Breathing is an essential part of yoga. We begin with deep breaths, sync our breaths with the movements in Surya namaskar, take deeper breaths while holding our posture and focus on the breath in yoga nidra too!! Wow, thats a lot of breathing. Yoga uses “Diaphragmatic breathing” or commonly called “yogic breathing.” Colloquially its called “Belly Breath.”
What is Diaphragmatic breathing?
Diaphragmatic breathing or deep breathing, is breathing that is done by contracting the diaphragm, a muscle located horizontally between the thoracic cavity and abdominal cavity. Air enters the lungs and the chest rises and the belly expands during this type of breathing.
1) Just because the stomach rises, does not mean the stomach is being filled with air. As the diaphragm expands the belly expands.
2) A lot of people, ask why not use lungs which have been created for breathing. In chest breathing or thoracic breathing, we draw in the minimal breath into the lungs, without using the diaphragm. Thus, the lungs do not get a chance to draw in the optimal amount of oxygen.
Benefits of Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Relieves stress
Deep breathing helps in better relaxation. Diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which evokes the feeling of relaxation.
- Supplies more oxygen
This healthy breathing pattern also increases the oxygen delivery to the cells. It also stimulates the blood flow and enhances the nourishment of the brain and muscles.
- Improves our concentration
It is logical that if we decrease the stress levels, our minds get clearer and it is much easier to focus. If you practice meditation or visualization, always start with this breathing technique – it will calm the mind and evoke a positive feeling of connection between the mind and body.
- Increases our lung capacity
Most of us are used to shallow breathing, especially when we are under stress. When we consciously exercise the diaphragm, it can stretch further down towards the belly, which gives the lungs more space to expand. That is why professional singers, actors, speakers, athletes, even teachers practice this diaphragmatic breathing regularly in order it to become habitual. It gives them stability in their voices, expands the capacity of the lungs, which can supply them with some extra amount of air.
- Detoxifies our bodies
When we supply more oxygen to the cells, and stimulate the blood flow, we gently cleanse our body; and enhance the natural detoxing process of our organism.
- Balances our energy
This also works on deep energetic level. Deep belly breathing, if executed regularly, strengthens and purifies our energetic field, balances the chakras, and helps us overcome negative subconscious patterns.
Finally, I swear by Diaphragmatic breathing. I have used it myself. It is a good technique as it induces calming effects. And, overstime, it alters your personality for the better. It helps us in becoming more responsive (rather than reactive) and resilient in life.