana 6Right-nostril breathing7 :((ayi 6/he "loud breathing"7 /he )alking Breathing 1+ercise Sitkari 6/eeth hissing7 Sitali 6/ongue hissing7 /he 4leansing Breath Bhastrika 6Bello$s7 %apalabhati 64leaning Breath7 Bhramari 62asal snoring7 5urcha 6S$ooning7 #lavini 60loating7 /aoist Rela+ation "oga

Importance Of Breathing
Breathing is important for t$o reasons. &t is the only means to supply our bodies and its various organs $ith the supply of o+ygen $hich is vital for our survival. /he second function of breathing is that it is one means to get rid of $aste products and to+ins from the body. +hy Is Oxygen #o ,ital*+ygen is the most vital nutrient for our bodies. &t is essential for the integrity of the brain, nerves, glands and internal organs. )e can do $ithout food for $eeks and $ithout $ater for days, but $ithout o+ygen, $e $ill die $ithin a fe$ minutes. &f the brain does not gets proper supply of this essential nutrient, it $ill result in the degradation of all vital organs in the body. /he brain re8uires more o+ygen than any other organ. &f it doesn.t get enough, the result is mental sluggishness, negative thoughts and depression and, eventually, vision and hearing decline. *ld people and those $hose arteries are clogged often become senile and vague because o+ygen to the brain is reduced. /hey get irritated very 8uickly. #oor o+ygen supply affects all parts of the body. /he o+ygen supply is reduced to all parts of the body as $e get older due to poor lifestyle. 5any people need reading glasses and suffer hearing decline in old age. )hen an acute circulation blockage deprives the heart of o+ygen, a heart attack is the result. &f this occurs to the brain, the result is a stroke. 0or a long time, lack of o+ygen has been considered a ma(or cause of cancer. 1ven as far back as ;<=>, $ork done in 9ermany sho$ed that $hen o+ygen $as $ithdra$n, normal body cells could turn into cancer cells. Similar research has been done $ith heart disease. &t sho$ed that lack of o+ygen is a ma(or cause of heart disease, stroke and cancer./he $ork done at Baylor :niversity in the :SA has sho$n that you can reverse arterial disease in monkeys by infusing o+ygen into the diseased arteries. /hus, o+ygen is very critical to our $ell-being, and any effort to increase the supply of o+ygen to our body and especially to the brain $ill pay rich dividends. "ogis reali?ed the vital importance of an ade8uate o+ygen

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supply thousands of years ago. /hey developed and perfected various breathing techni8ues. /hese breathing e+ercises are particularly important for people $ho have sedentary (obs and spend most of the day in offices. /heir brains are o+ygen starved and their bodies are (ust @getting byA. /hey feel tired, nervous and irritable and are not very productive. *n top of that, they sleep badly at night, so they get a bad start to the ne+t day continuing the cycle. /his situation also lo$ers their immune system, making them susceptible to catching colds, flu and other @bugsA. Oxygen P rifies the Bloo% #tream *ne of the ma(or secrets of vitality and re(uvenation is a purified blood stream. /he 8uickest and most effective $ay to purify the blood stream is by taking in e+tra supplies of o+ygen from the air $e breathe. /he breathing e+ercises described in here are the most effective methods ever devised for saturating the blood $ith e+tra o+ygen. *+ygen bums up the $aste products 6to+ins7 in the body, as $ell as recharging the body.s batteries 6the solar ple+us7. &n fact, most of our energy re8uirements come not from food but from the air $e breathe. By purifying the blood stream, every part of the body benefits, as $ell as the mind. "our comple+ion $ill become clearer and brighter and $rinkles $ill begin to fade a$ay. &n short, re(uvenation $ill start to occur. .e%ical #cience ,erifies Oxygen/s Importance Scientists have discovered that the chemical basis of energy production in the body is a chemical called Adenosine /riphosphate 6A/#7. &f something goes $rong $ith the production of A/#, the result is lo$ered vitality, disease and premature ageing. Scientists have also discovered that o+ygen is critical for the production of A/#B in fact, it is its most vital component. "oga permits us to tap into this vital nutrient. Importance of 0ealthy Breathing )e kno$ ho$ to breathe. &t is something that occurs to us automatically, spontaneously, naturally. )e are breathing even $hen $e are not a$are of it. So it seems foolish to think that one can be told ho$ to breathe. "et, one.s breathing becomes modified and restricted in various $ays, not (ust momentarily, but habitually. )e develop unhealthy habits $ithout being a$are of it. )e tend to assume positions 6slouched positions7 that diminishes lung capacities and take shortened breaths. )e also live in social conditions that is not good for the health of our respiratory system. As discussed above, scientists have kno$n for a long time that there e+ists a strong connection bet$een respiration and mental states. &mproper breathing produces diminished mental ability. /he corollary is true also. It is known that mental tensions produce restricted breathing. A normally sedentary person, $hen confronted $ith a perple+ing problem, tends to lean for$ard, dra$ his arms together, and bend his head do$n. All these body postures results in reduced lung capacity. /he more intense the concentration, the more tense the muscles become. /he muscles in the arms, neck and chest contract. /he muscles that move the thora+ and control inhalation and muscular tenseness clamp do$n and restrict the e+halation. /he breaths become shorter and shorter. After an e+tended period of intense focusing, the $hole system seems to be fro?en in a certain posture. )e become fatigued from the decreased circulation of the blood and from the decreased availability of o+ygen for the blood because $e have almost stopped breathing. As our duties, responsibilities and their attendant problems become more demanding, $e develop habits of forgetting to breathe. /ry an e+periment suggested by S$ami ,ishnudevananda. 0ocus attention upon the ticks of a clock placed at a distance of about t$elve feet. &f you get distracted, try concentrating harder until you e+perience the ticking $ith undivided attention. &f you fail at first, you should try again and again until you succeed in keeping the ticking clearly in mind for at least a fe$ seconds. )hat happened- /he ma(ority of persons $ho took part in this e+periment reported that they have completely suspended the breath. /he others, $ho had less

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concentration, reported that they e+perienced very slo$ breathing. /his e+periment sho$s clearly that $here there is concentration of the mind, the breathing becomes very slo$ or even get suspended temporarily. +hat/s +rong +ith The +ay +e Breathe*ur breathing is too shallo$ and too 8uick. )e are not taking in sufficient o+ygen and $e are not eliminating sufficient carbon dio+ide. , As a result, our bodies are o+ygen starved, and a to+ic build-up occurs. 1very cell in the body re8uires o+ygen and our level of vitality is (ust a product of the health of all the cells. Shallo$ breathing does not e+ercise the lungs enough, so they lose some of their function, causing a further reduction in vitality. Animals $hich breathe slo$ly live the longestB the elephant is a good e+ample. )e need to breathe more slo$ly and deeply. Cuick shallo$ breathing results in o+ygen starvation $hich leads to reduced vitality, premature ageing, poor immune system and a myriad of other factors. +hy Is O r Breath !ast an% #hallo*/here are several reasons for this. /he ma(or reasons are ;. )e are in a hurry most of the time. *ur movements and breathing follo$ this pattern. D. /he increasing stress of modern living makes us breathe more 8uickly and less deeply. E. )e get too emotional too easily. )e get e+cited easily, angry easily, and most of the rest of the time $e suffer from an+iety due to $orry. /hese negative emotional states affect the rate of breathing, causing it to be fast and shallo$. =. 5odern technology and automation reduces our need for physical activity. /here is less need to breathe deeply, so $e develop the shallo$ breathing habit. F. )e are $orking indoors more and more. /his increases our e+posure to pollution. As a result, the body instinctively inhales less air to protect itself from pollution. /he body (ust takes in enough air to tick over. As $e go through life, these bad breathing habits $e picked up become part of our life. :nless $e do something to reverse these habits, $e can suffer permanent problems. /he good ne$s is that these are reversible. /he bad ne$s is that before $e can change these habits, $e should recogni?e and accept that our behavior needs to be changed. /his means that $e see for ourselves the benefits of good breathing techni8ues. 4ertainly, yoga is not the only $ay to cope up $ith the stress and the resultant drop in o+ygen supply to the brain brought on by the constricted breathing. A smoke, a coffee break, a trip to the restroom or a good laugh may all result in some read(ustment of constricted breathing patterns. /hese can be thought of as "miniyogas". )e can benefit by taking or seeking more smokes, breaks, trips or (okes. But for those $hose occupations continue to be highly stressful, something more $ill be needed. 3eep breathing e+ercises and stretching of muscles, especially those primarily concerned $ith controlling inhaling and e+haling, should be sought. #articipation in active sports also $ill be useful. 9oing for a $alk is very good. 0or those e+periencing restricted breathing at night, morning e+ercises should be actively pursued. The Effects of #hallo* Breathing ;. Reduced vitality, since o+ygen is essential for the production of energy in the body. D. &ncreased disease. *ur resistance to disease is reduced, since o+ygen is essential for healthy cells. /his means $e catch more colds and develop other ailments more easily. 'ack of sufficient o+ygen to the cells is a ma(or contributing factor in cancer, heart disease and strokes. )ith our .normal. sedentary $ay of living, $e only use about one tenth of our total lung capacity. /his is sufficient to survive and (ust tick over, but not sufficient for a high vitality level, long life and high resistance to disease. /he ancient yogis kne$ the importance of correct breathing and developed techni8ues not only to increase health and life span, but also to attain superconscious states.

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The .e%ical ,ie*point on !ast1 #hallo* Breathing 5odem science agrees $ith the ancient yogis on the sub(ect of shallo$ breathing. An editorial in the Gournal of the Royal Society of 5edicine suggested that fast, shallo$ breathing can cause fatigue, sleep disorders, an+iety, stomach upsets, heart bum, gas, muscle cramps, di??iness, visual problems, chest pain and heart palpitations. Scientists have also found that a lot of people $ho believe they have heart disease are really suffering from improper breathing. Importance of Breathing Thro gh The 2ose /he first rule for correct breathing is that $e should breathe through the nose. /his may seem obvious, but many people breathe principally through the mouth. 5outh breathing can adversely affect the development of the thyroid gland. &t can retard the mental development of children. /he nose has various defense mechanisms to prevent impurities and e+cessively cold air entering the body. At the entrance to the nose, a screen of hairs traps dust, tiny insects and other particles that may in(ure the lungs if you breathe through the mouth. After the entrance of the nose, there is a long $inding passage lined $ith mucus membranes, $here e+cessively cool air is $armed and very fine dust particles that escaped the hair screen are caught. 2e+t, in the inner nose are glands $hich fight off any bacilli $hich have slipped through the other defenses. /he inner nose also contains the olfactory organ-our sense of smell. /his detects any poisonous gases around that may in(ure our health. /he yogis believe that the olfactory organ has another function the absorption of prana from the air. &f you breathe through the mouth all the time, as many people do, you are cheating yourself of all this free energy 6prana7. /he yogis say this is a ma(or factor in lo$ered resistance to disease and impairs the functioning of your vital glands and nervous system. Add to this the fact that pathogens can enter the lungs via mouth breathing, and you can see that it.s impossible to be healthy, not to mention vital, if you breathe through the mouth. &t is easy to break the habit of breathing through the mouth. Gust keep your mouth closed and you $ill automatically breathe through your noseH # mmary: Benefits of "eep Breathing )e $ill no$ summari?e the benefits of deep breathing. 3eep breathing produces the follo$ing benefits ;. &mprovement in the 8uality of the blood due to its increased o+ygenation in the lungs. /his aids in the elimination of to+ins from the system. D. &ncrease in the digestion and assimilation of food. /he digestive organs such as the stomach receive more o+ygen, and hence operates more efficiently. /he digestion is further enhanced by the fact that the food is o+ygenated more. E. &mprovement in the health of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, nerve centers and nerves. /his is due again to the increased o+ygenation and hence nourishment of the nervous system. /his improves the health of the $hole body, since the nervous system communicates to all parts of the body. =. Re(uvenation of the glands, especially the pituitary and pineal glands. /he brain has a special affinity for o+ygen, re8uiring three times more o+ygen than does the rest of the body. /his has far-reaching effects on our $ell being. F. Re(uvenation of the skin. /he skin becomes smoother and a reduction of facial $rinkles occurs. I. /he movements of the diaphragm during the deep breathing e+ercise massage the abdominal organs - the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. /he upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. /his stimulates the blood circulation in these organs. >. /he lungs become healthy and po$erful, a good insurance against respiratory problems. J. 3eep, slo$, yoga breathing reduces the $ork load for the heart. /he result is a more efficient, stronger heart that operates better and lasts longer. &t also mean reduced blood pressure and less heart disease.

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/he yoga breathing e+ercises reduce the $ork load on the heart in t$o $ays. 0irstly, deep breathing leads to more efficient lungs, $hich means more o+ygen is brought into contact $ith blood sent to the lungs by the heart. So, the heart doesn.t have to $ork as hard to deliver o+ygen to the tissues. Secondly, deep breathing leads to a greater pressure differential in the lungs, $hich leads to an increase in the circulation, thus resting the heart a little. <. 3eep, slo$ breathing assists in $eight control. &f you are over$eight, the e+tra o+ygen burns up the e+cess fat more efficiently. &f you are under$eight, the e+tra o+ygen feeds the starving tissues and glands. &n other $ords, yoga tends to produce the ideal $eight for you. ;K. Rela+ation of the mind and body. Slo$, deep, rhythmic breathing causes a refle+ stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, $hich results in a reduction in the heart rate and rela+ation of the muscles. /hese t$o factors cause a refle+ rela+ation of the mind, since the mind and body are very interdependent. &n addition, o+ygenation of the brain tends to normali?e brain function, reducing e+cessive an+iety levels. /he breathing e+ercises cause an increase in the elasticity of the lungs and rib cage. /his creates an increased breathing capacity all day, not (ust during the actual e+ercise period. /his means all the above benefits also occur all day. "ou may go to an e+planation of ho$ deep breathing can be accomplished or learn about the anatomy of breathing to get a better understanding of our breathing process.

