Constricted Thoracic Breathing

Constricted thoracic breathing (fig. 2.29b) is typically shallow, rapid, and irregular. It is commonly associated with stress and tension, and our main interest in analyzing it is to understand why it is inadvisable to breathe that way habitually. Whenever someone criticizes chest breathing, this is what they are talking about.

To help students understand why constricted thoracic breathing is undesirable, ask them to lie in the corpse posture (figs. 1.14 and 10.2), placing the left hand on the abdomen and the right hand on the chest. First °f all they should concentrate on moving only the front surface of the abdomen when they breathe; the right hand should be stationary and the 'eft hand should rise toward the ceiling during inhalation and come back

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down during exhalation. Ask them to notice that this is natural and comfortable. Then, to do thoracic breathing, ask them to breathe so that the left hand is stationary and the right hand is lifted toward the ceiling This feels so unnatural, at least in the supine position, that many student in a beginning class won't be able to do it. You will probably have to demon strate and explain that you are not teaching a relaxed or empowered yogi( breathing practice; you simply want students to experience this form c thoracic breathing so they can contrast it with other options.

In thoracic breathing the hand on the abdomen is stationary becausi rigid abdominal muscles prevent the dome of the diaphragm from movinj and the only way you can inhale is to lift and expand the upper part of th chest. This is not a relaxing breathing pattern, and some people will kno in advance that the exercise will be stressful—don't insist that eveiyor do it.

When you breathe thoracically while standing (fig. 2.16), you can feel tl external intercostal muscles expand the rib cage, especially during a det-inhalation, and you can feel them resist its tendency to get smaller durii

Figure 2.16. Thoracic breathing. The dotted line reveals the profile for a moderately empowered thoracic inhalation, with the sternum lifted up and out in accordance with the "pump-handle" analogy. the abdomen and respiratory diaphragm remain relatively fixed in position, and the head is pulled to the rear. The halftone profiles a normal exhalation.

Figure 2.16. Thoracic breathing. The dotted line reveals the profile for a moderately empowered thoracic inhalation, with the sternum lifted up and out in accordance with the "pump-handle" analogy. the abdomen and respiratory diaphragm remain relatively fixed in position, and the head is pulled to the rear. The halftone profiles a normal exhalation.

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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