Three parts of the Yogic Breath.
When you sit in silence with your eyes closed and take awareness of your breathing, you could probably notice that, following the natural movement of the same, your body adapts in such a way as to accommodate and accommodate the movement in three parts, consequentially, as follows:
1. As you inhale, the lower belly relaxes and expands forward.
2. At the level of a second thicker layer, the ribs expand laterally.
3. The chest (under the bones of the clavicles) begins to rise.
Then, when you exhale, the belly returns to the inside, the ribs relax and the clavicles lower.
The three-part yogic breath is based on this natural process, formalising and slightly exaggerating the natural undulation of movement.
The goal, then, is not to impose the yogic breath into three parts from the outside, but rather to increase the degree to which this natural process expresses from within. By becoming aware of it, lie into the resent moment, we learn how to use it, adapt it and modulate it, based on the objectives you want to achieve in practice.
Dirama Swasham pranayama (the science of breathing techniques), allows us to maximise inhalation and exhalation, train primary respiratory muscles and accessories, correct lousy breathing habits and increase oxygen intake.
How to perform “three-part yogic breath.”
Start by taking a comfortable seat, as you would for meditation; sit comfortably in crossed legs, half lotus or lotus, with something under the buttocks so that the hips are higher than the knees, and you can maintain a correct posture and an elongated and integral spine.
Relax your hands on your thighs or knees, palms up or down, or doing some mudra.
Inhale deeply, focusing attention primarily on the lower abdomen, allowing it to expand completely.
Feel the breath that slowly rises, touches the bottom of the lungs and then expand it out into the thoracic cavity.
As the lungs fill and the ribs expand completely, feel the breath rise at that point just below the clavicles in the highest part of the lungs. Initially, it may seem like the point where you “can no longer expand”, but you slowly realise that you are purchasing centimetres, space and capacity.
Keep your body, including your shoulders and neck, as relaxed as possible.
During this process, make sure that the whole path of breath, from the stomach to the ribs up to the clavicles, is regular; focuses attention so as to make each phase conform to the previous one and feel it totally, while it blends perfectly with the next, as if a tide were moving through you.
Exhale slowly and while doing so, consciously release any tension that may have crept into your neck and shoulders during the inhalation phases. Remove the navel to the spine and feel the diaphragm contract and move upward. Perceive the ribs are floating inwards and downwards, and the chest, gently relax.
The breath should be pervaded by stillness, in all its phases.
An inhalation and an exhalation brought to completion; it is a full cycle of breathing.
The first approaches with pranayama, and in general at the beginning of the practice, the inhalation and the exhalation must have the same duration: however, once the base has stabilised. The moment in which one feels able to manage the phases, the ratio of the breath can change from 1: 1 to 1: 2 in which the exhalation reaches to belong up to twice the exhalation, or vice versa, according to the type of practice and goals of the practices.
(In time and familiarity, if necessary and skilful to the final goal of the practice, retentions could also appear, withholdings of breath after inhalation and / or exhalation, of different duration).
Duration of the practice
When you first approach the three parts of yogic breathing in the practice of pranayama, 5-10 breaths are enough. Little by little, however, it is possible to increase this practice to 10-15 minutes a day.
This basic but necessary technique can be performed at any time of the day and is particularly useful in situations where you desire to dissolve stress and calm the nervous system.
If you find not easy to breathe, initially approach this technique in a supine position. This puts your shoulders in direct contact with the floor, through which you can better feel the movement of the breath; the eyes closed and the body relaxed also help visualization and guide you towards a state of awareness in which it is initially more natural to be present to oneself, within one’s own body and the present moment.
Another strategy to direct your attention to the parts of the body you want to feel during the breath is to rest one hand on each section of the body involved in the specific phase. Start with a hand on your stomach. When the belly is full, move a hand in the ribcage. When the rib cage is full, move a hand over the chest. Perceive the ascending and descending phase of the breath, in every part of it.
The primary requirement in pranayama is that breathing is comfortable and relaxed, never forced. If at any time you feel swelling, slight nausea, try to perform the technique with less force, shorten the length of the breath or stop the practice itself.