Breathing can seem to be easy and uncomplicated at first, but when you practice pranayama techniques, you may see how dynamic it can be. You'll be able to further monitor your success once you grasp the importance of each of the four facets of pranayama.

  1. Pooraka (Inhalation) – Using the breath to draw oxygen and prana into the body. You will increase the brahmana (energizing) effect by lengthening the inhalation, thus stabilizing low-energy imbalances (sluggishness, depression, apathy).
  2. Rechaka (Exhalation) – Using the breath to expel oxygen and chemicals from the body. The exhalation triggers a langhana (calming) response that is linked to your parasympathetic nervous system. You will stabilize frenetic and restless energetic imbalances by lengthening it (anxiety, overstimulation, manic stress).
  3. Antaranga Kumbhaka (Retention after Inhalation) – As you hold your breath after inhaling, the brahmana (energizing) reaction is stimulated. You'll be able to keep it for longer stretches of time with practice, but continue to respect the body's boundaries in each practice.
  4. Bahiranga Kumbhaka (Suspension after Exhalation) – When you catch your breath after exhaling, the langhana (calming) effect is stimulated. Since your body naturally craves more breath, this part of the breath is said to be the most difficult to master.

You'll be able to learn this part without becoming anxious with practice.

Many pranayama strategies aim to achieve kumbhaka (breath retention), and you can work carefully and methodically toward this end. You would be able to perform kumbhaka without activating the stress response in this manner. If you hold your breath for too long or when you're not ready, you'll get nervous, which will negate the pranayama's intended outcome.



“Breath is the link between life and mind, the link between the body and your thoughts.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh (Thich Nhat Hanh)


Breathing is the filling and emptying of the lungs anatomically, but the exact results on your work will depend on which muscles participate, which organs turn, and which nerves are activated during the breath. Some breathing techniques, particularly when performed unconsciously (not pranayama), can cause health problems or anxiety. Some methods are more energizing and psychologically calming. As we'll see, you can even breathe to various areas of the lungs to have different results.

Breathing from the diaphragm

The diaphragmatic breath, also known as belly breathing, is the softening of the muscles around your abdomen, causing the breath to calm the area of your body. When the mind and body are calm, this kind of breathing may be performed in a formal pranayama exercise or as a natural method of breathing.

This is a great place to learn breathing no matter where you are.

To begin, be mindful of the area between your rib cage and your pelvis. In this region of the body, we often constrict and retain strong muscles. Allow them to relax so that the belly can stretch forward without resistance on inhalation. The exhalation is just a quick breath relaxation with a gentle contraction of the navel against the neck. This breathing style requires little effort apart from deliberately calming the belly. Later, we can go through a more detailed method of performing diaphragmatic breathing.

You may find yourself instinctively breathing in this manner with practice and as your nervous system becomes more controlled.

Reduced stress and anxiety, a more concentrated mind, insomnia relief, a slower heart rate, and increased digestion are all advantages of diaphragmatic breathing.

Thoracic Breathing 

The air stretches into the rib cage and chest to compensate as the diaphragm does not descend into the belly as you inhale. Breathing in this manner has both advantages and disadvantages.

This type of breathing, when performed purposefully and with a pranayama technique, will boost stamina and stimulate the nervous system. When performed unconsciously, the breathing capability decreases, and shallow breathing may have long-term negative health consequences, especially in the case of cardiovascular disorders such as sleep apnea. This is why you do not want this breathing habit to become your normal.

Become mindful of the diaphragm to perform thoracic breathing. Instead of pulling the diaphragm downward when you inhale deeply, keep it still to encourage the filling of the lungs to extend through the ribs, causing the rib cage to expand upward and laterally. Enable the diaphragm to relax and the rib cage to contract when you exhale. Later, we can go into how to use thoracic breathing in particular pranayama techniques.

Clavicular Breathing 

When you inhale and neither your belly button nor your rib cage stretches, the air rises into your collarbones (clavicles), resulting in the shallowest form of breathing. You don't want to focus on clavicular ventilation as the only method of breathing, even if it is a part of a complete and deep breath. We put stress on the body, particularly the heart and brain, when we breathe in a consistent and shallow manner unconsciously, as I said with thoracic breathing. We get exhausted and emotionally exhausted as less oxygen is consumed. When it's appropriate to use this method of breathing, we'll revert to basic pranayama methods.

Breathing in an Odd Way

Another breathing rhythm that occurs unintentionally and may have detrimental long-term effects on the general well-being is paradoxical breathing. When you inhale, the diaphragm draws inward, and the chest expands instead of rising as you inhale. Trauma or damage to the chest wall, diaphragm nerve disturbance, and sluggish respiratory muscles are also causing for this. Shortness of breath, hypersomnia, fatigue, low sleep quality, abnormally fast breathing, and decreased physical activity are all signs that you may be breathing unconsciously in this manner.

The positive news is that regular pranayama practice will help correct this unhealthy breathing habit and mitigate the detrimental consequences it has already created. If you experience any long-term detrimental consequences from paradoxical breathing, please contact the doctor.