Yoga Breathing Practices

For increasing energy, strengthening cellular and immune function, for relieving stress and anxiety, useful as self -help for managing COVID19 and chronic disease and aiding continued health and wellbeing.

General Notes:

It is best to practice regularly at the same time each day as this will strengthen will-power and increase the benefits. Practice on an empty stomach. Make sure you are comfortable and warm. Drink plenty of water as initially there may a reduction in urine and slight constipation this will settle if more water is taken.

Those with any serious underlying health conditions should just practice Abdominal Breathing.

Abdominal Breathing

Benefits:

To encourage full utilisation of the lungs and stimulation of lymphatic drainage in the lungs. The main complication of COVID19 is the build-up of mucous in the lungs that inhibits breathing. To encourage relaxation and grounding and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, the emotion of fear creates fight and flight/activation of the sympathetic nervous system which inhibits the immune system function.

This is practised by enhancing the action of the diaphragm and minimising the action of the ribcage. This is achieved by conscious expansion of the abdomen, the area just around and beneath the naval. As you expand the abdomen on the inhalation the diaphragm moves down and the abdominal contents are moved downwards and outwards. During exhalation the diaphragm moves upwards and the abdomen inwards. Movement of the diaphragm signifies that the lower lobes of the lungs are being utilised. The proper use of the diaphragm causes equal expansion of the alveoli, improves lymphatic drainage from the basal part of the lungs, massages the liver, stomach, intestines and other organs that lie immediately beneath it, exerts a positive effect on the cardiac functions and coronary supply and improves oxygenation of the blood and circulation. Abdominal Breathing is the most natural and efficient way to breathe. Slowing the rate of breathing down, we slow the heart rate and bring the body and mind out of the fight and flight state, from sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system functioning. We move very quickly from being in a fear state to a calm and relaxed state and this is crucial for the efficient functioning of the immune system. Once correct breathing is restored there is great improvement in physical and mental wellbeing.

Instructions:

Lie on the floor or sit upright in a chair. Close the eyes if you feel comfortable. Relax the body.

Place right hand on the abdomen and left hand on the chest/heart. Observe natural breathing flow.

Feel as though you are drawing the breath in and out of the navel. Feel the right hand move up as you breathe in, the navel will move to its highest point, and down as you breathe out, the navel will move to its lowest point. Left hand is still. Keep the abdomen relaxed don’t force the movement.

The chest and shoulders are completely still. Continue breathing slowly and deeply.

Now inhale expanding the abdomen as much as is completely possible, without expanding the ribcage or chest.

Exhale let the abdomen relax completely down, the abdomen will be gently contracted and the navel compressed towards the spine.

Continue for as long as is comfortable then stop any effort and relax completely and watch again the natural spontaneous breathing pattern. Be aware of the environment and slowly open the eyes

Energetic Practice:

Feel yourself breathing and absorbing light energy into the abdomen and organs in the area and that this energy moves into every cell of your body to energise and strengthen especially your immune system. The exhalation naturally helps the energetic body, the physical body and mind to relax deeply and let go and release toxins, feel and command yourself release all energetic and physical toxins.

Bhramari should not be practiced with any serious ear infection. Practice slowly. If you have never done any breathing practices before start with Abdominal breathing, then move when you feel comfortable.

Bhramari:

Benefits:

This practice helps relieve stress and cerebral tension, so alleviating anxiety, anger and insomnia. It induces a deeply relaxed state by harmonising the mind and directing awareness inwards. The vibration of the humming sound creates a soothing effect on the mind and nervous system. It stimulates the Vagus Nerve promoting parasympathetic nervous system function and therefore stronger immune function, when the body and mind is anxious it is in fight and flight or sympathetic nervous system function which suppresses the function of the immune system fundamental to the regulation of microbe and viral expression. It aids the healing of any sinus issues.

Nasal Nitric Oxide is known to be increased 15- to 20-fold by humming compared with quiet exhalation. Nitric Oxide is known to be broadly antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial i.e. antimicrobial. There are published medical papers in www.PubMed.gov. (Eby GA. Strong humming for one hour daily to terminate chronic rhinosinusitis, a microbe condition, in four days: a case report and hypothesis for action by stimulation of endogenous nasal nitric oxide production.  Med Hypotheses. 2006;66(4):851–854. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2005.11.035 )

 

Instructions:

Sit upright in a chair. This should not be performed lying down. Close the eyes if you feel comfortable. Relax the body.

