The Full Yogic Breath

A pregnant friend posted on Facebook recently that she was looking to deal with anxiety through walking.  I tried to find a quick post about the full yogic breath to send her without any luck.  So here it is in a few easy steps.  Detailed info on benefits at the end of the instruction.

  1. Sit or lie in a comfortable position.
  2. Place your hand on your abdomen and inhale deeply into your diaphragm (you should feel your tummy stick out as you inhale). 
  3. Continue to inhale into your lungs feeling your chest expanding from the bottom to the top (all the way to your clavicles / collar bones)
  4. Hold the breath for a couple of seconds.
  5. Exhale, first from the chest, then the diaphragm.
  6. Repeat
This can be done for as short as a minute to calm your nerves or as long as an hour during meditation.

Extra notes
  • Relax your body, if you are sitting focus on being comfortable and opening the chest and abdomen rather than having a perfectly erect spine.
  • Try to inhale for a count of 6 seconds and exhale for a count of 8 seconds.  It may take some time to build up this capacity so don't worry if your breathing is shorter, just remember that slow rhythmic breathing will steady your nervous system.

Benefits of the full yogic breath:
  • Feeds your brain and body with oxygen!
  • Releases acute and chronic muscular tensions around the heart and digestive organs.
  • Helps sufferers of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema to overcome the fear of shortness of breath. It actually increases lung capacity.
  • Encourages proper nervous stimulus to the cardio-vascular system
  • Dramatically reduces emotional and nervous anxiety
  • Improves detoxification through increased exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen
  • Amplifies the auto immune system by increased distribution of energy to the endocrine system
  • Calms the mind and integrates the mental / physical balance.