Why is breathing recommended for meditation?
Breathing techniques Learn to relax
Applying breathing techniques will help us in our day to day to know how to channel our energy, reduce our tension and relieve anxiety. Breathing in yoga is one of the fundamental aspects of both physical practice (hatha yoga) and mental practice (Raja Yoga). Pranayama or yogic breathing is one of the main aspects if you want to learn to meditate.
What is the use of breathing?
We are going to avoid the obvious answer. We all know that breathing is basic to life, but also, breathing has many other functions, and not just physically, but mentally.
Breathing, besides being our life support, fulfills many other functions:
- It is imperative to create the metabolic H2O.
- It removes toxins from our body and purifies the bloodstream. It is key in the aging of our body.
- It helps to burn fat.
- Oxygenates the blood.
- Activates the muscles of our body.
- It helps with blood circulation.
- It is key in concentration, attention and memory. The brain is the organ that needs more oxygen. When we do not breathe correctly, the brain is the first injured.
- Breathing correctly produces relaxation of the mind and body.
Breathing is directly associated with our brain activity and our emotions:
Have you noticed how you breathe when you are afraid and when you have anxiety? How do you breathe when you get angry? And when you sleep?
It is clear that our moods and our breathing are intimately related.
So can our mental state and our emotions be transformed by breathing?
– Yes, and it’s something we’re going to talk about throughout this article about breathing techniques, that’s why it’s one of the key aspects when it comes to learning to meditate.
What is the golden rule of good breathing?
The most important aspect for correct breathing is this: it is always inspired and exhaled through the nose.
It is a bad habit to breathe through your mouth, however, it is something we do very frequently.
Good breathing should not be done only when we do sports or meditation. We should try to get into the habit of breathing well at any time.
The nose has mechanisms that the mouth does not have. The nose is prepared to avoid impurities (dust, insects, harmful substances) and heat the air that enters our lungs. If we breathe through the mouth we are unprotected.
For the yogis, breathing through the nose also has a very important meaning since through this type of breathing the prana or energy is obtained .
The complete yogic breathing
Before talking about the different breathing techniques, we must know the types of breathing that exist and how a complete yogic breathing is performed.
- Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing : it is the most natural type of breathing. Our belly is the one that swells and deflates in each inhalation and exhalation. This type of breathing produces many benefits: it completely purifies the lungs, distends the solar plexus and reduces tension and anxiety, increases our energy …
- Thoracic Breathing: is the type of breathing that we usually perform when we practice cardiovascular exercise. It consists of inspiring swelling of the rib cage. Many people confuse this type of breathing with deep breathing.
- Clavicular breathing: it consists of breathing with the upper part of the lungs. By doing this exercise you will appreciate how the abdomen gets inside. You will feel the sensation of needing more air and breathing faster.
Exercise “Breathing techniques”:
Lie down in Savasana and perform 10 diaphragmatic breaths by placing your hand on the abdomen and noticing how it rises and falls. Then do the same with the chest breathing by placing your hands on the sides and finally do 10 clavicular breaths.
What have you felt in each of them?
With this exercise you will notice how the abdominal breathing relaxes you and yet the clavicular tenses you. It is important to learn to identify it to change your patterns in your daily life. When you find yourself in a situation of stress or anxiety, look at your breathing and try to modify it.
How to do a complete yogic breathing?
Yogic breathing aims to ventilate and oxygenate your lungs by eliminating impurities and obtaining prana or vital energy.
Yogic breathing is the sum of the other three types of breathing performed sequentially.
Complete breathing technique
Lie down in Savasana . It is the best position to perform breathing exercises.
Put your right hand on the belly and the left on your side.
Eliminate all the air from your lungs , so that when you breathe it is completely filled with renewed air.
When you have emptied your lungs, let your breath sprout naturally.
Inspire by noticing how your abdomen grows little by little. When it is quite expanded, it continues to inspire but this time it is noticing how your rib cage swells and your abdomen goes down. Finally, when the chest is full, continue to breathe, noticing how your collarbones and chest rise.
That is, it begins with an abdominal breathing, continues with a diaphragmatic and ends with a clavicular. It is important that in this process you never stop inspiring. The inspiration must be natural and not cut at any time.
You will notice how the air swells your abdomen, thorax and clavicles.
To exhale, follow the reverse order. Descending from the chest to the thorax and from there to the abdomen.
With this exercise you will have performed a complete yogic breathing.
The rhythm of breathing and its effect on our body and our mind
The breathing techniques have a direct effect, as we said at the beginning of the article, about our body and our mind.
The rhythm has a leading role.
- If we want to improve our vitality and our energy we will have to carry out breathing techniques putting the focus on expiration. Making slow inspirations and shorter and more powerful expirations.
- To calm ourselves we will perform breathing techniques based on inspiration. Where we take the air faster and deeper and expiration is slower.
- To harmonize breathing techniques will seek balance, with the same duration and power in inspiration and expiration.
It is necessary to clarify that the yogic breathing does not try to “create” a new form of breathing, but to recover the natural breathing of the human being free of tensions and blockages.
Breathing and Meditation
In our series “Learning to meditate” we have talked about the different types of meditation that exist.
Breathing is so important for meditation that it is one of the common threads that all these different types of meditation have.
Breathing is basic in any type of meditation because:
- Performing exercises or breathing techniques relaxes us and prepares us to prepare ourselves to meditate.
- Breathing well is basic to meditate . That is why the basic meditation postures must always comply with the premise of keeping the back straight to favor breathing and that there is nothing to block its natural flow.
- Yogic breathing or full breathing induces the meditative state.
- The breath is the bond that unites the outer world with our inner world. We take the air from outside and carry it inside us. It is our spiritual umbilical cord, which unites our being with the rest of the universe.
- The breath is the most vivid memory of ” today and now “. If you want to maintain mindfulness and live mindfully, breathing is your anchor.