Conscientious application of these two terms can elevate your normal breathing to “Yogic Breathing”
One would think ‘Deep’ & ‘Slow’ are synonymous, especially in connection with breathing. I too was under the same impression until I went beyond the face value of these words and felt the application, personally, in the realm of breathing. Deeper understanding of these two words and emulating in your daily life immediately uplifts you onto the path of spiritual journey. Your connection with ‘Self’ begins to feel more pronounced.
For years, I have heard and used these two terms as they are the most commonly used terms in traditional yoga practice. But, how many of us have really felt the essence of these two words? I am sure not many. Otherwise, we would have had a much healthier and evolved population.
“Life and breath are intimately connected”
Many of us have turned into shallow breathers without even being aware of this transition.
In fact, novices of yoga stare with confusion whether the abdomen should go ‘In’ or ‘Out’ during exhalation and inhalation when instructed to respire fully. In fact, left on their own, they are mostly doing it wrong. So forget full breathing, breathing right itself is a challenge for many.
With Shallow Breathing, which is also quick / rapid in nature, we end up compromising on the volume of air. We inhale small volume of air and exhale small volume of air, working only with the upper lungs and not optimizing its capacity to the fullest.
Result – accumulation of germs in the lower lobes of lungs, under nourishing the body & the mind and holding onto inane thoughts and tensions which results in rigidity in your muscles & joints.
Deep – ‘Extending far down from the top or surface’
In simpler words, connecting with the source of your being. Deep respiration translates into full breathing:
- You draw in more volume of air and throw out more volume of air
- You reach lower lobes of your lungs:
- where we have optimal exchange of oxygen & carbon dioxide
- Where the accumulated germs can be expelled
- Where lungs get a full massage and are allowed its full elasticity
- Where the breathing muscles are engaged to its fullest
- Where the abdomen is given a good massage and in turn, the system too eradicating lot of illness connected with it.
Where with each ‘Inhalation’, you lift ‘Yourself’ and with each exhalation, you release ‘Yourself’ of all the stress.
Slow – ‘Breathing at less than the regular speed’
Along with your deep breathing, when you conscientiously ‘slowdown’ the rate of breathing, you allow yourself enough time to ‘transfer optimal oxygen from the lungs to the blood and then transfer carbon dioxide from blood to the lungs for expulsion in the air.’ Slowing down allows sufficient time to optimize this exchange.
So, pause for a second and breath ‘Deep’ & ‘Slow’ to allow ‘maximum intake’ and to allow ‘optimal exchange’ of oxygen and carbon dioxide. You would automatically eliminate ailments like asthma, bronchitis, pulmonary tuberculosis and many others and can harmoniously proceed towards a fuller life.
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.