Breathing, The Second Part of The Five Yoga Fundamentals Series

We can begin with the simple act of inhale, this is sucking air into our nostrils, and exhale, that’s blowing air out of our nostrils. Scientifically speaking, the breath is composed of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.

There is conscious breathing, which is the type we practice in Eastern Arts and meditation, and then there is unconscious breathing that is regulated by our brainstem and keeps us alive. Ideally, we train the unconscious breath to become a deep, “clean” conscious and then we do not have to work so hard to behold a restorative breath.

There are tremendous benefits to be gained by developing our deep breathing skills. Think of the deep breath as the nourishment for the entire self. Energizing the body with the breath helps the body become more alive. We can strengthen the body with sleep, nutritious food and breathing alone.

As we develop better breathing habits we increase our breath capacity and breathe strength. Deep breathing helps reduce stress by calming the nervous system, strengthens the circulatory system, increases lung capacity, lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health. Physically, we have more energy and are more relaxed when we practice regular deep breathing. With ALL those amazing benefits, I wonder why I didn’t start deep breathing earlier!

The result of better breathing on the mind is increased concentration, focus and clarity. We will delve further into these components in the next installment of this series, which is meditation.

Spiritually, when we nourish our bodies with our breath then our bodies relax and our minds open. The result is the beautiful rays of pure, white light that shine from our souls!

In Daoist breathing, we can heal our bodies channeling the breath to send the healing white light (breath energy) to our bodies to cleanse and nourish the self, internally and externally.
It just makes sense to spend time consciously breathing every day!

Here are a few breathing exercise to try every day:

Deep Breathing

A long, slow, deep breath that draws all the way into the belly and back and then slowly releases from there. Inhale is shorter than exhale: try inhaling for three seconds and exhaling for six seconds.

This is a great way to calm the nervous system!

Challenge yourself to just nine deep breaths every day, once accomplished that task; then try nine deep breaths morning, noon and night.

Eventually, you will be able to fill in the gaps to truly energize and calm the self.

Buddha Breathing Picture


Daoist Breathing , Qi (Chi) Energy Breath                                                           

Try sitting tall in lotus position or lying on your back, corpse pose, with your hands on your belly.

In the beginning, it is much easier to identify the deep breath if you lay on your back. A good way to cure insomnia is: corpse pose while counting the deep breaths until you drift off. If you count your breaths, you can’t think and this is usually the problem!

To begin the deep inhale: breathing in through the nostrils, imagine the breath as white light drawing down into the body from the nostril all the way to the root, right underneath the belly button. (The root is 3 inches underneath your belly button, 3 inches into the body.)

Once the breath is expanded into the root; then, exhale from the root to the crown (or nostrils.) This action of root breathing expands the belly and back and then contracts it.

This is the action of expanding & contracting your energy, or chi.

Training this breath will help you identify then build the life source, which is the root power. You can use this chi energy to heal and cleanse you and others.

Breath of Fire , Kundalini Breathing

Practice short, rapid breaths that take the energy into the diaphragm and then contract the abdomen to slightly force the exhale out of your nostrils.

Repeat in short increments until you get the strength, pace and endurance to sustain breath for longer periods.

Breath of fire seds bursts of oxygen to the whole body and nourishes the blood and strengthens the organs. Feel invigorated!

Alternate Nostril Breathing , Nadi Sodhana

Place your right index onto your third eye. Begin by placing the thumb on the right nostril, inhaling up the left nostril. Cover the left nostril with your middle finger and exhale out the right nostril.

Once there, alternate between lifting and lowering your thumb and middle finger until you perform nine rounds of breathing. Then you reverse the direction of the breath work for nine more rounds.

Thefresh oxygen revitalizes the mind and nervous system, activates the pituitary and thyroid glands and evens out the two hemispheres of the brain.



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  6. Ilchi Lee

    Just a thought about a few of the techniques you posted:

    The Deep breathing exercise really relaxes you and puts you in a mind-frame conducive for trying other breathing exercises. I practice this 10 times a day no matter what activity and it does work because it puts the body to where only the essentials apply: Breathe in – Breathe out.

    The Daoist Breathing Technique is good to do 2 hours before a meal and 2 hours after. It actually aids me in digestion because by practicing this exercise, you can feel your digestive system come alive as if a morsel of food was eaten. You can feel the churning of the stomach and the movements of the small instestine as the food you ate continues it’s path of absorption into the system before going to the large intestine. The healing ramification here increases when ill: It centers your body in such a way that it literally puts it in a stronger posture to aid in healing itself with the appropriate medications, herbs, or other natural remedies.

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