Anatomy Of Hatha Yoga

adding a thoracic component to diaphragmatic breathing, which meai that you are activating the external intercostal muscles concentricall especially toward the end of inhalation. You will also be pressing moi insistently with the abdominal muscles to lengthen the exhalation. And you cany this to an extreme, going slowly, you will finally approach breathii your vital capacity with each cycle of exhalation and inhalation. This is tl complete breath, our next topic.

the complete breath

The complete breath is one of the simplest and yet most rewarding of . the yoga breathing exercises. To begin, breathe in and out a few tim normally and then exhale as much as possible, all the way down to yo> residual volume. Then for the complete breath inhale as much as possibl which will be your vital capacity (fig. 2.26). Continue by exhaling and inhalit ; your vital capacity as many times as you want.

This is a lot of ventilation even if you breathe slowly. If you inhale ai I exhale your vital capacity three times in one minute, your minute ventil tion will be 14,400 ml per minute (4,800 ml per breath times three breat1 * per minute), and your alveolar ventilation will be 13,950 ml per minu (4,650 ml times 3 breaths per minute). After just six such breaths yc blood gases will have shifted perceptibly—arterial oxygen will have mov' -1 from perhaps 100 mm Hg to 120 mm Hg and arterial carbon dioxide fro 1 perhaps 46 mm Hg to 35 mm Hg (fig. 2.27). For this reason the compl« breath is both cleansing and energizing, but if you do it slowly and even it will also produce a sense of calm and stability.

You can practice the complete breath when you are sitting, standing, r lying down, but it is most commonly done in a supine position with t t inhalation

Figure 2.26. The complete breath, or inhalation and exhalation of the vital capacity. The halftone shows a profile of the fullest possible exhalation, and the dotted outline shows the fullest possible subsequent inhalation.


J. HREAltONC 12y hands stretched overhead, usually at the end of a class or at the end of a series of sun salutations. Most instructors will suggest filling the lungs from below—expanding the lower, then the middle, and finally the upper parts of the lungs.

A common and less ext reme variation of the complete breath is to simply inhale and exhale your inspiratory capacity instead of your vital capacity, and unless the instructor specifically asks you to exhale as much as you possibly can before starting the complete breath, inhaling and exhaling the inspiratory capacity is what most people will do naturally.

[Technical note: In addition to the proven anti-aging effects of a calorie-restricted and high-nutrition diet in experimental animals, the ability to quickly inhale a commodious vital capacity appears to be one of the most reliable predictors of longevity in humans. Whether this argues for the principle of trying to increase your inspiratory and vital capacity is not so certain, but it certainly can't hurt anyone who is in good enough health to do the postures. In chapter 3, we'll concentrate on exercises that focus on exhalation rather than inhalation—increasing your vital capacity by developing the ability to exhale your full expiratory reserve volume and minimize your residual volume.]

A Guide To Practice Yoga

A Guide To Practice Yoga

Discover How to Practice Yoga! Now you can use a practical stepbystep guide to learn Yoga techniques. Including the Practices and Exercises of Concentration, both Objective and Subjective, and Active and Passive Mentation, an Elucidation of Maya, Guru Worship, and the Worship of the Terrible, also the Mystery of Will-Force.

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