Yogic Breath for Balance
Clear & Focus Your Mind & Relax Your Body
Generally speaking you have 2 lungs. The right has 3 lobes and the left has 2 lobes so the left lung can make room for your heart on the left side of your chest.
If you look at the image you can use your imagination to divide the lungs on either side into an upper dome, a middle section and a lower section.
This is important, as you can isolate each section to activate different components to your breath.
The Abdominal Breath
Today we will concentrate on the abdominal breath.
I am excited to be able to tell you about this, as there are so many benefits to this particular breath!!!
Read carefully before you practice as it will give you insight and open a doorway to a very precious aspect of your breathing. Consult your medical advisor before attempting if you have any doubts.
Start by sitting upright in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Knees hip width apart above the ankles and palms facing up while they rest on your thighs. Straighten & lengthen the spine creating space between your lower rib cage and pelvis allowing the tummy to move in & out as you breathe. Your chin is parallel to the floor, lengthening the back of the neck so there is no strain.
Place your right palm on your abdomen and feel what happens. As you breathe in your tummy expands & as you breathe out it relaxes back towards your spine. Continue to feel this with your hand for 5 breaths. Go slow. No rush. Focus.
Now, repeat this exercise taking a deeper breath expanding the tummy more with each in-breath & relaxing fully with each out-breath. Please do not strain, simply activate your abdominal muscles & as your tummy expands it is interesting what is happening internally.
You are drawing the breath down into the lower aspects of your lungs on either side. This opens the air sacs in the lower lobes of the lungs! This only happens in every day life when we exercise vigorously. Therefore, as we get older & less mobile we do not open these air sacs as regularly. This leaves us vulnerable to mucous in the lower lobes and to lung infections. If you have an elderly friend or relative teach them this breathing technique for lung health!
Also as you use this breath you are creating a gentle massage for the internal organs of your abdomen. This helps circulation and gives a feeling of wellbeing.
For your mind, as you focus on this breath your mind chatter quietens & your body becomes oxygenated helping you to become relaxed, focused & more awake. This is a great breath to use when your energy levels are waning. It is even better in fresh outdoor air.
When you become familiar with it, you do not have to put your hand on your abdomen or even sit down but take your time in familiarising yourself with this breath. It has many health benefits and if you are familiar with the energy systems of the body it can be used to activate the ‘tanden’, which is very important in the Japanese medical tradition & martial arts. For now the topic of ‘tanden’ is outside the scope of this particular discussion but there are many ‘hidden’ qualities to this breath. Keep practicing!!!