Anatomy Of Breathing
&n normal respiration the air is taken in through the nostrils $ithout any special effort, sound or e+aggerated movement of the nose or chest. &n short, it is done unconsciously. )e are not even a$are of air traveling through our nostrils, do$n the nasal and oral parts of the pharyn+, of its reaching the laryn+ and then the trachea and the lungs. &n general, most of us are una$are of ho$ the breathing process $orks. )e $ill take a look at Stages in breathing, %inds of breathing, *rgans of breathing, #rocesses in breathing and )ays of controlling breathing.

#tages in Breathing 1ach single act of normal, unmodified breathing consists of four distinguishable stages "Breathing &n", &nhaling *r &nspiration /he #ause, Short *r 'ong, Bet$een &nhalation And 1+halation. )e )ill 4all /his Retentive #ause And Read(ustment #hase "Breathing *ut," 1+haling *r 1+piration. /he #ause, 'ong *r Short, Bet$een 1+halation And &nhalation. )e )ill 4all /his Stage 1+tensive #ause And &ts Read(ustment #hase.

/he t$o "resting" stages may or may not be very restful since the $hole respiratory system, including its muscular and nervous mechanisms, undergoes a reversal of direction and multitudes of minute adaptations take place $henever each such reversal occurs. All four are entailed in a complete act of respiration. 'in%s of Breathing )e can distinguish at least ;D different kinds of breathing. /hese are given belo$.

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Although yogic treatises do not normally do so, 3echanet, author of @4hristian "oga,A identifies t$o $ays of breathing "*ne for men, the other for $omen". !e says that a $oman.s breathing rhythm is more rapid than a man.s and that her upper chest e+pands first, $hereas a man.s breathing rhythm is slo$er and his abdominal e+pansion comes first. Although, doubtless, physiological differences in men and $omen do affect their breathing, & suspect that the $orld over, $omen breathe more placidly than men and that the differences $hich 3echanet notices may be related partly to si?e of body rather than se+. Smaller bodies may be e+pected to have a shorter, and perhaps more rapid, rhythm stroke than larger bodies. /he fact that $omen live longer than men, on the average, may be due to many factorsB but a study of breathing habits in men and $omen, especially in the older ages, may prove enlightening. !o$ever, distinctions of se+ do not normally play a significant role in discussions of breathing. 2oisy versus 8uiet breathing is a distinction $hich has its significance in other conditions. Snoring may indicate deep slumberB $hee?ing, asthma and panting, shortness of breathB and other noises, clogging of nasal passages. But traditional yogic e+ercises do deliberately seek to control the loudness or softness of breathing and, in addition to giving directions for increasing loudness and softness, often combine both increases and decreases in subtle $ays, synthesi?ing them in larger, more encompassing e+periences, as in mantric chanting of the sacred symbol om. 2. 0ast And Slo$ Breathing
1. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

J. <.
10.

11.

Regular And &rregular Breathing Gerky And Smooth Breathing 3eep And Shallo$ Breathing 0orced And 1ffortless Breathing ,oluntary And &nvoluntary Breathing 5outh And 2ose Breathing /he distinction bet$een "high," "middle," and "lo$" breathing, $here most of the e+pansion is in the top, middle or bottom parts of the chest and lungs, and the (oining of all three in "complete yogic breathing." /he distinction bet$een the mere passage of air in and out of lungs 6$ith related physiological and mental effects7 versus e+periencing breathing as an affair of the $hole body, the $hole self, even of the $hole universe as e+plored in pranayama. /he distinction bet$een nervous and rela+ed, vs. an+ious and peaceful, breathing.

As $e can see from the above classification of various breathing types, the process of breathing is very comple+. Organs of Breathing *ur respiratory system consists of nose and mouth, pharyn+ and laryn+, trachea and bronchi, lungs and thora+. 2ose An% .o th /he nose consists of an outer shape and skin 6$hich often receives more attention7, and t$o air passages 6nostrils or nares7. "our nostrils differ in si?e and shape from those of other people. 5ost people breathe primarily through one nostril more than another. )hether relatively long or short, large or small, straight or crooked, nostrils vary in circumference and contour throughout their length. /he bottom or floor surfaces of the nostrils tend to be more hori?ontal and the top or roof surfaces have been shaped more like an arch. A bony and cartilaginous septum separates your t$o nostrils. /he several nasal sinuses, including the better-kno$n frontal sinuses in the forehead above the eyes and the ma+illary sinuses on each side of the nose, play various roles in breathing, thinking, illness and in yoga. 5ost of us reali?e their e+istence $hen they become infected, as $ith colds, hay fever, or no+ious gases or dusts, resulting in headaches. Some sinuses appear to perform an important function in cooling the brain. 2ervous activity uses energy $hich seems to generate heat that needs to be conducted a$ay. /hus, some$hat like the radiator of an automobile, the sinuses may serve as a cooling system for the brain, $hich supplements the circulatory system $herein the blood serves as a coolant. )e seem to be able to think better $hen $e have a "clearer head" resulting from $ell-ventilated sinuses. 3eep breathing and posture e+ercises not only

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increase o+ygenation through the lungs and circulation of the blood $ithin the brain, but also tend to enlarge and clear the sinus cavities for freer air circulation. /he skin lining the nostrils consists primarily of membranes $hich do not dry out easily in the presence of moving air. /hey are kept moist by secretions called mucus $hich sometimes dries and hardens into a cake $hich must be e+pelled. !airs embedded in such membranes, especially near the outer opening, often gro$ into sieve-like mats $hich catch and repel small ob(ects, insects and dust. *lfactory end-organs are embedded in these membranes and some areas have a thick, spongy tissue $hich e+pands, so much sometimes-especially $hen irritated by infections or allergies-that it closes the nostril completely. Although yogic e+ercises may be insufficient by themselves to relieve clogged nasal conditions, they may help considerably. /he mouth, too, is an important air passage-especially $hen $e need more air than can be forced through the nostrils, as $hen $e gasp for air or pant or puff, and $hen the nostrils are closed by s$ollen membranes or mucous discharge. 5embranes lining the mouth and tongue seem to dry up from air movements more rapidly than nasal membranes though saliva aids in maintaining moistness. /he oral passage may be closed by the lips, by the tongue pressed against the teeth or roof of the mouth, and sometimes $ith the aid of the soft palate. 3irections for opening and closure, partial or complete, of the mouth constitute parts of some directions for traditional yogic e+ercises. Pharynx An% Larynx /he pharyn+ is the opening behind the nasal cavities and mouth. &t is bounded by the root of the tongue and is lined $ith tissues called tonsils $hich may become enlarged partially obstructing the passage of food and air. /$o 1ustachian tubes, $hich permit ad(ustment of atmospheric pressure in your middle ears, open from the sides of the pharyn+. /he pharyn+ ends in the esophagus or tube leading to the stomach and the laryn+ or "voice bo+," $hich contains the vocal cords and glottis and muscles needed for producing sounds. A cartilaginous epiglottis at the top of the laryn+ aids in closing it tightly so that solid and li8uid foods $ill not be permitted to enter it during s$allo$ing. Respiration is interrupted during s$allo$ing. "ogins sometimes deliberately hold the epiglottis aperture closed to force holding air in or out of the lungs in certain e+ercises. Trachea An% Bronchi /he trachea or "$indpipe" is a tube kept open against pressures because its $alls consist in part of cartilaginous rings, or semi-rings. &t is lined $ith a mucous membrane containing hair-like cells $hich beat up$ard to$ard the nose and mouth and move mucus and the entangled dust particles in that direction. &t ends by dividing into t$o other tubes called bronchi $hich in turn branch again and again until they terminate in bronchioles, thin-$alled tubes $hich lead to tiny air sacs $ith their small dilations called alveoli $here most of the gas e+change takes place. /he mucosa of the trachea and bronchi contain ciliated epithelium. L ngs An% Thorax 1ach of the t$o lungs consists of Bunches of bronchioles and alveoli, Blood vessels and capillaries, and 1lastic tissue.

/hese are arranged in lobes and are surrounded by a membrane that secretes a lubricating fluid. /he lungs, together $ith the heart, occupy most of the thoracic or chest cavity, bounded on the sides by the ribs and on the bottom by the diaphragm. /he diaphragm separates the chest cavity from the abdomen containing most of the digestive system. /he pleural sacs and the inner lining of the thora+ are airtight. Since the only opening from the outside is the trachea, air may be forced in or out of the lungs by enlarging or compressing the thoracic area. /hree sets of muscles are primarily responsible for changing the si?e of the thora+. /hese are /hose acting on the ribs, /hose acting bet$een the ribs and

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/hose acting on the diaphragm

*ther muscles of the body, such as those in the arms, legs and back, may t$ist the body so as to distort its usual shape and e+ert pressures that s8uee?e or e+pand the chest cavity. A blo$ on the abdomen, $earing tight clothes, a full stomach or intestinal gas may also provide temporary pressures on the thora+ thus affecting the breathing process. Processes in Breathing &espiration An average adult at rest inhales and e+hales about si+teen times per minute. 1ach time, half a liter 6about a pint7 of air is dra$n in and e+pelled. At the end of a normal e+piration, one may force out an additional liter and a half of air, leaving about an additional liter in the lungs $hich cannot be forced out. Also, after normal inspiration, one may inspire an additional one and a half liters. So it is possible to increase the amount of air inspired and e+pired during each breath from half a liter to three and a half liters. 2ot all of the air breathed can be used by the body because some must remain to fill the nose or mouth, sinuses, laryn+, trachea, bronchi and their larger branches. /his is the "dead air" in contrast $ith "alveolar air" $hich participates in gas e+change. /he shallo$er the breathing, the larger becomes the percentage of dead air in each breath. But also, in shallo$ breathing, more impurities are retained. 5ost breathing e+ercises in yoga have the effect of increasing both the amount and percentage of air $hich enters actively into the purifying gaseous e+change processes. /he air inhaled normally consists of about ><L nitrogen, about DKL to D;L o+ygen, about K.K=L carbon dio+ide, $ith traces of other gases and $ater vapor. 1+haled air often consists of about ><L nitrogen, about ;IL o+ygen, about =L carbon dio+ide, $ith traces of other gases and $ater vapor. Since the nitrogen content remains appro+imately the same the most significant change during the breathing process is an e+change of about =L o+ygen for about =L carbon dio+ide. Oxygenation )hen the percentage of o+ygen e+changed for carbon dio+ide remains the same, the total amount of o+ygen and carbon dio+ide e+changed per minute tends to increase as a greater air volume is breathed. *ne may, by strenuous e+ercise, increase the volume of ventilation to ten times the resting level. *r one may deliberately force increased ventilation $ithout e+ercise. )hen muscular e+ercise increases, the body needs more o+ygen. )hen ventilation is forced intentionally, some increase in o+ygen content and decrease in carbon dio+ide content of the alveoli and blood may be e+pected. #art of the aim of both deep breathing e+ercises and posture movements and rests is to "purify" 6increase the ratio of o+ygen to carbon dio+ide7 the blood and the various parts of the body through $hich blood circulates. /he interchange of o+ygen and carbon dio+ide is possible because of the structure of the cells (oining the alveoli and the capillaries and the la$s and processes of gas e+change. /he movement of carbon dio+ide from the blood to the alveoli takes place by diffusion. &n diffusion, the carbon dio+ide moves from the rich side to the lean side. )hen the blood contains more carbon dio+ide than the air, the carbon dio+ide $ill diffuse from the blood to the air. &f, on the other hand, the air is rich in carbon dio+ide, the diffusion of carbon dio+ide from the blood to the air is inhibited. &n e+treme cases the carbon dio+ide may even diffuse or flo$ from the air into the blood. /hus our breathing habits are very important. &eg lation A group of nerve cells in the medulla, the respiratory center of the brain, controls the contractions of muscles used in breathing. &nspiration takes place $hen the nerve cells of this group send impulses through motor nerves to respiratory muscles. )hen something, $e do not kno$ $hat, prevents these cells from sending impulses, inspiration ceases and e+piration occurs. Apparently $e do not use muscular energy and force to e+pel air but merely stop inhalingB then e+haling takes place automatically, $ithout muscular effort. Since all respiratory muscles contract in a harmonious $ay, some organi?ing process in the brain marvelously coordinates their movements. Apparently the respiratory center cells function much like the pacemaker

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tissue of the heart, since they seem to induce rhythmical patterns of respiration $ithout outside help, even though they are sensitive to various influences $hich modify their action. &n addition to the involuntary regulation and regulari?ation of breathing patterns, many involuntary refle+es also e+ist, such as those noticeable in choking, snee?ing, coughing, and s$allo$ing. &t is almost impossible to breathe $hile s$allo$ing food. *ther refle+es may be noted, such as sudden holding of breath $hen you sniff ammonia and similar chemicals. &f your air supply has been cut off, you automatically gasp for breath. 1motional e+citement, fear, anger, enthusiasm all stimulate breathing, as may sudden increase in either heat or cold. /here are voluntary control of breathing. 0or e+ample, you can deliberately take a deeper breath or stop breathing momentarily. Such direct control may be supplemented by indirect intentional control, as $hen $e dance or kiss or drink or smoke or sing. )e may deliberately run for such a distance that $e get our "second $ind," after $hich $e breathe more easily even though e+ercising strenuously. #art of the significance of distinguishing bet$een voluntary and involuntary control of breathing is that yogic e+ercises aim first at changing unhealthy involuntary patterns voluntarily and then at an establishment of more healthy patterns. )hereas nervous tension produces some inhibiting influence upon deep, regular breathing patterns, deliberate effort to counteract these influences in such a $ay that our more completely spontaneous and uninhibited rhythmic patterns become restored as needed.

