Begin with normal breathing, ideally abdominal or yogic breathing, bringing awareness to the movement of the abdomen and the chest. Inhale deeply and smoothly in counts (use a timer, metronome, clock or count in your head, a nice way is to say 1 aum, 1 aum etc) according to the ratio you are following (see below). Exhale smoothly in the required counts. Continue this process. Be aware of the abdomen rising and falling with the breath. Return to normal breathing. Practice another round if desired.
Ratio – This may be 4:4 to start. This means inhale to 4 counts and exhale to 4 counts. If this causes strain then start with 3:3 or 2:2. After some time, when it is very comfortable to practice 4:4 the ratio can be changed. Start exhaling for longer, 4:6. Later this can be increased to 4:8. Remember there is no rush to do this. After some time one can start 5:5 then 6:6 but at no time should it cause strain.
- Due to slowing of respiration rate the heart rate is reduced.
- Blood pressure is lowered.
- Stress and stress related ailments. Anxiety, tension, anger.
- More oxygen is made available per breath, making the breathing most efficient.
- Conscious deep breathing greatly affects the cortical activities, relaxing the nervous system, which calms the mind by removing thoughts and emotions.
- Enhanced movement of the diaphragm gives a good massage to the internal organs as the liver, pancreas, stomach, heart and lungs are attached to the diaphragm which is moved up and down during the breathing.
- Good preparation for labour
- Gives us control over our breath
Precautions & Contraindications
There are no contraindications as such however the breathing must be smooth and rhythmic and not in steps. There should never be strain and one should not feel that they are running out of breath.