What is Full Yogic breath?
Full Yogic breath is a breathing technique which is part of an overall yoga practice. This Pranayama (breathing technique) is at the foundation of many others techniques, making this a very good place to start for those new to yoga and a very good reminder for those with an advanced practice.
Full Yogic breath can also be referred to as the three stages of breath. This is because the breath travels up and fill the three areas of the torso, the abdomen (tummy), the chest and the collar-bone and shoulder region. Full yogic breath can be very powerful when practiced regally for a minimum of 5 minutes with the idea of increasing practice time. Practitioners of this Pranayama technique will be able to reduce their stress level, calm the mind and increase the feeling of presence. This is achieved though the increased oxygenation of the blood and by accessing the parasympathetic nervous system which governs the bodies natural rest and digest mechanism. Pretty amazing so how do you do it?
How to Practice
You have two options for practicing this breathing technique, you can sit in a meditation like position or lie down as if you were in shavasana. If you chose to sit, please make sure you are comfortable so that you won’t be disturbed by any aches or pain.
One you have found a comfortable position close your eyes and take a moment or two to settle in. I like to take a couple of deep breath here before starting this technique. When you are ready, close your mouth and make sure you are only breathing through the nose. Full yogic breath or three stage breath works on the idea of fulling the lungs to capacity. For this reason we must think of the torso having three sections, the tummy, chest and collar bones and the breath having to fill all three compartments.
When you are ready to start begin to inhale filling the tummy area first with breath. Once this areas is full, extend the breath into the chest area. When the chest cavity reaches its full capacity draw the breath all the way up until it reaches and surrounds the collar bones. At this point your lungs should be well and truly filled! The exhale is just as important. As you begin the exhale the air empties and the collar bones begin the fall, the chest slowly deflates and the tummy area contracts.
Continue breathing in this three stage way, inhaling and filling the tummy 1, chest 2 and collar bones 3 then exhaling collar bones 3, chest 2 and tummy 1. One round of Yogic breath is both an inhale and exhale so continue practicing several rounds. If it helps you to focus you can count this mentally to yourself reciting “1 2 3, 3, 2,1”.
When you have finished your practice end on an exhale. Please do not suddenly jump up when you are done. Take the time to let the breath return to its usual rhythm. When your breath has regulated itself, then is a good time to take a moment for a brief awareness phase. Feel what is going on in your body and mind after your Pranayama practice. Do you feel more awake, relaxed, refreshed and aware? Has the practiced affected your mood or overall physical and mental wellbeing? If the answer is yes then great but if you do not feel the effects that is also okay. As long as you are aware of what is going on, all is good. It may take a few session for you to start feeling the benefit or you may feel them straight away, it doesn’t matter.
How long should you practice for?
As a beginner try not to be too concerned with how long you practice. It’s a good idea to start small and not give yourself too much pressure. Set an alarm clock for 5 minutes to begin with. The alarm allows you to focus solely on breathing without worrying about how long you have been practicing for. As you become more familiar with this technique you can increase the time to 10 and then 15 minutes.
Enjoy this simple but effect breathing technique and let us know how you got on and remember to check back with us for more Pranayama techniques.