Long Deep Breathing

The simplest of all yogic breaths is long deep breathing. It is a habit that we in our western culture have lost. Our normal tendency is to breathe shallow and irregularly. This leads to an emotional approach to life, chronic tension, and weak nerves. The lungs are the largest organ of the human body. Average lungs can enlarge to a volume of almost 6,000 cubic centimeters. Normally we use only 600 - 700 cubic centimeters of that capacity. If you do not expand the lungs to their full capacity, the small air sacks in the lungs, called alveoli, cannot clean their mucous lining properly. Therefore you do not get enough oxygen so toxic irritants that lead to infections and disease build up. By taking a deep breath you can expand the lungs by about eight times. If you establish a habit of breathing long, deep and slowly, you will build your endurance and patience. A long deep breath can bring you back to your center, even in chaotic circumstances.

Posture (Asana)

Sit in a comfortable meditative posture, i.e., easy pose, with a straight spine. Nose

The normal breath should always be through the nose. Breathing through the nose filters the air, warms it, and humidifies it, so that the air does not disturb the sensitive ecology of the lungs. Most importantly for the yogi, the nostrils are connected to the Ida (left nostril - feminine energy) and Pingala (right nostril - masculine energy) and therefore Prana is taken into the body through the nose.

Inhale

Begin by pushing the navel point outward and then filling the lungs with prana from the abdomen upward.

Exhale

To exhale completely, breath out as much "left over" air as possible.

April 25, 2002

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