Yoga breathing exercises sharpen your body and mind.
Now that you've started on the path of training your breath, you can continue on with these advanced yoga breathing exercises. All these breathing exercises are built on the Yogi Complete Breath, so if you haven’t already been practicing your belly breathing and your Yogi Complete Breath, please go back to those pages now.
Squats are a fundamental exercise in weight training.
If you have difficulty doing squats, you'll want to use the Wall Squats to correct your form. Squats are ubiquitous in physical fitness. You'll see people doing them everywhere; in gyms, in boot camps and when warming up for other exercises. Any trainer worth their salt will use squats regularly.
Now that you’ve strengthened your diaphragmatic breathing, it’s time for the Yoga Complete Breath. (You have been practicing diaphragmatic breathing, right???) The belly breathing exercise is the beginning. Now we’ll add in the rest of the lung capacity.
If your lungs have been compromised through injury or illness, please consult your physician before beginning any focused breath work.
The three parts of a complete breath
There are three parts of a Yoga Complete Breath. Unless you specifically develop all three aspects in the correct order, you are most likely over-emphasizing one of the aspects to the detriment of optimal breathing mechanics.
First is low breathing, which was covered in diaphragmatic breathing.
The second aspect is middle breathing. This involves widening and slightly lifting the rib cage to fill the middle of the lungs. This part of the breathing cycle uses the internal intercostal muscles, the ones between the ribs.
The third portion is high breathing. The ribs, collarbones and shoulder blades are raised. This involves the use of neck and shoulder muscles: the SCM (sternocleidomastoid), the scalenes and the upper trapezius.
Any of the three of these phases of this deep breathing exercise can be used independently for inhalation but there are drawbacks to using any of these by themselves. Of the three, low breathing is the best, with the only drawback being that the lungs are not completely filled. Middle breathing is limited in that the intercostal muscles cannot create enough space to completely fill the lungs.
Of the three portions, high breathing has the most drawbacks. Like the others, it is incomplete. However it has the additional negative that the primary muscles used for this portion of the breath are usually too tight in people anyway, especially in our current, computer oriented culture. Those three muscles being too tight is a primary cause of forward head posture. That in turn can lead to nerve entrapment through the neck bones and the scalenes themselves, can lead to tension headaches from shortened and tight sub-occipital muscles and a rounded upper back which will make deep breathing exercises even more difficult. Oh, and bad posture doesn’t look so good!
Enough talk! It’s time to breathe.
The complete breath is a 3 part inhalation, using the full musculature of the breathing apparatus, in the correct, natural order. It combines all three methods of breathing (high, medium and low) in the right order to use the full capacity of the lungs.
Inhale through the nose, filling the lower portion of your lungs by engaging the diaphragm. The belly will extend as you begin the inhale.
The second motion is the widening of the rib cage to fill the middle lungs. This widening is in all directions.
The final motion of the inhale is a light raising of the shoulders and collar bones in order to fill the upper lobe.
During the 3rd part of the inhale, the abdomen will draw in slightly to support the lifting of the rib cage and gently forces a little more air into the uppermost reaches of the lungs.
Retain the breath for a few seconds.
The exhale moves in the same direction. Keeping the chest in it’s elevated position, draw in the abdomen, then narrow the rib cage, and finally lower the chest and shoulders.
While the instruction for the complete breath appear to be 3 distinct motions the breath is intended to happen in a smooth, seamless manner. At first, breaking it down into three parts and then putting them together can help teach the breathing musculature their individual parts. But then you want to smoothly integrate the three parts.
The Wall Stand Exercise is a simple and effective stretch.
With the majority of people having desk jobs sitting in front of a computer, common avoidable postural distortions like Forward Head Posture and Upper Crossed Syndrome have become almost the norm. If you're able to keep your focus on proper posture from a young age and throughout your life
Diaphragmatic breathing is the root of all healthy breathing.
Without it, all your activities, the whole of your life, is built upon a shallow and weak foundation. That sounds like a pretty bold statement and it is… and it’s also true. Diaphragmatic breathing is the engine of your inhale and a strong inhale is going to properly feed your body.
Your spine is the root & center of your body. Are you really using it?
One of the things you'll hear every GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® instructor speak about is that GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® training moves all your joints through all their ranges of motion. This is especially important for the spine. In our modern world of long commutes and sitting at computers