Pranayama: The Breathing Exercises of Yoga


#ranayama, as traditionally conceived, involves much more than merely breathing for rela+ation. #ranayama is a term $ith a $ide range of meanings. #atan(ali defines pranayama as "the regulation of the incoming and outgoing flo$ of breath $ith retention." &t is to be practiced only after perfection in asana is attained. #ranayama also denotes cosmic po$er, or the po$er of the entire universe $hich manifests itself as conscious living being in us through the phenomenon of breathing. /he $ord pranayama consists of t$o parts prana and ayama. Ayama means stretch, e+tension, e+pansion, length, breadth, regulation, prolongation, restraint and control and describes the action of pranayama. Prana is energy, $hen the self-energi?ing force embraces the body. )hen this slef-energi?ing force embraces the body $ith e+tension, e+pansion and control, it is pranayama. Prana #rana is an auto-energi?ing force $hich creates a magnetic field in the form of the :niverse and plays $ith it, both to maintain, and to destroy for further creation. &t permeates each individual as $ell as the :niverse at all levels. &t acts as physical energy, mental energy, $here the mind gathers informationB and as intellectual energy, $here information is e+amined and filtered. #rana also acts as se+ual energy, spiritual enegy and cosmic energy. All that vibrates in this :niverse is prana heat, light, gravity, magnetism, vigor, po$er, vitality, electricity, life and spirit are all forms of prana. &t is the cosmic personality, potent in all beings and non-beings. &t is the prime mover of all activity. &t is the $ealth of life.

This self-energizing force is the principle of life and consciousness. It is the creation of all beings in the Universe. All beings are born through it and live by it. When they die, their individual breath dissolves into the cosmic breath. Prana is not only the hub of the heel of life, but also of yoga. !verything is established in it. It permeates life, creating the sun, the moon, the clouds, the ind, the rain, the earth and all forms of matter. It is both being "sat# and non-being "asat#. !ach and every thing, or being, including man, ta$es shelter under it. Prana is the fundamental energy and the source of all $no ledge.
Prana an% Conscio sness 3Citta4: #rana and citta are in constant contact $ith each other. /hey are like t$ins. #rana become focussed $here citta is, and citta, $here prana is. "oga suggests that as long as the breath is still, prana is still, and hence citta is still. All types of vibrations and flu+uations come to a standstill $hen

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prana and citta are steady and silent.

%ecause of this connection bet een breath and consciousness, yoga has devised pranayama to stabilize energy and consciousness.
)ith reference to yoga prana can be described as something that flo$s continuously from some$here inside us, filling us and keeping us alive it is vitality. &n this image, the prana streams out from the center through the $hole body. #ranayama is the measuring, control, and directing of the breath, and thus of energy $ithin the organism, in order to restore and maintain health and to promote evolution. )hen you are troubled, restless, or confused, you have more prana outside the body than $ithin. )hen you feel un$ellB the 8uality of prana and its density $ithin the body is reduced. /oo little prana in the body can be e+pressed as a feeling of being stuck or restricted. &t can also sho$ as a lack of drive or motivation to do anythingB you are listless or even depressed. )e may suffer from physical ailments $hen prana is lacking in the body. "oga Sutra mentions disturbances in the breath, $hich can take very different forms. *n the other hand, the more peaceful and $ell-balanced $e are, the less our prana is dispersed outside the body. And if all the prana is $ithin the body, $e are free of these symptoms. &f prana does not find sufficient room in the body there can be only one reason it is being forced out by something that really does not belong there-such as blockages caused by rubbish. )hen $e practice pranayama, $e try to reduce this rubbish and replace it $ith more and more prana $ithin the body. *ur state of mind is closely linked to the 8uality of prana $ithin. /he more content a person is and the better he or she feels, the more prana is inside. /he more disturbed a person is, the more prana is dissipated and lost. Because $e can influence the flo$ of prana through the flo$ of our breath, the 8uality of our breath influences our state of mind and vice versa. &n yoga $e are trying to make use of these connections so that prana concentrates and can freely flo$ $ithin us. *ne definition of the $ord yogi is "one $hose prana is all $ithin his body." &n pranayama $e $ant to reduce the amount of prana outside the body until there is none leaking out. #rana is po$er. #roper acts of breathing are $ays of harnessing that po$er. &t gives control of breathing processes and control of vital force. 1ven though, in breathing, fresh air from outside the body enters the body and foul air leaves, mystical pranayama conceives appropriation of po$er as a bringing to conscious manifestation an omnipresent cosmic po$er $hich e+ists already latent $ithin oneself as a particular e+pression of cosmic being. )hen a person attains a feeling of oneness $ith the rest of the universe, his an+iety tends to disappear. )hen the in-flo$ing breath is neutrali?ed or (oined $ith the out-flo$ing breath, then perfect rela+ation and balance of body activities are reali?ed. &n yoga, $e are concerned $ith balancing the flo$s of vital forces, then directing them in$ard to the chakra system and up$ard to the cro$n chakra or thousand petaled lotus 6sahasara7. )hen one ac8uires an intuitive apprehension of ultimate po$er and of his o$n identity $ith it, he loses his fear of e+ternal po$ers and develops a trust $hich is conducive to confident living. )hatever happens in the mind influences the breathB the breath becomes 8uicker $hen $e are e+cited and deeper and 8uieter $hen $e rela+. &n order to influence our prana $e must be able to influence the mind. *ur actions often disturb the mind, causing prana to e+ude from the body. /hrough daily pranayama practice $e reverse this process, as a change in the breathing pattern influences the mind. /he idea of prana e+isting $ithin or beyond the body can be understood as a symbol for our state of mind. )hen the mind is as clear as transparent glass there is nothing that could disturb the bodyB there is no rubbish lying about. *n the other hand, if $e notice hesitancy, discontent, fear of doing something because it might be inappropriate, and so forth, $e can assume that there are blockages in the system. /hese blockages do not (ust occur in the physical bodyB they e+ist even more in the mind, in consciousness. 1very kind of rubbish $e find in ourselves $as originally produced by incorrect kno$ledge. /he link bet$een mind and breath is most significant. /he "oga Sutra says that $hen $e practice pranayama the veil is gradually dra$n a$ay from the mind and there is gro$ing clarity. /he mind becomes ready for deep meditations. /hus, pranayama is first and foremost a$areness of the breath. !ere, $e focus our attention on the breath. &n the practice of pranayama it is therefore very important to keep an alert mind, for the processes that are being observed are very subtle. /here is no visible movement of the body as in

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asana practiceB $e must acutely sense and feel the movement of the breath $ithin. /he only dynamic process is breathing. #atan(ali makes a fe$ practical suggestions for keeping our attention on the breath. 0or e+ample, $e can focus on $here it enters and leaves the body at the nostrils. &t is also possible to listen to the breath, especially if you make a slight noise by gently contracting the vocal chords, a pranayama techni8ue kno$n as u((ayi. *r $e can follo$ the areas through $hich the air passes through. /he goal of pranayama is not to bring the inhalation and e+halation into a certain relationship $ith each other, or to establish a particular length of breath. /he various practices of pranayama gives us many different possibilities for follo$ing the breath. )hen $e follo$ the breath, the mind $ill be dra$n into the activities of the breath. &n this $ay pranayama prepares us for the stillness of meditation. /he breath relates directly to the mind and to our prana. #rana enters the body in the moment $hen there is a positive change in the mind. &t is true that our state of mind does not alter $ith every in-breath or outbreath. /he change occurs over a long period of time. &f $e are practicing pranayama and notice a change of mind, then prana has long before entered the body. /he proof of the pudding is in our relationships $ith others. &t tells us $hether $e had a positive changes in the mind and $hether $e actually understand ourselves better. )ithout prana there is no life. )e can imagine that prana flo$s into us as $e inhale, but prana is also the po$er behind breathing out. As $ell, prana is transformed in the body into various po$ers, and is involved in processes that ensure that $e rid ourselves of $hat $e no longer need. *ut breath is a very important part of the body.s elimination processes. )e can use out breath as a mechanism to free the mind from blocks and thereby lead us to greater clarity. #ranayama or breathing techni8ue is very important in yoga. &t goes hand in hand $ith the asana or pose. &n the "oga Sutras, the practices of pranayama and asana are considered to be the highest form of purification and self discipline for the mind and the body, respectively. /he practices produce the actual physical sensation of heat, called tapas, or the inner fire of purification. &t is taught that this heat is part of the process of purifying the nadis, or subtle nerve channels of the body. /his allo$s a more healthful state to be e+perienced and allo$s the mind to become more calm. &n pranayama $e focus our attention on the breath. &n the practice of pranayama it is therefore very important to keep an alert mind, for the processes that are being observed are very subtle. /here is no visible movement of the body as in asana practiceB $e must acutely sense and feel the movement of the breath $ithin. /he only dynamic process is breathing. #atan(ali makes a fe$ practical suggestions for keeping our attention on the breath. 0or e+ample, $e can focus on a place in the body $here $e can feel or hear the breath. *r $e can try to follo$ the movement of the breath in the body, feeling the inhalation from the center of the collarbone, do$n through the rib cage to the diaphragm, and follo$ing the e+hale up$ard from the abdomen. Another means for paying attention to the breath is to feel $here it enters and leaves the body at the nostrils. &t is also possible to listen to the breath, especially if you make a slight noise by gently contracting the vocal chords, a pranayama techni8ue kno$n as u((ayi. Suggestions like these help us keep our attention on the breath and prevent our practice from becoming merely mechanical. /he goal of pranayama is not to bring the inhalation and e+halation into a certain relationship $ith each other, or to establish a particular length of breath. &f e+ercises such as these help us concentrate on our pranayama, that is $onderful. But the true aim of the various techni8ues and breath ratios of breathing in pranayama is first and foremost to give us many different possibilities for follo$ing the breath. )hen $e follo$ the breath, the mind $ill be dra$n into the activities of the breath. &n this $ay pranayama prepares us for the stillness of meditation. /he breath relates directly to the mind and to our prana, but $e should not therefore imagine that as $e inhale, prana simply flo$s into us. /his is not the case. #rana enters the body in the moment $hen there is a positive change in the mind. *f course, our state of mind does not alter $ith every in-breath or outbreathB change occurs over a long period of time. &f $e are practicing pranayama and notice a change of mind, then prana has long before entered the body. 4hanges of mind can be observed primarily in our relationships $ith other people. Relationships are the real test of $hether $e actually understand ourselves better. The !orms of Prana /here are five forms of prana. /hey have different names according to the bodily functions $ith $hich they correspond. /hese forms of prana are

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udana-vayu, corresponding to the throat region and the function of speech prana-vayu, corresponding to the chest region samana-vayu, corresponding to the central region of the body and the function of digestion apana-vayu, corresponding to the region of the lo$er abdomen and the function of elimination vyana-vayu, corresponding to the distribution of energy into all areas of the body

,ayu is a sanscrit term meaning "air" or "breath". )e $ill look at t$o of these forms prana-vayu and apanavayu. Prana an% Apana: /hat $hich enters the body is called prana and that $hich leaves it is called apana. /he term apana also refers to the region of the lo$er abdomen and all the activities that take place there. Apana describes that part of prana that has the function of elimination and provides the energy for it, and it also refers to the lo$er belly and the rubbish that collects there $hen the po$er of prana is not in a state of e8uilibrium. )hen a person is slo$ and heavy $e sometimes say that he has too much apana. Apana as pranic energy is something $e need, but apana as refuse left from activating this energy actually prevents prana from developing $ithin. All forms of prana are necessary, but to be effective they must be in a state of balance $ith each other. &f someone has a lot of rubbish in the region of the lo$er abdomen then he or she consumes too much energy there, and this imbalance should be addressed. /he goal is to reduce apana to an efficient minimum. Apana as $aste matter accumulates because of many factors, some of $hich lie $ithin our control. /he practice of yoga aims to reduce these impurities. #eople $ho are short of breath, cannot hold their breath, or cannot e+hale slo$ly are seen as having more apana, $hereas those $ho have good breath control are considered to have less apana. An overabundance of apana leads to problems in all areas of the body. )e have to reduce the apana so that $e can bring more prana into the body. )hen $e inhale, prana from outside the body is brought $ithin. 3uring inhalation, prana meets apana. 3uring e+halation, the apana $ithin the body moves to$ard the prana. #ranayama is the movement of the prana to$ard the apana and the movement of the apana to$ard the prana. Similarly, holding the breath after inhalation moves the prana to$ard the apana and holds it there. !olding the breath after e+halation moves the apana to$ard the prana. Agni1 the !ire of Life )hat happens $ithin this movement of prana and apana- According to yoga $e have a fire, agni, in the body, situated in the vicinity of the navel, bet$een the prana-vayu and the apana-vayu. /he flame itself is constantly changing direction on inhalation the breath moves to$ard the belly, causing a draft that directs the flame do$n$ard like in a fireplaceB during e+halation the draft moves the flame in the opposite direction, bringing $ith it the (ust-burned $aste matter. &t is not enough to burn the rubbishB $e must also rid the body of it. A breathing pattern $here the e+halation is t$ice as long as the inhalation is aimed at providing more time during e+halation for freeing the body of its blockages. 1verything $e do to reduce the rubbish in the body is a step in the direction of releasing our blockages. )ith the ne+t inhalation $e bring the flame back to the apana. &f all the previously burned $aste has not left the body, the flame $ill lose some of its po$er. 4ertain physical positions are beneficial for the meeting of fire and rubbish. &n all inverted postures, the agni is directed to$ard the apana. /his is the reason yoga attributes so much significance to the cleansing effects of inverted postures. 4leansing is intensified $hen $e combine inverted postures $ith pranayama techni8ues. All aspects of pranayama $ork together to rid the body of apana so that prana can find more room $ithin. &n the moment $hen $aste is released, prana fills the space in the body $here it really belongs. #rana has its o$n movementB it cannot be controlled. )hat $e can do is create the conditions in $hich prana may enter the body and permeate it. /he beauty of prana is that through this, $e can influence purusa, the essence of life. "oga suggests that $e can influence prana via our breath and mind. By $orking $ith these through pranayama, $e create optimal conditions for the prana to flo$ freely $ithin.

