There are three distinct types of breathing generated in three different parts of the body:
Calvicualr breathing or upper breathing
This breathing is more natural to women not due to the difference in the anatomy but because of the type of clothers they wear and the jobs they do. This ype of breathing raises only the ribs, top of the shoulders and the collar bone. The breath is introduced only in the upper part of the lungs. As this is the smallest part, only a little amount of air reaches the lungs. In the west and now this fashion has made its way to India, women have to do their chores, their habits of sewing, handwork, bridge or typewriting which require them to work in a bad posture. Working in this way 2-3 hours, there cannot be any other way except “upper” breathing.
Try the following experiment. Stand upright, to attention, with hands rigidly at your sides. Lift your shoulders a little and breathe deeply. Let your shoulder fall and throw back your head, and you will see that you can breathe in still more. Now sit at a table, leaning over forward a bit, just as we do while working. Breathing wil be shallow as the shoulders are in an unnatural, high position.
Thoracic breathing or middle breathing
It is little better than upper breathing. It involves little of abdominal breathing. The middle lungs are filled instead of the upper lungs. This is the way most men breathe when they stand erect or sit in a crowded room, or cinema or when the air. We have to resort to hasty, short breathing. Observe your self next time you are in a cinema. This can be seen best in animals like a horse or dog which use thoracic breathing during exertion. It is also practised consciously by athletes.
Abdominal breathing or deep breathing or diaphragm breathing
Here the base of lung re filled with air, aided by the lowering of the diaphragm. Most men breathe this way when lying down or resting. It is the most efficient of the three way of breathing but still inadequate. The purest form of abdominal breathing is found in strong healthy men, soldiers, athletes, farmers and mountain shepherds.
The diaphragm plays an important role since it is a strong partition of muscles separating the chest and the abdomen. At rest it arches upwards towards the thoracic cavity. When it is functioning, it flattens out more and more pressing the abdominal organs downwards and arching the abdomen outwards.
In upper breathing, it is the upper part of the lungs which will up with air. In middle breathing, only the middle and a bit of the upper parts are used. In abdominal breathing the entire lower and middle parts are filled up with air, hence this is the better of the three.
The best type of breathing however would be when the upper, middle and the lower part of the lungs are filled up with air. This we will try to learn, it is called pranayama breathing. It puts the entire respiratory system into action, including every cell and muscle.
The first and the most important rule of breathing is: breathe through your nose. Many people breathe through their mouth, especially while speaking. Through habit, many neglect to breathe through their nose while sleeping. This habit has to be curbed. Pay more attention to your breathing ways.
Be careful and see how your child breathes. If he acquires a right habit he will carry it throughout his life. Many children breathe through their mouth. Their growth will be stunted, their thyroid will not function properly. They will have problems of bad throat an tonsils. The adenoid seems to be a cause of breathing brought the mouth, but it is the other way round if we teach our children right breathing their adenoid seems to be a cause of breathing through the mouth, but it is the other way round if we teach our children right breathing their adenoids can be helped.
The nose has been equipped with all the defence devices. The air we breathe is filtered by the hair in the nose of just particles an small insects. Further as the air passes the winding passage before it reaches the lungs, it is warmed, if too cold, and cooled if too warm, and so it is made more suitable. With the help of poisonous gasses. Our breathing changes to avoid as much as we can, of these toxic gases. Adenoid helps us to fight the harmful bacteria and virus which find their way aling with the air we breathe. Adenoids are useful so do not be in hurry to cut them off when you have tonsilitis because many a time the problem of a bad throat persist even enter after the tonsils are removed. We have realised now that tonsils are useful and part of our immunity system to help us to fight diseases.
When we have a cold and cannot through the nose how quickly we lose strength. When we cannot eat through the nose then why breathe through the mouth, except during emergencies which are an exception. In learning the right way of breathing we must proceed slowly an avoid overexerting ourselves. Too much of anything is bad and this is also true if we are erratic or disordered during the practice of pranayama. Let us build the foundation with patience, lest the building cumbles.
Stand erect in a normal restful posture. Exhale vigorously and then breathe in slowly. We will see our abdomen move outwards. In deep inhalation we push down the diaphragm by expanding the lungs. This pushed the abdomen out. It will be a surprising discovery. Just by expanding the abdomen has caused air to enter the lower part of our lungs. To be more sure you may place the palm of your hand on the abdomen to feel the movement. Men will find that the first phase of yoga breathing is not difficult. Women who have not participated in sports or done exercises will find it difficult. But they wil surmount their difficulty with patience and will power. It will be interesting to note that the person who cannot do abdominal breathing has digestive problems, constipation and gynecological disorders.
In the second phase we try to incorporate middle breathing. We spread our lower ribs and the middle part of the chest so that little by little the air streams into the middle chest. In the third phase we do full arching of the chest during inhalation. You will realise that after full inhalation by arching the chest you can inhale further. We combine it with drawing in the abdomen. It will give support to lungs and help the upper lungs to fill up with air. This is theoretical. In practice we glide from one movement into another without interruption. When seen from the side, yogi breathing will appear a wave like movement from the abdomen upwards.
While exhaling, do so in a slow rhythmic manner through the nose in the same sequence. First we draw in the abdomen, press the lower ribs together and finally we lower the collar bone and shoulders. While exhaling, we press the abdomen and lower ribs together to such a degree that very little air remains behind. Do not be aggressive about it.
Practise this simplest form of pranayama morning and evenings, preferably on an empty stomach. Begin doing it one minute everyday and slowly upto five minutes. Continue it for a few days. Now you are ready to go in for deeper yoga breathing. This breathing will help increase resistance to cold and cough, help if you are suffering from bronchitis. Develop good healthy lung tissue to resist bacteria. Boys and girls with an inferiority complex or a feeling of guilt tend to draw their shoulders forward pressing their chest together. This is a bad habit and this awkward posture leads to less oxygen going to their lungs.
Such children with drawn shoulders are likely to have stunted growth and bad health. They fall prey to masturbation and sex abuse. See that your child is not repressed by brother and sisters and your give them a lot of affection and love to remove their anxiety and develop self-confidence. In many cases a lot of improvement can be achieved by breaking the habit of shallow breathing. Deep breathing allows more oxygen to enter the lungs. When oxygen runs through the blood vessels, more oxygen will reach all our different organs of the body and improve their function.
Digestion will improve. Energy will increase. The heart will be stronger and your child will become more alive and creative. During exercises also we get increased breathing and an increased supply of oxygen but it is consumed by the exercising muscles. During yoga breathing however we store this extra energy and increase vitality. We are able to work longer hours without getting tired. Mentally, we will be more alert and keep ourselves calm and composed.