Breathing Correctly – the full Yogic breathing

We know that lungs are our respiratory organ. But what is also important to realize is that there are a number of muscles associated with respiration. Some muscles that we use, but do not always recognize as part of the respiration process are:

  1. Diaphragm – the muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavity
  2. Intercostal muscle – the muscles between the ribs
  3. Muscles around the clavicles – near the collar bone and neck

Incidentally, there are three types of breathing that together comprise the Full Yogic Breathing; and they use the above three muscles.

  1. The Diaphragm is used in Abdominal breathing or “Downward” breathing
  2. The Intercostal muscles are used in Thoracic or Chest or “Horizontal” breathing
  3. The Clavicular region muscles are used in Clavicular or Shoulder or “Vertical” breathing

So now we are going to learn these three breathing techniques.


Abdominal or “Downward” breathing

Here, with inhalation you bulge out your abdomen and with exhalation draw it in. This practice involves movement of diaphragm up and down and that is how lower lobes of lungs expand and contract. This breathing makes the lower part of lungs more efficient and functional.


Thoracic or Chest or “Horizontal” breathing

Here, with inhalation we expand our chest in outward and forward direction and with exhalation it comes back to resting position. In other words, we can call it horizontal breathing because the rib cage and intercostal muscles have to expand horizontally. This particular breathing makes the middle lobe of lungs more functional. Also, this is the most common type of breathing that we generally use.


Clavicular or Shoulder or “Vertical” breathing

Here, with inhalation we need to raise our shoulder and collar bone upward and slightly backward. With exhalation the shoulder drops down to its normal resting position. In this breathing pattern we make more space for the upper lobes of the lungs to expand.

Once we practice these three types of isolation practice, we should proceed to Full Yogic breathing or Pranayamic breathing.


Full Yogic breathing

During inhalation try to combine all three breathing together sequentially. That means with inhalation bulge up your abdomen, expand your chest, lift you shoulder up and with exhalation relax every part in the same sequence.

The prolonged practice of Full Yogic Breathing leads to increased lung capacity and a healthier life. So here is hoping that you take some time to practice this every day.

Remember – it may seem deceptively simple, but the practice may be quite unfamiliar at first. With patience, you can master it. You can consult a qualified Yoga consultant or guide to help you begin.

Wish you good health!

Breathing Correctly – the full Yogic breathing