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Tra%itional Breathing Techni5 es


)e $ill look at some traditional breathing techni8ues. /he purpose is not to suggest rigid techni8ues that needed to be follo$ed blindly. %no$ledge of these methods may be more important than the e+plicit directions themselves. /he methods are sub(ect to some variations. /hese helps you to establish and practice healthful rhythms. "ou may also gain additional insights into the nature of the breathing processes, and ho$ to attain additional rela+ation through them.

The Complete Breath 5ost of us use three or four kinds of breathing. /hese may be called high, lo$ and middle breathing and complete breathing. /he complete breath is a combination of high breathing, mid breathing and lo$ breathing. ;.0igh breathing refers to $hat takes place primarily in the upper part of the chest and lungs. /his has been called "clavicular breathing" or "collarbone breathing" and involves raising the ribs, collarbone and shoulders. #ersons $ith asthma, a tight belt, a full stomach or $ho other$ise become short of breath tend to resort to high breathing. *ne may deliberately dra$ in his abdomen and force its contents up$ard against the diaphragm and into the chest cavity in order to cause high breathing. !igh breathing is naturally shallo$ and a larger percentage of it fails to reach the alveoli and enter into useable gaseous e+change. /his is the least desirable form of breathing since the upper lobes of the lungs are used and these have only a small air capacity. Also the upper rib cage is fairly rigid, so not much e+pansion of the ribs can take place. A great deal of muscular energy is e+pended in pressing against the diaphragm and in keeping the ribs and shoulders raised abnormally high. /his form of breathing is 8uite common, especially among $omen, probably because they often $ear tight clothes around the $aist $hich prevents the far superior abdominal breathing. &t.s a common cause of digestive, stomach, constipation and gynecological problems. D.Lo* breathing refers to $hat takes place primarily in the lo$er part of the chest and lungs. &t is far more effective than high or mid breathing. &t consists mainly in moving the abdomen in and out and in changing the position of the diaphragm through such movements. Because of this, it is sometimes called "abdominal breathing" and "diaphragmic breathing." Sedentary persons $ho habitually bend for$ard $hile they read or $rite tend to slump into lo$ breathing. )henever one slouches or slackens his shoulder and chest muscles, he normally adopts lo$ breathing. )e often use lo$ breathing $hen sleeping. But $henever $e become physically active, as in $alking, running or lifting, $e are likely to find abdominal breathing inade8uate for our needs. /o do lo$ breathing, $hen you inhale you push the stomach gently for$ards $ith no strain. )hen e+haling you allo$ the stomach to return to its normal position. /his type of breathing is far superior to high or mid breathing for four reasons ;. 5ore air is taken in $hen inhaling, due to greater movement of the lungs and the fact that the lo$er lobes of the lungs have a larger capacity than the upper lobes. D. /he diaphragm acts like a second heart. &ts piston-like movements e+pand the base of the lungs, allo$ing them to suck in more venous blood. /he increase in the venous circulation improves the general circulation. E. /he abdominal organs are massaged by the up and do$n movements of the diaphragm. =. 'o$ breathing has a beneficial effect on the solar ple+us, a very important nerve center. E..i%%le breathing is a little harder to describe since the limits of variability are more indefinite. "et it is breathing in $hich mainly the middle parts of the lungs are filled $ith air. &t e+hibits some of the characteristics of both high breathing, since the ribs rise and the chest e+pands some$hat, and lo$ breathing, since the diaphragm moves up and do$n and the abdomen in and out a little. &t has been called thoracic or intercostal or rib breathing. But too often it also remains a shallo$ type of breathing. )ith this form of breathing, the ribs and chest are e+panded side$ays. /his is better than high breathing, but far inferior to lo$ breathing and the yoga complete breath techni8ue.

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=./he complete breath, as defined by yoga, involves the entire respiratory system and not only includes the portions of the lungs used in high, lo$ and middle breathing, but e+pands the lungs so as to take in more air than the amounts inhaled by all of these three kinds of breathing together $hen they are employed in shallo$ breathing. /he complete breath is not (ust deep breathingB it is the deepest possible breathing. 2ot only does one raise his shoulders, collarbone and ribs, as in high breathing, and also e+tend his abdomen and lo$er his diaphragm, as in lo$ breathing, but he does both as much as is needed to e+pand his lungs to their fullest capacity. /he yoga complete breath is the basic techni8ue of all the different types of yoga breathing, and therefore should be mastered before you learn the specific breathing e+ercises. &t brings the $hole lung capacity into play and is the basis of the three specific breathing e+ercises. %eep in mind that this type of breathing is only done $hen you do the breathing e+ercises. /he rest of the time you should be doing lo$ breathing by pushing the stomach out slightly $hen you inhale, and then (ust letting the stomach fall back to its original position $hen you e+hale. Also, make sure you are breathing through your nose and not your mouth.

Learning to Breathe Correctly


)e do deep breathing $hile asleep. !ence a simple $ay to learn ho$ to breath properly is to simulate sleep. 'ie do$n, close your eyes, rela+ the $hole body, drop the chin and imagine that you are asleep, thus letting your breathing become deeper and deeper. &n "oga deep breathing, you start filling the lo$er part of the lungs first, then you fill the middle and upper part. )hen e+haling you first empty the upper part of the lungs, then the middle, and last of all the lo$er part. /his process, ho$ever, is not divided into three separate actions. &nhalation is done in one smooth continuous flo$ (ust as one might pour $ater in filling a glass. 0irst the bottom is filled, then the middle, and finally the upper portion. But the process itself is an uninterrupted one. &nhalation should be done in one continuous operation both the inhalation and the e+halation. 3o it slo$ly and in a most rela+ed manner. 2o effort or strain should ever be e+erted. /his is very important. %eep mouth closed. "ou then become a$are of the function of your o$n diaphragm. "ou e+pand the flanks $hen inhaling and contract them $hen e+haling. /he lo$er part of the rib cage naturally e+pands first $hen you breathe in and is compressed last $hen you let the air out. /his too should be done gently, $ithout any force or strain. /he chest remains motionless and passive during the entire process of respiration. *nly the ribs e+pand during inhalation and contract during e+halation, accordion-fashion. /o use force during inhalation is completely $rong. *ne should do it $ith ease, $ithout any tension or strain $hatever. &n deep breathing, e+halation is as important as inhalation because it eliminates poisonous matter. /he lo$er part of our lungs seldom are sufficiently emptied, and tend to accumulate air saturated $ith $aste products, for $ith ordinary breathing $e never e+pel enough of the carbon dio+ide our system thro$s off even if $e do inhale enough o+ygen. &f, on the other hand, the lo$er part of the lungs are properly e+panded and contracted, the circulation in the liver and spleen, $hich are thus "massaged" by the diaphragm, are greatly benefited. Inhaling 0irst, push the stomach for$ards as you breathe in. Second, push the ribs side$ays $hile still breathing in. /he stomach $ill automatically go in$ards slightly. /hird, lift the chest and collar bone up $hile still breathing in. 1ven though this is described as three separate processes, it should be done in a smooth, continuous rhythm $ith each part follo$ing smoothly on from the previous part. /ry to avoid any (erky movements. Exhaling 0irst, (ust allo$ the collar bone, chest and ribs to rela+-the air $ill go out automatically.

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Second, $hen all the air seems to be out, push the stomach in slightly to e+pel any remaining air in the lungs. 1+haling is a more passive affair, e+cept for the second stage $hen the stomach is pushed in slightly. Basic Instr ctions !or The Breathing Exercises ;. 0ind a 8uiet place $here you $on.t be distracted. &f doing the e+ercises inside, make sure the $indo$ is open to allo$ plenty of fresh air into the room. D. Sit on a chair or if you prefer, cross-legged on the floor. Sit straight. :nless your spine is erect, some of the benefits of the breathing e+ercises $ill be lost. 3on.t sit straight and rela+ed. E. Breathe deeply and slo$ly, $ithout strain. Breathe smoothly and 8uietly. =. "ou should do the e+ercises on an empty stomach. )ait at least three hours after a heavy meal, and about one and a half hours after a light snack, such as fruit. /his is for t$o reasons. 0irstly, a heavy meal $ill reduce your concentration. Secondly, food in the stomach causes some of your blood and o+ygen supply to be diverted to the stomach for digestion. /his $ill reduce the blood and o+ygen available for directing to the brain $hile you are doing the breathing e+ercises. F. /o gain ma+imum benefit, do the e+ercises t$ice a day, in the early morning before breakfast, and in the early evening. &t.s best not to eat for about fifteen minutes after the e+ercises. )hile doing deep breathing the spine should be kept straight, so as not to impair the free flo$ of the lifeforce, or prana. /his also helps to develop correct posture. /he yogis attach such great importance to correct posture that they have devised several different positions for their various advanced breathing practices as $ell as for meditation and concentration. *ne very popular pose for deep breathing is lotus posture or cross legged posture. )hen you sit do$n on the floor $ith your legs crossed, visuali?e a stream running through you in a straight line, starting at the top of your head and continuing into the ground. &magine, too, that this is the a+is around $hich your body has been molded. /his $ill help you learn to sit up straight $ithout being stiff and tense. "ou should, in fact, feel comfortable and rela+ed as you sit this $ay.

Yo r !irst "eep Breath


3eep breathing can be accomplished sitting do$n in a meditative posture such as lotus posture, sitting do$n on a chair $ith your spine straght or standing up $ith your spine held straight. &f you haven.t done so, read the section on learning to breath correctly. 0irst check your posture. /he spine should be straight, the head erect, hands on knees, mouth closed. 2o$ concentrate on the pharyngeal space at the back $all of your mouth and, slightly contracting its muscles, begin to dra$ in the air through that space as if you $ere using a suction pump. 3o it slo$ly and steadily, letting the pumping sound be clearly heard. 3on.t use the nostrilsB remember that they remain inactive during the entire respiration process. )hen inhaling let your ribs e+pand side$ays like an accordion-beginning $ith the lo$er ones, of course. Remember the chest and shoulders should remain motionless. /he entire inhalation should be done gently and effortlessly. )hen it has been completed pause for a second or t$o, holding the breath. /hen slo$ly begin breathing out. /he e+halation is usually not as passive as the inhalation. "ou use a slight, a very slight, pressure to push the air out-although it feels as though you pressed it against the throat like a hydraulic press. /he upper ribs are no$ contracted first, the nostrils remain inactive and the chest and shoulders motionless. At the end of the e+halation, pull in the stomach a little so as to push out all the air. 4ongratulationsH "ou have (ust taken your first deep breath. 3o not try to take too full a breath at once. Start by breathing to the count of four. /hen hold the breath, counting to t$o, and start slo$ly e+haling, again to the count of four. Breathing in and out to an e8ual number of beats is called rhythmic breathing. "ou allo$ four beats to fill your lungs, t$o to retain the breath, and four to breathe out. /he respiration should be timed in such a $ay that at the end of the four beats you have completed the e+halation. 3on.t (ust stop at the end of the count $hen there is still air to be e+pelled. "ou should ad(ust your breathing to the timing. Repeat, but do not take more than F or I deep breaths at one time during the first $eek. "ou shouldn.t do more even if you are en(oying it.

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Be careful not to overdo the breathing, especially inhalation, as this may lead to unpleasant results such as di??iness, nausea, headaches, even fainting spells due to hyperventilation caused by a sudden, e+cessive intake of o+ygen. By practicing complete breathing, you $ill be able to enlarge the lung capacity so that, after practice, you can inhale more air than you did before. But this increased capacity should come gradually rather than by force. By repeating such a complete breathing too often or too rapidly in succession, you may absorb too much o+ygen and become di??y. "ou may continue to employ all of the muscles and all portions of the lungs in breathing $ithout e+panding the lungs to their ma+imum e+tent each time you inhale. #roper yogic breathing employs all of the muscles and all or most of the lungs. But the e+tent of e+pansion and the rate of breathing may be progressively reduced to suit the body.s needs for o+ygen consumption under the conditions of e+ercise or rest $hich prevail. As your cycle of breathing involves an increasingly larger lung area, your respiration may be decreased correspondingly $hile the amount of o+ygen available for use remains the same-or even increases. Slo$er, deeper breathing not only stimulates the lungs into healthier action, and brings more of the body muscles into play, but it has the effect of calming the nerves. Although other factors must be taken into consideration, the slo$er your respiration rate the calmer you feel. "ou can deliberately reduce this rate for beneficial effect. !o$ever, you can maintain this only if you breathe more deeply. A complete breath involves the follo$ing steps ;. &nhale slo$ly until your lungs are filled to capacity. Some recommend that you begin $ith abdominal breathing, gradually move into middle breathing, and finish filling the lungs $ith high breathing. D. A pause, short or long, should occur at the end of inhalation. /his, too, should not be forced at first, though deliberate e+periments $ith e+tending this pause play an important part in successful yogic practice. E. 1+hale, also slo$ly, smoothly and completely. Again, some recommend beginning e+halation $ith high breathing, proceeding gradually to middle breathing, and ending $ith abdominal breathing and use of abdominal muscles to e+pel all air from the lungs. =. Another pause, short or long, should occur at the end of e+halation. /his too should not be forced at first, though this pause may prove to be even more significant than the first as a stage in $hich to seek and find a kind of spiritual 8uiescence that can be most po$erful in its rela+ing effects.

