Most people give little thought to their breathing. The ancient yogis, on the other hand, have spent countless lifetimes practicing and refining optimal breathing techniques. Their results led to an astounding conclusion – vibrant health, long life, mental clarity, and happiness are the fruits of effective breathing. As it turns out, the answer has been under our noses the whole time. The yogis call these breathing exercises ‘pranayama’, which means “regulation of the life force.” In fact, breathing is seen as so simple that most modern people will brush off these yoga breathing exercises as silly and won’t even try them. The benefits must be experienced to be understood. Do yourself a favor and breathe more deeply!
Let’s cut to the chase – this breathing technique is the one we all really need and want. It can be done anywhere, anytime.
The basic principle is to fill up our entire abdomen and chest with air, like a wave, from the bottom up, flooding our entire body with fresh life force. This internal process also stretches our spine, tones our internal organs, and increases circulation throughout the body.
Exhale everything completely, so your belly hollows out. After a brief pause, slowly inhale down into the deepest part of your belly*. Feel your belly expand outward. Once the belly is totally full, move your awareness to your lower back and sides, filling them with air next. Once they are full of air, move your awareness to your ribs, filling the mid-section of your abdomen and allowing the ribs to puff out. Lastly, fill the upper chest, all the way up to the collarbones, lifting the heart and coming into a tall posture as you relish a moment of complete fullness at the top of the breath. The whole inhale can be done in a few seconds, or stretched out to 15 seconds or more.
For the exhale, keep the posture tall and the chest lifted. First, allow the belly to empty and come in towards the spine, then empty the mid-torso, and finally empty the chest. Ideally, the exhale should be longer than the inhale, or at least of equal length.
A standard ratio is 2:1:2:1:
Or 10 count in, 5 hold, etc.