A very important part of meditation is proper breathing technique. And as breathing is strongly used in Yoga, there is a strong overlap in the two relaxing ways when it comes to breathing. It is very often that one borrows from the other one.
Proper breathing is the backbone of hatha yoga. Hatha yoga breathing revitalizes us and gives us strength. Without it, yoga doesn’t provide as many benefits as it should. Breathing is something innate that we don’t have to learn, as we already know how to do it well. Our main job is to remove obstacles such as tension, a bad attitude, or bad habits, which can prevent us from breathing properly.
Focus on Exhaling, Not Inhaling
In the west, there is always a focus on inhalation rather than exhalation. However, in hatha yoga breathing, it is said that slow, complete exhalation is the key to good respiration. In fact, good exhalation is a prerequisite to good, complete inhalation. Basically, you can’t fill yourself with air unless you empty all of the air out first. When doing any hatha yoga exercise, it’s essential that you remember to do proper hatha yoga breathing.
In order to ensure that you exhale properly, make sure you are silent. You shouldn’t be able to hear yourself breathing if you are breathing slowly enough. Towards the end of your exhalation, you should contract your abdominal muscles to ensure that you empty out the last traces of air. The more complete your exhalation is the more fresh air you can breathe into your lungs. In hatha yoga breathing, the goal is to increase the capacity with which your lungs contain air.
In order to do hatha yoga breathing, you have to follow these steps: empty your lungs out entirely, slowly lower your diaphragm and allow air to enter the lungs, expand your ribs, and raise your collar bones to allow your lungs to be completely full of air. Throughout this entire process, you should never gasp for air. Always make sure your breathing is continual and silent.
As an experiment, try this breathing exercise anytime you are fatigued or depressed. Believe me, it will make you feel much better. You need to be careful not to try to fill yourself up like a balloon however because it creates too much strain. Breathe very slowly, silently, and easily.
The best way to learn how to do hatha yoga breathing properly is to lie on your back. Avoid putting tension into your hands, face, and neck. Remember to begin by breathing slowly and deeply from your stomach, expanding your ribs, and then raising your collar bones to fill yourself to the brim with air. Then exhale slowly, continually, and completely. By following these simple tips, you will be able to experience the benefits of complete hatha yoga breathing, whether you are working with yoga or you are following some meditation techniques.