author: mkalinow@onet.eu

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

Life Balance

Complementary Self-practice

In Harmonize your Inner-self

Proper Breathing

Many people breathe with the upper part of the lungs only. This can be due to habit or tension in the stomach muscles and the diaphragm. This type of breathing can cause the following problems for the body:

  • the body expels too much carbon dioxide;
  • the blood becomes too alkaline;
  • blood vessels narrow and circulation to the brain is restricted;
  • palpitations, dizziness, feelings of faintness and chest pains can result;
  • panic attacks may occur and these can lead to hyperventilation.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing (or the complete yoga breath) relaxes mind and body and supplies oxygen and energy to the whole body.

This type of breathing not only energizes the whole body, but, by alternately expanding and contracting the diaphragm, chest, lung and shoulder areas, the muscles of the upper body relax, leading to relief from tension headaches, back and neck aches and stiff shoulders.


Start by sitting upright in a chair or lying on the floor with head and knees supported by cushions. Breathe slowly, using the diaphragm, chest and clavicle area; draw in through the nose, as much air as possible, as slowly as possible. Start by first filling the diaphragm. Place your hands on your stomach and feel it expand as you breathe in deeply. Keep breathing in slowly and fill the chest cavity and finally raise the clavicles to allow in the maximum possible amount of air. This will ensure that the body gets an increased amount of oxygen, which it will use to burn up nutrients delivered to the tissues. The brain will benefit from the added oxygen and a general feeling of relaxation and well-being will result.

Hold the breath for a few seconds as this will allow the lungs to use up as much of the inhaled oxygen as possible. Then, very slowly, breathe out through the mouth. Empty the lungs as completely as possible to expel the maximum amount of carbon dioxide, as this will leave the lungs ready to take in extra oxygen with the next in-breath. Practice several times, but stop if you feel dizzy or start to hyperventilate. Use a ratio of 2:1 when breathing, e.g. breathe in for 4 seconds (or 6), hold for 2 (or 3), breathe out for 4 (or 6) and hold for 2 (or 3) before the next breath.

Note: People suffering from asthma may be unable initially to take in very deep breaths. They should start to breathe in as much as is comfortable and safe for them and deepen the breath gradually.

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