Today I’d like to share with you the Yogic Complete, three part, or Full Lung Breath, a Pranayama or Yoga breathing exercise that teaches us how to breathe completely using our lungs fully. Beginning with the lower lungs, then moving up to through the middle lungs and up into the upper lungs.
Full lung breathing teaches us how to use proper diaphragmatic breathing as well as allowing us to relax mind and body, oxygenate the blood and purge the lungs of residual carbon dioxide. It is beneficial to practise as often as possible and can help us to stay grounded, centered and calm in the midst of challenge and change.
Below I have shared with you a video of an advanced version of this breathing exercise for those of you who are experienced at Yoga breathing. I came across it recently and I love how it adds a more 3 dimensional element to the traditional Yoga practice, (the latter of which I have given written instructions for below), for a more fuller and complete breathing experience. If you are new to the practice of Pranayama or Yoga breathing then I recommend that you follow my written instructions below first for a basic practice until you feel comfortable, before moving onto the video in this post.
During your Pranayama/Yoga breathing practice, breathe through the nose if you comfortably can. If at any time you feel light headed, or faint, or are gasping for breath, stop your practice and resume normal breathing. Do not practise during an asthma attack. Stay with the stage that feels right for you. Never forcing the breath. In time with practice you will be able to strengthen your breathing/respiratory system to be comfortable with all the stages and breathing exercises.
Instructions for the traditional , and basic level, Yogic Complete, Three-part or Full Lung Breath
To practise either come into a comfortable seated position with your spine straight or lie down down on your back, with your head neck and spine all straight and in alignment. Breathe through the nose throughout this exercise, without forcing the breath in anyway and rest whenever you need to. To begin, exhale emptying you lungs completely.
Inhale all the way down to your lower lungs, your lower abdominal area (and as far down into your pelvis as you can), feeling the lower abdomen gently rise. (This part of the complete breath is often called Abdominal breathing as it creates an expansion of the lower abdomen on the inhalation and a contraction on the exhalation,) As you exhale, allow the abdomen to sink back down towards your spine. Repeat several times, keeping your breath smooth and relaxed. Never straining. Staying with this stage if that is far enough for you today. Otherwise moving on to Stage 2.
Inhale all the way down into your lower lungs (as in stage 1), but then continue inhaling into the middle lungs (your chest) allowing the rib cage to expand outwards to the sides. Exhale from the lower and then middle lungs. Repeat several times, keeping your breath smooth and relaxed. Never straining. Staying with this stage if that is far enough for you today. Otherwise moving on to Stage 3.
Inhale all the way down into your lower lungs (abdomen), continue inhaling into the middle lungs (chest/ribcage), and then continue inhaling up into the upper lungs by opening up the clavicular region or upper chest. Like you are breathing all the way up to your neck and throat. Your collar bone may lift a fraction. Then, exhale from the lower, middle and upper lungs. Repeat several times, keeping your breath smooth and relaxed. Never straining. Combining all three steps into one continuous flowing movement.
To finish return back to Stage 1 for several breaths and then resume normal breathing to complete.
I will try and record an audio version on my written instructions very soon, but for now I hope that you find this exercise and video helpful. Namaste
With love until next time