Yogic breathing expands our lung capacity inviting a healthier body
Breath is the prana or the life force. As long as we have breath, we are alive.
In general as we go around our daily life, many of us use less than 30% capacity of our lungs and no wonder we feel tired and lethargic. With a sound yoga practice we are able to increase our lung capacity immensely with the help of simple postures, movements and even more so through controlled breathing techniques or pranayama practices.
It is very important that we learn to breathe correctly.
In our yoga classes students are often in doubt about when to inhale and when to exhale. We also see students incorrectly moving the belly in during inhale and moving out during exhale.
With inhalation we breathe oxygen into our body and through exhalation we release carbon dioxide out. During inhalation, the diaphragm (serving as buffer between the organs in the abdomen and the organs in the chest cavity) contracts or moves down to bring air in and relaxes or moves up during exhalation pushing air out. During shallow breathing, the diaphragm stays in a raised position.
During normal breathing the lungs expand as we inhale and contract as we exhale.
During belly breathing, also called diaphragm breathing, we use our diaphragm to push as much air out of the lungs as possible during exhalation so that we can completely fill our lungs with more oxygen as we breathe in. Our belly pushes out during inhale and moves in towards the spine during exhale. The chest stays more or less still. We do belly breathing when we want to breathe in and out deeply.
Confusion also exists around how to breathe when we crunch our belly in the various yoga asanas. We are still breathing just not through expansion of our belly! ~ Umang Goel