The !o r #tages of Breathing


As $e have e+plained before, each cycle of breathing, usually thought of as merely a single inhaling follo$ed by a single e+haling, may be analy?ed into four phases or stages, each $ith its distinct nature and its traditional Sanskrit name. /he transitions from inhaling to e+haling and from e+haling to inhaling involve at least reversals in direction of the movements of muscles and of e+pansive or contractive movements of lungs, thora+ and abdomen. /he time necessary for such reversals can be very short, as may be observed if one deliberately pants as shortly and rapidly as he can. "et they can be long, as one may notice if he intentionally stops breathing $hen he has finished inbreathing or outbreathing. /he effects of these pause specially $hen they become lengthened, at first deliberately and then spontaneously-seem remarkable. /hus in our analysis of the four stages of breathing $e shall pay special attention to these pauses, ho$ to lengthen them and ho$ to profit from them. ;6 P ra)a 3Inhalation7 A single inhalation is termed puraka. &t is a process of dra$ing in airB it is e+pected to be smooth and continuous. &f a person should pause one or more times during the process of a single inhaling, the process might be spoken of as a broken puraka rather than as a series of purakas. D6 Abhyantara ' mbha)a 3Pa se After Inhaling4 ! ll Pa se: %umbhaka consists of deliberate stoppage of flo$ of air and retention of the air in the lungs, $ithout any movement of lungs or muscles or any part of the body and $ithout any incipient movements. A beginner may e+periment by using some force to keep such pause motionless. Cuite elaborate instructions and techni8ues have been $orked out for this purpose. E. &echa)a 3Exhalation4

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/he third stage, e+halation, is called rechaka. 'ike inhalation, it too should be smooth and continuous, though often the speed of e+haling is different from that of inhaling. 2ormally, muscular energy is used for inhaling $hereas e+haling consists merely in rela+ing the tensed muscles. Such rela+ing forces air from the lungs as they return to an untensed condition. !o$ever, a person can force air out $ith muscular effortB so $hen he sits or stands erect and has his abdominal muscles under constant control, muscular effort may be used for both inhaling and e+haling. 1specially if one deliberately smooths the course of his breathing and holds the cycles in regular or definitely irregular patterns, he is likely to use muscular energy at each stage, including the pauses. !o$ever, in a condition of complete rela+ation, one should e+pect effort to be needed only for inhaling. 76 Bahya ' mbha)a 3Pa se After Exhaling4 Empty Pa se: /he fourth stage, the pause after e+haling, is also called kumbhaka, especially $hen the stoppage is deliberate or prolonged. /he fourth stage, the empty pause, completes the cycle $hich terminates as the pause ends and a ne$ inhalation begins.

Arreste% an% &esting Breath


Since the t$o pauses have great significance in yoga, $e $ill e+amine them further. 0our aspects of the problem, and the significance of arresting breathing, $ill be e+plored briefly. /hey pertain to ;. D. E. =. length of time during a pause techni8ues for holding breathing, suggestions concerning practice and the nature and benefits of kevala kumbhakara or "perfectly peaceful pause"

A pause may be very short, even only a fraction of a second 6eg., 8uick puffs7 or it may be very long. As an illustration, try holding your lungs full of air and see ho$ long you can do so. "ou $ill find that you can retain it for several seconds and even, perhaps, for minutes. &f you happen to be fatigued and if your body needs constant replenishment of o+ygen, you may be unable to hold your breath very long. But $hen you have become rested and rela+ed and $hen your body is already $ell supplied $ith o+ygen, you may hold your breath much longer. #ractitioners of yoga e+tend the duration of a full pause by first breathing regularly for some time until the body becomes oversupplied $ith o+ygen and then taking an e+tended pause $ithout discomfort. )hen you try this, please remember to 8uit the practice $hen you fell the discomfort. Advanced practitioners of yoga are said to be able to stop breathing for an hour or more $ithout discomfort. Some of them eventually can remain almost completely motionless for days, even having themselves buried for such periods in order to demonstrate ability to survive $ithout food, $ater or very much air. )hen buried, they do not stop breathing entirely, but their inhalations and e+halations become so long and slo$ and their pauses so prolonged that almost no energy is consumed and very little o+ygen is needed. 1ven their heartbeats become so retarded that only a minimum of o+ygen is needed by the heart muscles. /heir cerebral activity almost ceases, so very little energy is needed to support the voracious capacity of the nervous system. /here are some significant $ays of attaining relatively complete rela+ation by use of these pauses bet$een breathing. *ne cannot retain his breathing for an e+tended duration as long as he is nervous, an+ious or fatigued. So, in pursuit of e+tended pauses, he $ill have to do $hat is re8uired to attain a state of rest. )hen you have attained full state of rest, it $ill result in the reduction or elimination of nervousness. &t is an e+tremely po$erful techni8ue to incite rela+ation response. Techni5 es or Ai%s To Prolong Pa ses /here are some traditional techni8ues or aids available to prolong the pauses. /hese involve deliberate attempts to block breathing passages in such a $ay that air does not escape of its o$n accord $hen chest and abdominal muscles become rela+ed. /hese aids are called bandha. Bandha is a Sanskrit $ord related to our 1nglish $ords "band," "bind," "bond" and "bound." 1ach of the bandha employed for prolonging breathing pauses binds air in our lungs or closes and locks the air channels so that no air can escape or enter. )e $ill look at four important bandhas. /he parts of the body mainly involved are the 6a7 lips and palate, 6b7 glottis, 6c7 chin and 6d7 diaphragm. /he first t$o seem more important in prolonging full pauses and the last t$o more necessary for retaining empty pauses.

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a6 Ban%ha in(ol(ing Lips an% Palate: /his is a techni8ue used by s$immers. 4losing our lips tightly so no air can escape through the mouth. #ressing lips against the teeth may aid in tightening them. &f your nostrils are clear, simply lift your soft palate against the roof of your pharyn+ and close the passage into the nostrils. /his may be done deliberately or you may learn to allo$ this to happen automatically after some training. A little air pressure from your lungs may aid in holding the palate in such a closed position. b6 Ban%ha in(ol(ing 8lottis: "ou can prevent air from leaving your lungs by closing your glottis. "our glottis closes automatically $hen you s$allo$. All you need to do is to stop your s$allo$ing movements at that point $here your trachea is closed. /his may be difficult to do at first, since an automatic refle+ pattern has been built into your autonomic nervous mechanisms. But a little effort at trying to attain voluntary control over your involuntary processes should give you mastery of this techni8ue. *f course, you may combine both the lips and the palate closure $ith the glottis closure to produce a still tighter lock. c6 9alan%hara Ban%ha 3Ban%ha in(ol(ing Chin4: /he (alandhara bandha or "chin lock" consists in pressing the chin close to the chest and dropping the head to help in maintaining immobility of muscle and air movements. /his position is very useful in holding an empty pause, for the pressure of the chin against the chest pushes the base of the tongue and the laryn+ up into the pharyn+ and against the palate, thus providing aid in resisting the pressure caused by the vacuum in the lungs. d. :%%iyana Ban%ha 3Ban%ha In(ol(ing "iaphragm7 A fourth bandha, uddiyana bandha, involves raising the diaphragm and keeping it immobile during an empty pause. /he abdomen must be dra$n in and up as far as possible. 1+pel all air before using this bandha. &n order to attain complete control and more comfort, one may put forth some effort in one or more mock inhalations, $ithout admitting any air, before assuming fullest rela+ation possible during this pause. "ou may combine both chin lock and raised diaphragm techni8ues in retaining an empty pause. Both of these techni8ues can be employed in either a standing or sitting position and they are commonly employed together during sitting postures. /hese t$o bandhas appear to serve as strenuous and circulation-stimulating e+ercises rather than muscle- and $ill 8uieting attitudes, though they do aid a person in attaining thorough mastery over his respiration cycle. /he problem of prolonging the duration of a pause should be approached $ith caution, patience and practice. 9radually lengthen the duration of a pause by counting. :se your fingers to count the duration of a pause. After each successive pause, add one unit of pause to the rest. &f you try to attain a prolonged pause on the first attempt, you are very likely to overdo it, suffer some discomfort and feel no beneficial or restful effects. )henever a series of increasingly e+tended pauses reaches the point $here you feel the need to e+ert effort in order to hold the pause longer, stop immediately. By repeating such a series once a day for several days-or even several times a day for several days-you can observe a gradual increase in the length of the pauses $hich may be held $ith comfort. /he progress you make is mainly an individual matter. Some persons can do this much easier than others. 'e(ala ) mbha)a 6perfectly peaceful pause7 involves not only complete cessation of movement of air and muscles but also of all a$areness of such movement and tendencies. /he state e+perienced is one of complete rest. :rgency, interest, motive, $ill, desire, etc. all disappear momentarily along $ith the disappearance of specific interests and an+ieties, such as those of hatred, fear, ambition, love, hunger and thirst. "ou $ill also feel detached from tendencies such as to hate specific tasks, to fear particular persons, to demand specific rights or to ?ealously force oneself or others to attain indicated goals. 3uring such a peaceful pause, 8uiescence is e+perienced as perfect. 0or anyone $rithing under the pressures of multiple an+ieties, the e+perience of the utter peacefulness of kevala kumbhaka even for a moment, provides a very restful and blissful moment. /he e+periences of kevala kumbhaka helps in retarding progressive overan+iety that is common in our society. Suicides and suicidal tendencies, $hich result from the development of unbearable an+ieties, may be retarded and prevented by sufficiently assiduous practice of yoga. /he automatic mechanisms $hich

Page 21 of 34

spontaneously induce inhaling and e+haling, as $ell as heartbeats and hunger and thirst, can be modified and inhibited for short periods. /he e+perience of kevala kumbhaka is self-terminating and, in spite of some slight reversal of an+ious tendencies, one is soon again immersed in the more usual an+ieties. /he e+perience must be repeated again and again, and even then, although it may aid in temporary reversal, it cannot be e+pected to overcome or counteract the much more po$erful drives $hich nature, culture and individual ambitions have established so deeply $ithin us. "et, its pacifying effects should not be overlooked by anyone $ho has become overambitious and overan+ious. /he po$er of kevala kumbhaka and the breathing e+ercises are effectively tapped by combining it $ith the benefits of undertaking the other elements of yoga such as asanas. Although breathing can be undertaken independent of asanas and vice versa, the combination is many times more effective than doing each one of them separately. /he beauty of this techni8ue is that it is available to everyone regardless of age, se+, occupation, religion or kind of ambition. &t may be convenient to do this in the morning and eveningB but you can do this at your place of $ork. #erforming it is more rela+ing than going for a cup of coffee or going to the $ater cooler or going for a smoke.

#afety of Breathing Exercises:


#ranayama is safe provided $e follo$ some common sense rules. &f you are suffering from a breath related problem such as asthma, emphysema, shortness of breath etc. it is only common sense to talk to your physician and get a clearance before embarking on to serious breathing e+ercises. /here are some breathing e+ercises that can induce di??iness or loss of consciousness. &f you are prone to di??iness or loss of consciousness, avoid these e+ercises or assume a suitable posture to minimi?e problems during the e+ercise 6such as lying do$n rather than standing up.7 %eep in mind that the biggest problem encountered by beginning yoga students are the tendency to push beyond the limits. /hese e+ercises should be done so that it is en(oyable. %no$ your limits. 3o not push it so that it become hard on you. &f you proceed slo$ly and carefully, you can attain the ultimate in yoga. But it may take some time. Remember, @slo$ and steady $ins the race.A 9una(i, author of @Scientific and 1fficient BreathingA, recommends the follo$ing general principles ;. D. E. =. F. I. >. J. Breathing e+ercises should never be pushed to the point of $eariness or e+haustion. 1+ercises should not be repeated too often. /hey should not be merely mechanical. /here should be no hurry or haste. Attention should be concentrated on the e+ercise $hile it is being performed. /here should al$ays be variety and change in the e+ercises. 1+ercise should al$ays be gentle and nonviolent. Breathing should not be (erky or irregular, but smooth, steady and continuous.

#ranayama and other yoga breathing practices emphasi?e conscious breathing. As long as $e pay close attention to the reaction of the body during these breathing practices, $e have nothing to fear. #roblems can arise $hen $e alter the breath and do not recogni?e or attend to a negative bodily reaction. &f someone is laboring to breathe deeply and evenly, it $ill immediately become apparentB he or she $ill feel the need to take a 8uick breath in bet$een the long, slo$ breaths. *ne important precept of Ayurvedic medicine is never to suppress the body's natural urges. 1ven during pranayama practice $e should let ourselves take a short breath if $e feel the need to do that. #ranayama should only be practiced by people $ho can really regulate the breath. /hose $ho suffer from chronic shortness of breath or other breathing disorders should not attempt pranayama until they are ready for it. Asanas that increase the volume of the lungs and free the muscles of the ribs, back, and diaphragm can help prepare one for pranayama. 0or e+ample, a back bend and a for$ard bend counterpose are helpful in preparing for pranayama. An appropriate Asana practice $ill encourage development of pranayama. #ranayama can and should be practiced in the early days of a person.s discovery of yoga, and should absolutely be undertaken only $ith the guidance of a good teacher.

