Quality of our respiration plays an important role in our well-being. Normally we are not conscious of our breathing pattern, if it is faulty, shallow, nonrhythmic or haphazard. With simple breath awareness practices we can correct our breathing pattern if there are any irregularities and enhance the experience of our well-being.
Breathing is one of the most important and vital functions of body, necessary for survival. Yet we hardly pay any attention to our breathing pattern. Faulty breathing patterns can have several health repercussions. On the contrary correct breathing pattern infuses the body with vital life force, removes toxin and keeps us fresh and agile.
Correct breathing is a natural way of breathing, making optimal use of respiratory muscles, lungs and diaphragm in a relaxed manner. Natural breathing is breathing with ease and minimum energy expenditure. Natural or correct breathing is accompanied by abdominal movements. When we inhale our diaphragm descends and abdomen moves outward and while we exhale reverse follows. This is the correct breathing pattern and most natural and should essentially be the way of breathing at all times.
One of the ways to bring your awareness on the breathing pattern and correct any dysfunctions is through sectional breathing. Sectional breathing is divided into three components, working with the three different lobes of the lungs. These components are
- Abdominal breathing
- Thoracic breathing
- Clavicle breathing
Abdominal breathing consists of expanding the stomach while inhaling and contracting the stomach while exhaling. It utilizes the capacity of the lower lobes of lungs, as they get completely filled with air while inhaling. Thoracic breathing consists of bringing the chest into action. As you inhale expand the chest and as you exhale relax. This brings into action the middle lobes of lungs. Last, in clavicle breathing we utilize the capacity of the upper lobes of lungs. In this we lift our shoulders up while inhaling and drop it down while exhaling. Thus, in sectional breathing we utilize the capacity of lungs to its fullest. One can practice five rounds of each while sitting in cross-legged position on ground or on chair with spine straight. It has to be practiced with slow and deep breathing. As you practice sectional breathing, your breathing pattern will automatically set to correct breathing or natural breathing as mentioned above.
When we combine all the three components of sectional breathing it becomes yogic breathing. One can experience the benefits of yogic breathing in the form increased vitality, energy and lightness in body and mind. Yogic breathing is an excellent preliminary practice before moving on to the next step of Pranayam (regulated breathing) with manifold benefits.