As babies we breathed full, complete breaths, then somewhere along the way we lost track of this breath. In the yin yoga practice the full complete breath is a marvelous tool that your attention travels on. Learn how you can find your way back to the full complete breath.
How to practice this breathing technique
When you inhale:
- Notice the breath in the chest making the side ribs expand and the top corners of the chest lift up.
- Feel the floating ribs in the back expand and press down toward the floor, giving you the sense that there is a tiny flotation cushion underneath your middle back.
- Notice the belly expand slightly.
When you exhale:
- Feel the movement begin just below the navel as the belly draws up and inward.
- Feel the sides of your rib cage draw inward towards the center of the spine.
- Let the shoulder blades softly slide downward on your back.
- Allow the rib cage to settle back down to its starting position.
- Continue feeling the subtle movements of a full, complete inhale and a full, complete exhale.
As we inhale, the diaphragm lowers in order for the lungs to expand. The muscles in between the ribs, called intercostals, expand and lift the ribcage, and the entire circumference of the abdomen expands. Then on an exhale, the abdomen relaxes, the belly draws in, and the diaphragm releases back up into the chest as a second set of intercostal muscles contracts and returns the rib cage to its starting position.
Observing the interaction of our rib cage and diaphragm, we are reminded of an umbrella. The “umbrella” opens on inhale and closes on exhale. Being conscious of full, complete breathing is our aim while we are practicing yoga.
Practice the full complete breath
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