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#lease note that, the most important part of pranayama is the e+halation. &f the 8uality of the e+halation is not good, the 8uality of the $hole pranayama practice is adversely affected. )hen someone is not able to breathe out slo$ly and 8uietly it means that he or she is not ready for pranayama, either mentally or other$ise. &ndeed, some te+ts give this $arning if the inhalation is rough $e do not have to $orry, but if the e+halation is uneven it is a sign of illness, either present or impending. 5any people have the mistaken notion that the most important part is holding the breath and they do not give proper attention to the e+halation process. /his is a big mistake.

Patterns of &est Bet*een Inhalation an% Exhalation


Based on the breathing patterns, specifically regarding the pattern of rest bet$een the inhalation and e+halation, $e can distinguish the follo$ing F types of breathing cycles ;. D. E. =. F. 2o voluntary pausing occurs after either inhaling or e+haling, 4essation of movement caused by deliberate effort after a full inhalation Stoppage is produced by special e+ertion after a thorough e+halation, ,oluntarily arrest inhalation at any time and &ntentionally halt e+halation at any time.

"ou can achieve a more peaceful pause if you do not push inhalation or e+halation to e+tremes, especially $hen holding a pause at such an e+treme re8uires some effort or strain. &f you have to e+ert an effort to maintain the rest pauses, this $ill e+pend energy and $ill distract you from attaining and en(oyment of 8uiescence. /he least strenuous conditions for pausing should be sought for ma+imum effectiveness. As you become more e+pert in self-control, you can manage to induce pauses $ithout effort. "ou $ill find that you can drift suddenly into a pause $henever you are $illing, provided your other bodily, mental and environmental conditions permit. /he degree of $illingness is itself a factor both in the ease and spontaneity $ith $hich one enters a pause and in the length of time during $hich the pause may be en(oyed $ithout discomfort. Although it is possible to effortfully induce or effortlessly sink into a peaceful pause at any time, you $ill find that you can do either more conveniently and hold such a pause much longer if you prepare for it by several forced inhalings and e+halings in advance. Since the length of time during $hich a pause may be prolonged $ithout discomfort depends mainly upon the supply of o+ygen available in the circulatory system, any process of breathing $hich develops an oversupply of o+ygen in the blood reduces the demands $hich our automatic inhalation starters make upon our respiratory muscles. )hen you have prepared yourself both $ith easy breathing habits and $ith firm and comfortable posture skills, you $ill be ready to en(oy the fruits of peaceful pauses. /he amount and effectiveness of the rela+ation e+perienced during the pauses of even skillful practitioners $ill vary $ith the fatigue and nervous factors $hich must be overcome. /he po$erful hold that over$helming stress has upon a person.s system can be rela+ed completely only by sufficiently great counter effort. 2o fi+ed rules can be given regarding ho$ much devotion to breathing e+ercises is needed to van8uish the an+iety produced during any day.s $ork struggle. *nly through repeated e+perimentation can one develop the kind of self-kno$ledge and self-mastery needed to plan and e+ecute your o$n program for rela+ation.

Importance of Exhalation or Breathing O t In Yoga


/he ob(ect of pranayama practice is to emphasi?e the inhalation, the e+halation, or retention of the breath. 1mphasis on the inhalation is called puraka pranayama. Recaka pranayama refers to a form of pranayama in $hich the e+halation is lengthened $hile the inhalation remains free. %umbhaka pranayama focuses on breath retention. &n kumbhaka pranayama $e hold the breath after inhalation, after e+halation, or after both. )hichever techni8ue is chosen, the most important part of pranayama is the e+halation. &f the 8uality of the e+halation is not good, the 8uality of the $hole pranayama practice is adversely affected. &f you are not able to breathe out slo$ly and 8uietly, you are not ready for pranayama, either mentally or other$ise. "&f the inhalation is rough $e do not have to $orry, but if the e+halation is uneven it is a sign of illness, either present or impending."

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"oga.s essential aim is to eliminate impurities and reduce avidya. /hrough this elimination alone, positive results come about. )hen the blockage is cleared from a se$er pipe, the $ater $ill flo$. &f something in us is preventing a change from occurring, then $e need to remove the obstacle before the change can take place. /he e+halation is vitally important because it transports impurities from the body, making more room for prana to enter. *ften $hen pranayama is discussed it is the holding of the breath that is emphasi?ed. "et the ancient te+ts talk about the total breath, not simply kumbhaka, breath retention. /he "oga Sutra discusses the breath in this order of importance o o o bahya vrtti or e+halation as the most important, abhyantara vrtti or inhalation as secondary, stambha vrtti or breath retention.

All three of these are aspects of pranayama. 3o not become interested only in holding the breathB many people think they can progress 8uickly along the yoga path by practicing breath-retention techni8ues, but in fact problems often arise $ith this emphasis. /he most important tenet of pranayama is this *nly $hen $e have emptied ourselves can $e take in a ne$ breath, and only $hen $e can dra$ the breath into us can $e hold it. &f $e cannot breathe out and in fully, ho$ are $e going to hold our breath- Breath-retention e+ercises must be done in such a $ay that they never disturb the in- and out-breaths. )hen $e reach the stage $here $e have improved our ability to breathe in and out and to hold the breath, then breath-retention may become important because as it is held the breath is at rest, and $ith it so hopefully is the mind.

Breathing Exercises
A Breathing Exercise for 8oo% Post re /his is an e+cellent e+ercise for the $aistline or a $eak back, but even more for stooped shoulders. &t should be taught to all children at home and at school to counteract their tendency to slouch, for slouching, in addition to being ugly, develops a bad and unhealthy posture as it prevents the lungs from e+panding as they should. &t is a great e+ercise for beginners along $ith alternate nostril breathing described belo$. Stand straight $ith feet together. #ut your hands behind your back and interlock the fingers, palms up$ard. 2o$ turn the palms do$n. /his $ill automatically give a t$isting movement to your elbo$s. &nhale deeply, then bend for$ard, $hile e+haling, at the same time raising the arms until they are stretched out. 3o not bend the elbo$s, $hich should remain straight throughout. %eep your head do$n, trying all the $hile to s$ing your arms a bit higher and higher. Remain a moment in this position, holding your breathB then slo$ly return to the standing position $ithout unlocking your fingers. Repeat the $hole e+ercise t$o or three times. Another version is done in a kneeling position. /he procedure is the same, e+cept that here you bend over until your forehead touches the floor.

2a%i #o%hana 3Alternate 2ostril Breathing4


&f you don.t do anything else, this is a simple yoga breathing e+ercise that can be done virtually any$here, anyplace. "ou $ill be glad you did. &t is simply dynamicH /he name alternate nostril breathing is due to the fact that $e alternate bet$een the t$o nostrils $hen $e do the breathing. "ogis believe that this e+ercise $ill clean and re(uvenate your vital channels of energy, thus the name nadi sodhana 6purification of nadis or channels7. )ith this e+ercise, $e breathe through only one nostril at a time. /he logic behind this e+ercise is that normal breathing does alternate from one nostril to the other at various times during the day. &n a healthy person the breath $ill alternate bet$een nostrils about every t$o hours. Because most of us are not in optimum health,

Page 24 of 34

this time period varies considerably bet$een people and further reduces our vitality. According to the yogis, $hen the breath continues to flo$ in one nostril for more than t$o hours, as it does $ith most of us, it $ill have an adverse effect on our health. &f the right nostril is involved, the result is mental and nervous disturbance. &f the left nostril is involved, the result is chronic fatigue and reduced brain function. /he longer the flo$ of breath in one nostril, the more serious the illness $ill be.

Benefits ;. /he e+ercise produces optimum function to both sides of the brain that is optimum creativity and optimum logical verbal activity. /his also creates a more balanced person, since both halves of the brain are functioning property. D. /he yogis consider this to be the best techni8ue to calm the mind and the nervous system. The #cientific Confirmation 5edical science has recently discovered the nasal cycle, something that $as kno$n by the yogis thousands of years ago. Scientists have recently found that $e don.t breathe e8ually $ith both nostrils, that one nostril is much easier to breathe through than the other at any particular time and that this alternates about every three hours. /he yogis claim that the natural period is every t$o hours, but $e must remember these studies $ere done on people $ho do not have an optimum health level. Scientists also discovered that the nasal cycle corresponds $ith brain function. /he electrical activity of the brain $as found to be greater on the side opposite the less congested nostril. /he right side of the brain controls creative activity, $hile the left side controls logical verbal activity. /he research sho$ed that $hen the left nostril $as less obstructed, the right side of the brain $as predominant. /est sub(ects $ere indeed found to do better on creative tests. Similarly $hen the right nostril $as less obstructed the left side of the brain $as predominant. /est sub(ects did better on verbal skills. 5edical science has not 8uite caught up $ith the ancient yogis yet. /he yogis $ent one step further. /hey observed that a lot of disease $as due to the nasal cycle being disturbedB that is, if a person breathed for too long through one nostril. /o prevent and correct this condition, they developed the alternate nostril breathing techni8ue. /his clears any blockage to air flo$ in the nostrils and reestablishes the natural nasal cycle. 0or e+ample, the yogis have kno$n for a long time that prolonged breathing through the left nostril only 6over a period of years7 $ill produce asthma. /hey also kno$ that this so-called incurable disease can be easily eliminated by teaching the patient to breathe through the right nostril until the asthma is cured, and then to prevent it recurring by doing the alternate nostril breathing techni8ue. /he yogis also believe that diabetes is caused to a large e+tent by breathing mainly through the right nostril. Techni5 e

;. 4lose the right nostril $ith your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. 3o this to the count of four seconds.

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D. &mmediately close the left nostril $ith your right ring finger and little finger, and at the same time remove your thumb from the right nostril, and e+hale through this nostril. 3o this to the count of eight seconds. /his completes a half round. E. &nhale through the right nostril to the count of four seconds. 4lose the right nostril $ith your right thumb and e+hale through the left nostril to the count of eight seconds. /his completes one full round. Start by doing three rounds, adding one per $eek until you are doing seven rounds. Alternate nostril breathing should not be practiced if you have a cold or if your nasal passages are blocked in any $ay. 0orced breathing through the nose may lead to complications. &n pranayama it is important to follo$ this rule under no circumstances should anything be forced. &f you use the nostrils for breath control they must be unobstructed. &f they are not, you must practice throat breathing.

2a%i #o%hana 3Alternate 2ostril Breathing4


&f you don.t do anything else, this is a simple yoga breathing e+ercise that can be done virtually any$here, anyplace. "ou $ill be glad you did. &t is simply dynamicH /he name alternate nostril breathing is due to the fact that $e alternate bet$een the t$o nostrils $hen $e do the breathing. "ogis believe that this e+ercise $ill clean and re(uvenate your vital channels of energy, thus the name nadi sodhana 6purification of nadis or channels7. )ith this e+ercise, $e breathe through only one nostril at a time. /he logic behind this e+ercise is that normal breathing does alternate from one nostril to the other at various times during the day. &n a healthy person the breath $ill alternate bet$een nostrils about every t$o hours. Because most of us are not in optimum health, this time period varies considerably bet$een people and further reduces our vitality. According to the yogis, $hen the breath continues to flo$ in one nostril for more than t$o hours, as it does $ith most of us, it $ill have an adverse effect on our health. &f the right nostril is involved, the result is mental and nervous disturbance. &f the left nostril is involved, the result is chronic fatigue and reduced brain function. /he longer the flo$ of breath in one nostril, the more serious the illness $ill be. Benefits ;. /he e+ercise produces optimum function to both sides of the brain that is optimum creativity and optimum logical verbal activity. /his also creates a more balanced person, since both halves of the brain are functioning property. D. /he yogis consider this to be the best techni8ue to calm the mind and the nervous system. The #cientific Confirmation 5edical science has recently discovered the nasal cycle, something that $as kno$n by the yogis thousands of years ago. Scientists have recently found that $e don.t breathe e8ually $ith both nostrils, that one nostril is much easier to breathe through than the other at any particular time and that this alternates about every three hours. /he yogis claim that the natural period is every t$o hours, but $e must remember these studies $ere done on people $ho do not have an optimum health level. Scientists also discovered that the nasal cycle corresponds $ith brain function. /he electrical activity of the brain $as found to be greater on the side opposite the less congested nostril. /he right side of the brain controls creative activity, $hile the left side controls logical verbal activity. /he research sho$ed that $hen the left nostril $as less obstructed, the right side of the brain $as predominant. /est sub(ects $ere indeed found to do better on creative tests. Similarly $hen the right nostril $as less obstructed the left side of the brain $as predominant. /est sub(ects did better on verbal skills. 5edical science has not 8uite caught up $ith the ancient yogis yet. /he yogis $ent one step further. /hey observed that a lot of disease $as due to the nasal cycle being disturbedB that is, if a person breathed for too long through one nostril. /o prevent and correct this condition, they developed the alternate nostril breathing techni8ue. /his clears any blockage to air flo$ in the nostrils and reestablishes the natural nasal cycle. 0or e+ample, the yogis have kno$n for a long time that prolonged breathing through the left nostril only 6over a period of years7 $ill produce asthma. /hey also kno$ that this so-called incurable disease can be easily

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eliminated by teaching the patient to breathe through the right nostril until the asthma is cured, and then to prevent it recurring by doing the alternate nostril breathing techni8ue. /he yogis also believe that diabetes is caused to a large e+tent by breathing mainly through the right nostril.

Techni5 e

;. 4lose the right nostril $ith your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. 3o this to the count of four seconds. D. &mmediately close the left nostril $ith your right ring finger and little finger, and at the same time remove your thumb from the right nostril, and e+hale through this nostril. 3o this to the count of eight seconds. /his completes a half round. E. &nhale through the right nostril to the count of four seconds. 4lose the right nostril $ith your right thumb and e+hale through the left nostril to the count of eight seconds. /his completes one full round. Start by doing three rounds, adding one per $eek until you are doing seven rounds. Alternate nostril breathing should not be practiced if you have a cold or if your nasal passages are blocked in any $ay. 0orced breathing through the nose may lead to complications. &n pranayama it is important to follo$ this rule under no circumstances should anything be forced. &f you use the nostrils for breath control they must be unobstructed. &f they are not, you must practice throat breathing.