Lips remain gently closed and teeth slightly separate throughout the practice to allow sound vibrations to be felt and heard more distinctly. Bring the hands to the ears with the elbows out above the shoulders. Press the middle or index finger on the flaps of the ears to close the ears. Bring awareness to the centre of the head, keep the body still.

Inhale through the nose slowly.

Exhale very slowly and with control while making a deep, steady, even and continuous humming sound like that of a bee. The sound should be soft and mellow, making the front of the skull reverberate. At the end of exhalation the hands can be kept steady or returned to the knees and then released again for the next round. Practice as many rounds as is comfortable without straining then stop, bring the hands down, relax completely and watch again the natural spontaneous breathing pattern. Be aware of the environment and slowly open the eyes.

If this practice is difficult then to get the benefit of increased Nitric Oxide you can simply hum as you go about your daily life!

Energetic Practice:

Inhalation involves not only inhalation of air but also energy as according to quantum physics the foundation of the universe is energetic, the space around us is waves of energy moving faster or slower in resonance to create objects that are perceived by the energetic functioning of our senses or not! Know that as you inhale you are also inhaling subtle energy that also is needed by our energetic body. Bioenergetics is the scientific study of the exchange of energy between organisms and the environment, photosynthesis by plants is a good example, and it is now scientifically researched that humans also absorb energy and need this for optimum functioning which is why we all feel better in the sunshine. Feel yourself breathing and absorbing light energy into the body and that this energy moves into every cell of your body to energise and strengthen your brain, nervous system and immune system. The exhalation naturally helps the energetic body, the physical body and mind to relax deeply and let go and release toxins, feel and command yourself release all energetic and physical toxins.

 

Thoracic Breathing

Benefits:

To encourage full utilisation of the middle lobes of the lungs. Thoracic breathing expends more energy than Abdominal breathing for the same quantity of air exchange. It is more associated with physical exercise but also stress and tension. We tend to shallow breath from the chest area when we are not relaxed especially if we are anxious. The tendency is to continue with this type of breathing instead of abdominal breathing long after the stressful situation has passed and especially if we are feeling stressed in an ongoing situation as for example the current situation. However, when combined with Abdominal breathing it helps the body to obtain more oxygen. Oxygen is a powerful antimicrobe as well as being essential for all body functions including energy production and immune function needed to regulate COVID19.

Instructions:

Lie on the floor or sit upright in a chair. Close the eyes if you feel comfortable. Relax the body.

Focus on the natural spontaneous breath in the sides of the chest. Then slowly inhale by expanding the ribcage. Feel the movement of the ribcage upwards and outwards and feel this drawing air and energy into the lungs. Expand the ribcage as fully as possible.

Exhale by relaxing the chest muscles. Feel the ribcage contracting and forcing air out of the lungs.

Continue breathing slowly and deeply in the chest with complete awareness. Do not use the diaphragm continue for as long as you feel comfortable pausing slightly after each inhalation and exhalation. Then stop any effort and again watch the natural spontaneous breathing pattern. Be aware of the environment and slowly open the eyes.

Energetic Practice:

Feel yourself breathing and absorbing light energy into the chest, lungs and organs in the area and that this energy moves into every cell of your body to energise and strengthen especially your immune system. The exhalation naturally helps the energetic body, the physical body and mind to relax deeply and let go and release toxins, feel and command yourself release all energetic and physical toxins.

Clavicular Breathing

Benefits:

Clavicular Breathing is the final stage of total ribcage expansion. It occurs after thoracic inhalation is complete in order to bring more air into the lungs and energy into the throat and thyroid. The upper ribs and collar bone are pulled upwards by the muscles of the neck, throat and sternum. The upper lobes of the lungs are ventilated. In daily life this only occurs under conditions of extreme exertion or when having a disease that obstructs the airways such as asthma.

Instructions:

Lie on the floor or sit upright in a chair. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable. Relax the body.

