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How To Do The Yoga Breathing Exercises (Part 1)

Friends, now that we have gone over the Yogic Abdominal Exercises, the next steps in the Sivananda Style of Yoga are the Breathing Exercises also known in Yoga Circles as “pranayama”.


Before delving any further into the Breathing Exercises, will discuss the next topic titled below.

How to Breathe Properly:

If you really want a great illustration on this, observe an infant. They breathe diaphragmatically and naturally. In other words they don’t use their shoulders or squeeze their stomachs (as some vocal coaches will tell you, which by the way, the world renowned vocal coach of the stars, Mr. Seth Riggs, said in his book to be incorrect)

Considering the man coached Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Natalie Cole, Luther Vandross… He can’t be wrong!).

Truthfully, the better you are able to perform Sun Salutations the better and quicker your breathing is corrected, so concentrate on them intensely.

I will outline various tests to show you the different forms of breathing and then how to combine all to get the most in your inhalation.

Yoga gives first attention to the physical body, which is the vehicle of the soul’s existence and activity. Purity of the mind is not possible without purity of the body which may be attainable via a mucus-less diet, asanas (or positive exercises) and breath control pranayama.

Pranayama is one of the most important practices in all forms of yoga. In its practice, one is able to control the nervous system and thereby gain gradual control over vital energy and the mind. To breathe means to live and to live means to breathe! From the first cry of the infant to the last gasp of a dying man, they are nothing but a series of breaths.

Truthfully, the air you breath is more important than what you eat as you derive the bulk of your energy from that very breath of life.

Yogis of old have declared that the correct habit of breathing, with natural diet, would regenerate the race and the modern diseases of civilized man such as blood pressure, heart diseases, asthma, tuberculosis would only be medical names in the Dictionary!

In several institutions in the western hemisphere, correct breathing is being taught for the sake of physical health.


In order to acquire the most amount of air through minimal effort, do the following tests to see which is the most beneficial.

Test 1

Sit erect in Vajrasan (see Chapter 3 on asanas); cross legged or in a chair. Ensure that the spine is straight. Now relax the abs. Do not raise the chest or bend forward.

Now accompanying the sound of your metronome, set at 60 bpm, inhale while allowing the diaphragm to descend without raising the chest and/or shoulders. The aim should be for the dome of the abdomen to have a slight outward curve NOT, as some so-called vocal instructors insist, as in “Sing from your diaphragm!” Count how many seconds of inhalation you can do with this method and take mental notes!

Test 2

-Sit erect as in Test 1.

-Now defy test one’s objective and stiffing the diaphragm.

-Next expand the chest and take a long deep breath. Here the breathing will be done via the respiratory muscles connected with the ribs.

-Do you notice how much air you can actually inhale through this…not much right?

Test 3

-Again sit erect as in the previous positions.

-Contracting the abdomen take a deep breath by raising the shoulders and the collarbones, -Your test will show that you can inhale only but so much via this method.

Test #1 is known as Deep breathing

Test #2 is known as Chest breathing

Test #3 is known as High/Shallow Breathing

According to Yogic Literature though, a combination of the three is needed to perform breathing exercises. (Although from my experience a subtle involvement of the last 2 will be sufficient)

Naturally Deep breathing is the best and might only be mastered by conscious effort or via the Sun salutations and especially the Shoulder Stand and its counter poses.

(Although a proper diet tends to steer you in that route naturally!)

Now that we have gone over an overview of rediscovering how to breathe, something babies and virtually all animals know instinctively, in part 2 we shall be going over some actual Yogic Breathing Exercises.


Foras Aje

# # #

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
- Albert Einstein


This article is written by Foras Aje, an independent researcher and author of “Fitness: Inside and out”, which provides tips on how to improve and maintain your health using all natural methods. For more information on these guidelines:



One Response to “How To Do The Yoga Breathing Exercises (Part 1)”

  1. Javier says:

    shorter@stoves.hannibal” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info….

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