2a%i #o%hana 3Alternate 2ostril Breathing4


&f you don.t do anything else, this is a simple yoga breathing e+ercise that can be done virtually any$here, anyplace. "ou $ill be glad you did. &t is simply dynamicH /he name alternate nostril breathing is due to the fact that $e alternate bet$een the t$o nostrils $hen $e do the breathing. "ogis believe that this e+ercise $ill clean and re(uvenate your vital channels of energy, thus the name nadi sodhana 6purification of nadis or channels7. )ith this e+ercise, $e breathe through only one nostril at a time. /he logic behind this e+ercise is that normal breathing does alternate from one nostril to the other at various times during the day. &n a healthy person the breath $ill alternate bet$een nostrils about every t$o hours. Because most of us are not in optimum health, this time period varies considerably bet$een people and further reduces our vitality. According to the yogis, $hen the breath continues to flo$ in one nostril for more than t$o hours, as it does $ith most of us, it $ill have an adverse effect on our health. &f the right nostril is involved, the result is mental and nervous

Page 27 of 34

disturbance. &f the left nostril is involved, the result is chronic fatigue and reduced brain function. /he longer the flo$ of breath in one nostril, the more serious the illness $ill be. Benefits ;. /he e+ercise produces optimum function to both sides of the brain that is optimum creativity and optimum logical verbal activity. /his also creates a more balanced person, since both halves of the brain are functioning property. D. /he yogis consider this to be the best techni8ue to calm the mind and the nervous system.

The #cientific Confirmation 5edical science has recently discovered the nasal cycle, something that $as kno$n by the yogis thousands of years ago. Scientists have recently found that $e don.t breathe e8ually $ith both nostrils, that one nostril is much easier to breathe through than the other at any particular time and that this alternates about every three hours. /he yogis claim that the natural period is every t$o hours, but $e must remember these studies $ere done on people $ho do not have an optimum health level. Scientists also discovered that the nasal cycle corresponds $ith brain function. /he electrical activity of the brain $as found to be greater on the side opposite the less congested nostril. /he right side of the brain controls creative activity, $hile the left side controls logical verbal activity. /he research sho$ed that $hen the left nostril $as less obstructed, the right side of the brain $as predominant. /est sub(ects $ere indeed found to do better on creative tests. Similarly $hen the right nostril $as less obstructed the left side of the brain $as predominant. /est sub(ects did better on verbal skills. 5edical science has not 8uite caught up $ith the ancient yogis yet. /he yogis $ent one step further. /hey observed that a lot of disease $as due to the nasal cycle being disturbedB that is, if a person breathed for too long through one nostril. /o prevent and correct this condition, they developed the alternate nostril breathing techni8ue. /his clears any blockage to air flo$ in the nostrils and reestablishes the natural nasal cycle. 0or e+ample, the yogis have kno$n for a long time that prolonged breathing through the left nostril only 6over a period of years7 $ill produce asthma. /hey also kno$ that this so-called incurable disease can be easily eliminated by teaching the patient to breathe through the right nostril until the asthma is cured, and then to prevent it recurring by doing the alternate nostril breathing techni8ue. /he yogis also believe that diabetes is caused to a large e+tent by breathing mainly through the right nostril. Techni5 e

;. 4lose the right nostril $ith your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. 3o this to the count of four seconds. D. &mmediately close the left nostril $ith your right ring finger and little finger, and at the same time remove your thumb from the right nostril, and e+hale through this nostril. 3o this to the count of eight seconds. /his completes a half round.

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E. &nhale through the right nostril to the count of four seconds. 4lose the right nostril $ith your right thumb and e+hale through the left nostril to the count of eight seconds. /his completes one full round. Start by doing three rounds, adding one per $eek until you are doing seven rounds. Alternate nostril breathing should not be practiced if you have a cold or if your nasal passages are blocked in any $ay. 0orced breathing through the nose may lead to complications. &n pranayama it is important to follo$ this rule under no circumstances should anything be forced. &f you use the nostrils for breath control they must be unobstructed. &f they are not, you must practice throat breathing.

Breathing Exercises
# rya$Bhe%ana 6&ight$nostril breathing4 /his refers to an e+ercise in $hich one inhales through the right nostril and e+hales through the left, holding the inhaled breath as long as possible before e+haling. Although one may eventually develop an ability to do this $ithout using the fingers to close either nostril, beginners, at least, should e+pect to use their fingers. "ou may close your nostrils in any $ay you choose toB but the traditional techni8ue has become standardi?ed as follo$s. After pressing the index and middle fingers of the right hand against the palm of that hand, use the thumb to close the right nostril and the ring and little fingers to close the left nostril. Left handed persons may reverse this procedure. !hen both nostrils are open, the fingers rest on the bridge of the nose. #roperly performed, both inhalation and e+halation should be complete, and the process repeated ten to t$enty times $ithout pausing bet$een cycles 6$ith a prolonged full pause but no empty pause7, and $ith continuous voluntary control over one.s muscles to assure smooth, soundless breathing at all times. *ne should employ both the "chin lock" 6(alandhara bandha7 and diaphragm raising 6uddiyana bandha7B he may use the lips and palate and glottis closures also if he chooses. Although one should never hold his breath to produce undue strain, still he is e+pected to feel, sooner or later, a pressure all over his body, from head to toes, or from the roots of his hair to the tips of his toenails, $ith perspiration oo?ing from his pores. 4limatic conditions and amount of surplus $ater in one.s body may have some bearing upon the result. But repetition of this e+ercise may enable one to continue it, after much practice, to as many as eighty repetitions in a series $ithout discomfort.

Breathing Exercises
:;;ayi 3The <lo % breathing<4 /his consists in dra$ing air in through both nostrils $ith the glottis held partially closed. :((ayi translates as "$hat clears the throat and masters the chest area." /his partial closure of the glottis produces a sound like that heard in sobbing, e+cept that it is continuous and unbroken. /he sound should have a lo$ but uniform pitch and be pleasant to hear. 0riction of air in the nose should be avoidedB conse8uently no nasal sounds $ill be heard. A prolonged full pause should begin, $ithout any (erking, as soon as inhalation has been completed. 4losure of glottis, use of chin lock and closure of both nostrils are standard. #rolong the pause as long as possibleB but it should be terminated and e+halation commenced smoothly and slo$ly. )hen properly performed, e+halation proceeds slo$ly and steadily through the left nostril $ith the glottis partially closed as in inhalation. *ne may begin to e+hale $ith release of air pressure by lifting the finger from his left nostril, loosening his chin lock and then partially opening his glottis. 1+halation should be complete. :((ayi breathing has many variations. 0or e+ample, $e can breathe in through the throat, then completely close one nostril and breathe out through the other nostril, $hich is only partly closed. /his techni8ue is called an anuloma u((ayi. &n a pranayama techni8ue called viloma u((ayi, $e breathe in through the nostril and

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breathe out through the throat. /his techni8ue is used to lengthen the inhalation. &n u((ayi pranayama it is important to follo$ this rule $hen $e regulate the breath through the nostril, $e never breathe through the throat at the same time. Although the total length of time re8uired for a single cycle of breathing $ill vary $ith different persons, certain ratios of the periods needed for inhaling, pausing and e+haling are recommended. /he period occupied by e+haling should be about t$ice as long as that occupied by inhaling. #ractice inhaling and e+haling $ithout a full pause. /hen, $hen you feel ready, hold your breathing for a pause $hich is comfortable. )ith continued practice, this pause can be e+tended to a duration $hich is double that of the inhalation or e8ual to that of the e+halation. Advanced practitioners of yoga hold their pauses to four times the duration of inhalation and double the duration of e+halation.

&hythmic Breathing
&n &ndia they say that by practicing rhythmic breathing you become attuned to the rhythm of the :niverseB that by establishing a direct contact $ith the $hole $orld you come to e+perience a sense of oneness $ith it. /hen the feeling of separateness disappears and $ith it fear, loneliness, frustration, doubt, despair and other miseries. &t is a great e+ercise for rela+ation. Benefits of &hythmic Breathing &ncreased o+ygen supply 6even more than deep breathing7 Re-establishes the body.s o$n natural rhythm !elps you to ac8uire self-confidence, optimism, a calm mind or any other desired 8uality. Rhythmic breathing, as $ell as correct concentration and meditation, can bring about a great change in both your physical and mental state and serve as a step to$ard spiritual unfolding.

1verything in the universe is in vibration, from the atom to the planets themselves. &n all vibration there e+ists a certain rhythm, so rhythm pervades the universe. /he movement of the planets around the sun, the ebb and flo$ of the tide, all follo$ rhythmic la$s. *ur bodies are also sub(ect to rhythmic la$s called biorhythms. Sleep and $aking periods also have a rhythm. Sleep is governed by the steep cycle. /he $aking period has precise cycles of varying metabolic rates $hich differ bet$een individuals. Some people are $ide a$ake early in the morning, $hile others reach their peak efficiency in the afternoon or evening. /he yogis say that the deep rhythmic breathing e+ercise $ill allo$ the body to re-establish its o$n natural rhythm and attune us more to the cosmic rhythm. /his $ill protect us from any negative e+ternal influences. /he deep rhythmic breathing e+ercise, by falling in $ith the rhythm of the body, also allo$s the body to absorb a lot, more o+ygen than (ust normal deep breathing. Techni5 e Rhythmic breathing is done in the same $ay as deep breathing, but it is timed to the rhythm of your heartbeat. &nhalation and e+halation should be done to the same number of beats, as this establishes an even rhythm. 0irst assume the correct posture. &f you cannot comfortably remain in the 'otus #ose, get into an easy crosslegged position or even sit on a chair. Remember to open your belt, unhook your bra, loosen your girdle or tie if you happen to be $earing any of these items. %eep the spine straight, $ith hands on knees, and start by taking a fe$ deep breaths, and then stop. 2o$ put the second, third and fourth fingers of your right hand on the left $rist to find the pulse. 4arefully listen to the pulse beat, and after a short $hile start counting ;-D-E-= several times, to the rhythm of the beats.

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4ontinue mentally counting ;-D-E-=, ;-D-E-= until you fall into this rhythm and can follo$ it $ithout holding your pulse. /hen put your hands on your knees and take a deep breath $hile counting ;-D-E-=B hold the breath $hile counting ;-DB e+hale $hile again counting ;-D-E-=. ;. Sit up straight, either on a chair or cross-legged on the floor. 'et your hands (ust rest on your lap. D. &nhale slo$ly and deeply for eight seconds. #ush your stomach for$ards, to a count of four seconds, and then push your ribs side$ays for a count of t$o seconds, and then finally lift your chest and collar bone up$ards for a count of t$o seconds. /his makes a total of eight seconds. E. 3on.t breathe out immediatelyB instead hold the breath 6called retention7 for four seconds. =. 1+hale slo$ly for eight seconds. 0or the first si+ seconds (ust allo$ the collar bone, chest and ribs to rela+, so the breath goes out automatically. 0or the last t$o seconds, push the stomach in gently, to e+pel all the air from the lungs. F. %eep the stomach in this position for four seconds before you take the ne+t breath. 3o the above e+ercise three times the first $eek, and add one more round each $eek, until you are doing seven breaths. &t.s best to build up the number of breaths gradually, because if you are not used to doing yoga breathing and you overdo it, you $ill purify your system too 8uickly. /his $ill cause your body to release to+ins from your tissues into the blood circulation too 8uickly, resulting in unpleasant symptoms such as headaches, skin rashes and fatigue. /he yogi rule for rhythmic breathing is that the units of inhalation and e+halation should be the same, $hile the units for retention and bet$een breaths should be half that of inhalation and e+halationB that is, a ratio of D ; D ;. Sometimes beginners find that inhaling for eight seconds is too difficult. &f this is the case, inhale for si+ seconds, hold the breath for three seconds, e+hale for si+ seconds, and pause for three seconds before taking the ne+t breath. &n a fe$ $eeks you $ill easily be able to do J = J =. &hythmic Breathing +ith ,is ali=ation /he rhythmic breathing e+ercise is made much more potent if you use visuali?ation $hile doing the breathing. ,isuali?ation $orks on the principle that $hatever you concentrate on, an e+tra supply of o+ygen and prana 6life force7 $ill be directed to that area. /he secret of successful yoga is combining the e+ercise $ith visuali?ing the specific area the e+ercise affects. /he techni8ue is simple. )hen you breathe in, visuali?e the prana accumulating in the solar ple+us area, (ust above the navel, behind the stomach. /he solar ple+us is $here the body stores its energy. )hen you retain the breath and breathe out, visuali?e the prana going to the brain. Gust concentrate on the brain area. /his visuali?ation techni8ue achieves t$o things. 0irstly it produces a reserve of energy in the solar ple+us, thereby increasing your general energy level. Second, since some of the stored energy is directed to the brain, brain function and vitality are increased. !re5 ency /he rhythmic breathing e+ercise can be done on the morning and in the evening. 3o not overdo this in the beginning. Start $ith three or four rounds, adding one round per $eek until you finally reach the desired number, perhaps si+ty or more. /his e+ercise can also be done $ith different asanas, if lotus pose is too difficult for you. See the asanas given under meditation for description of suitable asanas $ith this e+ercise.

