Accessory Muscles of Breath

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Straighten the lower back by contracting the erector spinae and quadratus lumborum. This draws the lower posterior ribcage downward.

Balance this action by gently contracting the rectus abdominus. This draws the lower anterior rib-cage downward and compresses the abdominal organs against the diaphragm, dynamizing its contraction and strengthening it.

3) Draw the shoulder blades together by contracting the rhomboids. This opens the front of the chest.

Maintain the contraction of the rhomboids and simultaneously contract the pectoralis minor and sternocleidomastoid. This lifts and opens the ribcage like a bellows.

Complete this process by pressing the hands down on the knees to fully open the chest (by contracting the latissi-mus dorsi).

Powerful Chest ProgressSternocleidomastoid Muscle YogaRecruitment Breathing Muscle


Access the breath's primal force when moving into postures. Gently contract the rectus abdominus, transversus abdominus and intercostal muscles during exhalation. Applying this type of contraction rhythmically connects the conscious and unconscious mind during movement.

Accessory Muscles For ExhalationAccessory Muscles The Buttocks


Breathing Muscles

Train the accessory breathing muscles so that they work synergistically to expand and contract the thorax during movement.

Awakening the accessory breathing muscles is an extremely powerful technique. Begin with very gentle contraction and progress slowly and with great care. Never force any yoga technique, especially breathing. Always proceed with caution under the guidance of an instructor.

Increase the lung volume during inhalation by contracting the accessory breathing muscles in various combinations. For example, combine the rhomboids with the pectoralis minor, or the rectus abdominus with the quadratus lumbo-rum (illustrated herein tadasana).

Expel the residual air in the lungs during exhalation by contacting the rectus abdominus, transversus abdominus and intercostal muscles.



Moolo bandha

Accesory Breathing Muscles



Bandhas are "locks" occuring throughout the body. The combination of opposing muscles forms these "locks", stimulating nerve conduction and illuminating the chakras.

Moolo bandha

Moola bandha contracts the muscles of the pelvic floor lifting and toning the organs of the pelvis including the bladder and genitalia. The pelvic floor muscles are recruited and awakened by contracting associated muscles such as the iliopsoas. This focuses the mind on the first chakra.

Quadratus Lombou

Simultaneously contracting other muscle groups accentuates moola bandha. For example, gently squeezing the knees together (by contracting the adductors) increases contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. Pressing the hands together has the same effect. This phenomenon is known as "recruitment."

The Key Muscles Yoga

rectus abdominus

Jalandhara bandha

Jalandhara bandha contracts the anterior neck muscles, flexing the neck and drawing the chin to the sternum. This focuses the mind on the fifth chakra.

Udyana bondha

Udyana bandha contracts the upper abdominals in the region approximately two inches below the solar plexus and focuses the mind on the third chakra.

transversus abdominus

Accessory Muscles


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The Chakra Checklist

The Chakra Checklist

The chakras are described as being aligned in an ascending column from the base of the back to the top of the head. New Age practices frequently associate each chakra with a particular color.

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