Focus on the natural spontaneous breath in the sides of the chest. Perform thoracic breathing for a few minutes then when the rib cage is fully expanded inhale a little more until expansion is felt in the upper portion of the lungs around the base of the neck. The shoulders and collar bone should also move up slightly. This will take some effort.

Exhale slowly, first release the lower neck and upper chest, then relax the rest of the ribcage completely.

Continue for a few minutes. Observe the effect of this type of breath. Stop any effort, relax completely and watch again the natural spontaneous breathing pattern. Be aware of the environment and slowly open the eyes.

Energetic Practice:

Feel yourself breathing and absorbing light energy into the throat and other organs in the area and that this energy moves into every cell of your body to energise and strengthen especially your immune system. The exhalation naturally helps the energetic body, the physical body and mind to relax deeply and let go and release toxins, feel and command yourself release all energetic and physical toxins.

Yogic Breathing

Benefits:

It is a combination of the previous three techniques. So adds the benefit of each. It is used to maximise inhalation and exhalation. Its purpose is to gain control of the breath, correcting poor breathing habits so that deeper breathing becomes automatic and natural. It is not practiced all the time. Deeper breath into the lungs will increase the uptake of more oxygen and therefore increase all energy production in the cells and all body functions including immune system function, it also increases immune function and lymphatic drainage from the lungs. Also microbes such as viruses are anaerobic in their metabolism so introducing more oxygen will help prevent their functioning, especially in the lungs. Deeper exhalation also removes more toxins from the lungs and body. It is also extremely useful in situations of high stress or anger as it will slow heart rate and bring the body from Sympathetic to Parasympathetic Nervous system function which will reactivate immune system function. It is a combination of Abdominal, Thoracic and Clavicular Breathing. Starting with Abdominal, then Thoracic, then Clavicular on inhalation. On exhalation start with Clavicular, then Thoracic, then end with Abdominal complete relaxation.

Instructions:

Lie on the floor or sit upright in a chair. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable. Relax the body.

Inhale, slowly expanding the abdomen slowly and fully breathing deeply with little sound. Feel the air reaching into the bottom of the lungs. Then expand the chest outwards and upward, Thoracic breathing. When the ribcage is fully expanded inhale a little more until expansion is felt in the very upper part of the lungs at the base of the neck. Feel the air filling the upper lobes of the lungs. This completes one inhalation. It should be one continuous movement like a wave up from the abdomen to the chest to the throat without unnecessary strain.

Exhale, first relax the lower neck and upper chest, Clavicular, then allow the ribcage and chest to contract downwards and inwards. The diaphragm will push upwards and towards the chest, feel the lungs empty as much as possible by drawing or pulling the abdominal wall as near as possible to the spine. This should be felt as a wave moving down through the body from the throat to the chest to the abdomen.

The main requirement in all breathing practices is that respiration is comfortable and relaxed as is the body. Once awareness and control of the breathing practice is established, the clavicular breathing is dropped and yogic breathing becomes a combination of abdominal and thoracic breathing which should be natural and not forced and eventually established as an automatic way of breathing more deeply at all times.

Energetic Practice:

Feel yourself breathing and absorbing light energy into the navel, abdomen, chest, lungs and other organs in these areas and that this energy moves into every cell of your body to energise and strengthen especially your immune system. The exhalation naturally helps the energetic body, the physical body and mind to relax deeply and let go and release toxins, feel and command yourself release all energetic and physical toxins

By Emma Tyson, copywrite 2020

Emma is a local yoga practioner and friend of the clinic.  She is a qualified and insured Complementary Medical Practitioner, and has been practising Complementary Medicine for over 30 years using a variety of techniques including Energy Medicine/Healing/Yoga Therapy/Counselling.  She has established many self- healing and development courses in local communities, including running her own Healing and Yoga Centre for 7 years in Goa, India.

Disclaimer: The information is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you have a medical concern you must consult with your Doctor or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this educational matter or linked materials. If you have an emergency call your Doctor or emergency services immediately.

Liability: On practising the above you accept full responsibility for your health and safety and participate and practice any practices/techniques shown or advised with absolute care and due diligence being responsible for any effect on your body and mind.  I understand and agree that Emma Tyson does not make any claims whatsoever, expressed or implied, regarding effects or outcomes of the therapies or practices provided and shall not be liable in any way for any outcome of my practice of them whatsoever.