Breathing Exercises
The +al)ing Breathing Exercise

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)alking Breathing e+ercise is done in e+actly the same $ay as Rhythmic Breathing e+cept that you do it $hile $alking. :se each step as a count, as you used the pulse beat in Rhythmic Breathing. Stand erect, e+hale first, then start $alking, right foot first. /ake four steps $hile inhaling, hold the breath in for t$o steps, e+hale for four steps, and hold the breath out for t$o steps. )ithout stopping, continue the routine inhale on four steps, hold the breath in for t$o steps, and so forth. 3o not interrupt the $alking-keep it rhythmical. /he breathing should be done in one continuous flo$ do not inhale in four short breaths, a mistake $hich many beginners tend to make. &nhale one deep breath to the count of four, hold it to the count of t$o, e+hale it to the count of four, and again hold the emptiness to the count of t$o. /his completes one round. 5ake five such rounds a day the first $eek-no more-adding one round per $eek. &f you feel that four steps are too long for you, count three steps and hold one. &f, on the contrary, four are not enough and you feel you $ant to continue the inhalation, take si+ steps or even eight, and hold the breath on a count of three or four steps respectively. &n either case, you should take an even number of steps $hile breathing in and out, as the retention is done in half the time taken for inhalation or e+halation. "ou can do the )alking Breathing e+ercise at any other time $hile you are e+ercising, $alking, especially $hen the air is clean-in a park, a forest, or at the seashore. "ou can do it $hile $alking to your car or bus, descending a staircase, on your $ay to pick up your mail from the letter bo+, during a coffee break in your office, in fact, $henever you think of it. Simply interrupt your usual $alking tempo, stop to inhale and e+hale deeply. /hen start rhythmic breathing to the count of slo$ and even steps. 4onclude your lesson by doing the rela+ation and meditation. #it)ari 3Teeth hissing4
Sitkari pertains to the sound made b dra!ing air in through the front teeth"either tight# $#osed or s#ight# opened"!ith the tongue tip regu#ating the air pressure and sound. %his te$hni&ue pertains on# to inha#ing' e($ept that e(ha#ing norma## takes p#a$e through both nostri#s' after a usua# fu## pause. %he sides of the tongue is pressed against the teeth' #ining the sides of the mouth' if the are $#osed tight# ' or e(panding bet!een the upper and #o!er) sets' if the *a! is opened s#ight# . %he sound' a kind of re+ersed hissing' #ike that made !hen one sudden# tou$hes i$e or a hot ob*e$t or fee#s a draft of hot or frigid air' shou#d be regu#ated so as to be smooth and to sound p#easant. %he e(perien$e has been des$ribed as ,sipping air., %his te$hni&ue usua## $oo#s the mouth and ma ha+e both a $oo#ing and a re#a(ing effe$t upon the !ho#e bod . -ips shou#d $#ose at the end of inha#ation' preparator to ho#ding the fu## pause !ith $hin #o$k. .#osure of the #ips ends the hissing sound' si' !ith a ,sip.,

#itali 3Tong e hissing4 /his refers to the sound caused $hen air is dra$n in through the protruding tongue folded into a tube. 3uring inhalation $e curl up both edges of the tongue so that it forms a kind of tube, then $e breathe in through this tube. 3uring inhalation the air passes over the moist tongue, cooling do$n and refreshing the throat. &n order to be sure that the tongue remains moist, $e roll it back as far as possible against the palate during the entire e+halation so that the ne+t breath is (ust as refreshing as the first. /he resulting tongue position may appear more like the lo$er portion of a bird.s beak than a tube, but variable opening or closing of the tubelike passage in the folded tongue, in cooperation $ith faster or slo$er inhalation, makes possible variations in loudness and softness and smoothness of the reversed hissing sound. Again, a cooling effect may be noted and, indeed, sought through this and the foregoing techni8ue $henever needed. /he tongue is dra$n back into the mouth and the lips are closed at the end of inhalation. )e can breathe out either through the throat or alternately through the nostrils. The Cleansing Breath: /he 4leansing Breath, as its name indicates, cleans and ventilates the lungsB it also tones up the entire system. "ou should do the 4leansing Breath at the end of other yogs e+ercises or (ust before the final rela+ation e+ercises. /o do the 4leansing Breath, stand straight $ith feet close together and arms hanging loosely at the sides. /ake a deep breath, hold it for a little $hile, then purse your lips as if you $ere going to $histle. 2o$ start e+haling forcefully, little by little, but do not blo$ the air out as if you $ere blo$ing out a candle, and do not puff out the cheeks. /hey should be hollo$ed.

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/hese successive and forceful e+halations $ill feel almost like slight coughs $hich e+pel the air until the lungs are completely empty. /he effort of the e+halation should be felt in the chest and in the back. Rest for a little $hile, then repeat. After a $eek you may repeat this routine several times a day. Bhastri)a 3Bello*s4 Bhastika consists primarily in forced rapid deep breathing $hich serves as a basis for many varieties of e+ercises, all of $hich may be described by the same name. Although air is forced both in and out, emphasis is placed upon e+pulsion or e+plosion of air. A series of such e+plosions, each follo$ing the other in 8uick succession $ithout pause, either full or empty, may be called "a round." Beginners should limit a round to about five e+plosions, though the number may be increased to ten, or to any number needed to obtain the desired effect. /he desired effects range from increased ventilation, increased blood circulation, increased clearing of nasal passages and increased thinking capacity to over$helming pacification of all mental disturbances. #lease be $arned against generating such po$erful e+plosions that the lung tissues $ill be in(ured and against e+tending a series so long as to become di??y. 4omfort, not reckless e+cess, should guide your motives and manner in doing this e+ercise. Although you can breath through your mouth or both mouth and nose, traditionally breathing is limited to either both nostrils or one nostril. /he breath-stroke in the rapid succession of breaths may or may not be very deep, but it is customary to finish or follo$ a round by the deepest possible inhalation and e+halation. A series of normal breaths should occur before undertaking a second round. A deepest possible inhalation and e+halation may, and perhaps should, introduce each round. Some nasal hissing can be e+pectedB avoid unpleasant sound and fluttering of nasal skin surfaces. Although you can stand if you $ish, proper performance of this techni8ue is done in a seated position allo$ing ma+imum rela+ation of abdominal muscles and easy diaphragmatic breathing. ,ariations include using a full pause after each round, partial glottis closures and alternation of nostrils. "ou should e+ercise caution against the temptation to go to e+cess in initial bello$s e+periments. &f you have a tendency to push the limit, lie do$n $hen doing this e+ercise if there is any danger of losing consciousness and falling to the floor. 0orced breathing produce rela+ation and revitali?ation. 1+cess may induce di??iness, dro$siness and diminution of consciousness. 2o harm can come from hyperventilation so long as you are in bed. &f you happen to lose consciousness your breathing pattern tend to rectify itself and return to normalcy. 1+cessive ventilation results in lightheartedness, giddiness or a feeling of floating in the air. 'apalabhati 3Cleaning Breath4 %apalabhati is a breathing techni8ue used specifically for cleansing. &f $e have a lot of mucus in the air passages or feel tension and blockages in the chest it is often helpful to breathe 8uickly. &n this practice $e deliberately breathe faster, and at the same time use only abdominal 6that is, diaphragmatic7 breathing, not chest breathing. &n kapalabhati the breath is short, rapid, and strong. )e use the lungs as a pump, creating so much pressure as they e+pel the air that all the rubbish is cleared from the air passages, from the lungs up through the nostrils. %apala means "skull," and bhati means "that $hich brings lightness." %apalabhati is a good thing to do $hen $e feel heavy or foggy in the head. &f $e have problems $ith the sinuses or feel numb around the eyes, kapalabhati can help to clear this area as $ell. /he kapalabhati and bhastrika breathing techni8ues share the same general principle, namely that $e clear the nasal passages $ith the force of the breath. As mentioned under bhastrika, $e must be very careful $ith these techni8ues because there is a danger of creating tension in the breath. )e may also become di??y $hen $e breathe rapidlyB for this reason $e al$ays conclude the practice of kapalabhati $ith some slo$ breaths. &t is important not to breathe rapidly too many times, but after a fe$ rapid breaths take several slo$ ones in $hich $e emphasi?e the long e+halation. Bhramari 32asal snoring4 Bhramari differs from the usual mouth snoring in that the lips are closed and vibrations of the soft palate are caused entirely by nasal airflo$. #ractice mouth snoring first in order to develop some voluntary control over the palate vibration process. 2asal snoring is more difficult. Approach control attempts gradually. /he soft palate must be lifted to$ard the top of the pharyn+ sufficiently to produced flutter $hich may be very hard to control. /he sound produced is commonly described as being like the bu??ing of a bee. Although, in bhramari, one breathes both in and out through both nostrils and produces a snoring, bu??ing or humming

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sound in both directions, e+pect some$hat different sounds from inhaling, $hich has a higher pitch, than from e+haling, $hich has a lo$er pitch. Bhramari is customarily described as involving rapid inhalation producing a high humming sound like that of a male bee and slo$ e+halation producing a lo$ humming sound like that of a female bee. . rcha 6#*ooning4 /his e+ercise is recommended only for those already $ell advanced in the use of other breathing techni8ues. &ts ma+imum benefit comes from repeated practice under controlled conditions $herein the practitioner kno$s $hat to e+pect. &t involves a prolonged full pause held $ith a chin lock, until you e+perience the approach of fainting. Beginners may, indeed, faint. But e+perts remain seated upright, normally in the 'otus #osture, and attain a restful, pleasant suspension of consciousness. *ne breathes through both nostrils and may re8uire several rounds and full pauses to attain his goal. &f the approaching fainting appears to be leading to a collapse of posture, one may resist it until he regains physical self-control. )hen successful, one en(oys a prolonged, rela+ed, euphorious, semiconscious s$oon. Pla(ini 6!loating4 #lavini is not so much a breathing techni8ue for getting air into the lungs as an air-s$allo$ing techni8ue for getting air into the belly. By both s$allo$ing air until the stomach is bloated, $hen it sounds something like a drum if tapped, and keeping the lungs almost fully inflated, one can float in $ater for an indefinite time if other$ise undisturbed. By retaining a prolonged full pause and e+haling and inhaling very slo$ly, one is able, $ith the aid of an air-filled stomach, to remain afloat $ith comfort. /his method may be combined $ith mineral baths, hot baths or other bathing techni8ues designed for rela+ing, and $ith various postures, such as the 0ish #osture, $hich can be performed easily in $ater. !o$ever, plavini, like other breathing e+ercises, may also be practiced in a normal seated position. )hether the rela+ation $hich comes from this e+ercise seems $orth $hile is something you should (udge for yourself. /hose suffering from stomach gas pains should avoid this method, unless they also master $ays for e+pelling air through the esophagus 6by belching or eructation7 or anus 6after learning from posture e+ercises $hich most effectively achieve this end7 as needed. Taoist &elaxation Yoga Although, in a sense, all yogic breathing e+ercises may be employed for rela+ing, as $ell as revitali?ation and increased self-control, /aoist "oga is especially good for rela+ation and to remove an+iety. &t gives prompt, 8uick relief. !o$ever, the effects can be 8uite temporary. /herefore, special efforts must be made to prolong and deepen these results by subtle, attentive, repeated, devotion. /he /aoist rela+ation method is very simple "'isten to your breathing." 2othing more is needed, e+cept persistence and patience in such listening. &f you do not persist, your attention $ill stray back into an+ieties. Be patientB impatience merely adds to an+ieties. #atience is an attitude $hich undercuts the roots of an+iety. /he healing, revitali?ing and rela+ing effect of attending to one.s breathing may be observed by giving it a trial. Breathing involves inhalation 6yang7 follo$ed by e+halation 6yin7, that these succeed each other in a natural, rhythmic, continuing and reliable order. )hen you devote yourself to 2ature.s )ay 6/ao7 all goes $ell. )hen you attend to your breathing, you tend to take deeper breath and you also gradually prolong it, and, in the process 8uiets your fluttering mental activities as the mind harmoni?es itself $ith the slo$er, and slo$ing, rhythm of the breathing. By listening, you must focus your attention on the soundB thereby $ithdra$ing it from $hatever has been disturbing, e+citing and fatiguing the mind. *f all the $ays for seeking rela+ation, none can be more harmless than this. 2o outside help, no drugs, no devices, no special skills, no muscular effort, no training period, no involved instruction are needed for successful use. &t can be used anytime, any$here, by anyone $ho has a fe$ moments to spare. :nfortunately, most of those $ho begin to try out this /aoist techni8ue $ill give up too soon and drift into the conclusion that their e+periment $as a failure. !o$ long does one have to listen to the breathing- )hy not as long as he feels fatigue- &f the method is to be effective, you must persist until you feel the effects. %eep listening until "you finally do not hear it." 'isten to your breathing $ith undivided attention until you do not hear it any more. )hen you have persisted $ith patience until this happens, your an+ieties should be considerably lessened. /here is nothing, of course to prevent you from arousing them again, $hen you turn your attention back to their initiating ob(ects, persons or activities. But one $ho has pacified himself $ith such a rela+ing pause should have a bit more reserve energy to cope $ith his task. /he traditional /aoist seeks self-containmentB this techni8ue re8uires nothing more than opportunity and $ill to escape from the demands

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made upon self by e+ternals, and ability and $ill to listen to one.s o$n self-made sounds until they can be heard no more. )hether one then sleeps or finds his attention occupied by other things, the surrendering of his attentiveness to the sounds of his breathing has occurred $ithout further mental disturbance. 4hang said merely, "'isten to your breathing. /ill finally you do not hear." /his intuitively clear, commonsense advice can only be distorted by comple+ elaboration. 4hang demonstrated $ith a slo$ breathing cycle and $ith a manner in $hich an enveloping 8uiescence $as intuitively sensed. *ne $ho cannot grasp $hat is simple can hardly e+pect to comprehend the same $hen it has been made comple+.