Why do you breathe?
Every part of your body needs oxygen to survive. Let’s see why we breathe, and the muscles used while breathing.
Everyday functions of the body like digesting your food, moving your muscles or even just thinking, you need oxygen. When these processes happen, a gas called carbon dioxide is produced as a waste product. The job of your lungs is to provide your body with oxygen and to get rid of the waste gas, carbon dioxide.
Your brain constantly gets signals from your body that sense the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.
Your brain will send signals to the muscles involved in breathing and adjust your breathing rate depending on how active you are.
When you’re active, your breathing can increase up to about 40-60 times a minute to cope with the extra demand. The delivery of oxygen to your muscles also speeds up, so they can do their job efficiently. The increase in your breathing also makes sure there’s no build-up of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream.
What muscles do you use to breathe?
Breathing with The Diaphragm Muscle
You must feel that sometimes while doing diaphragmatic breathing that diaphragm has been knotted, and you like to breakthrough.
Most of the time students describe while doing diaphragmatic breathing there is some sense that they can’t take as deep of a breath as they want to or expects to
How can we increase the ability to breathe more deeply?
Sometimes we assume that there is something wrong with our diaphragm. Maybe it’s too tight or not strong enough. Although this is possible, but it’s very doubtful.
Let’s see if the diaphragm is too tight, when it comes to stretch the diaphragm, it’s not so much about which postures to do, but more about how you do the postures is important.
As we’re talking about the diaphragm, it’s about how we’re breathing with the diaphragm in the postures.
In the whole process of diaphragmatic breathing, it’s important to understand how we use the diaphragm in breathing. And how we can add comfort to the area of our body where the diaphragm is located, as well as to our breathing itself.
What is the diaphragm and where its located?
The diaphragm is the primary muscle used in respiration. This dome-shaped muscle is located just below the lungs and heart. It originates from the lumbar vertebrae 1-5, areas of cartilage in between the lower six ribs
What happens when we breathe with our diaphragm?
Diaphragmatic breathing (also called "abdominal breathing" or "belly breathing"). During diaphragmatic breathing encourages full oxygen exchange, that is, the beneficial exchange of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide, the diaphragm contracts and flattens and the chest cavity enlarges. This contraction creates a vacuum, which pulls air into the lungs. Upon exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes and returns to its domelike shape, and air is forced out of the lungs.
The Lungs and Breathing
The space between the outer surface of the lungs and the inner thoracic wall is known as the pleural space. This is usually filled with pleural fluid, forming a seal that holds the lungs against the thoracic wall by the force of surface tension. This seal ensures that when the thoracic cavity expands or reduces, the lungs undergo expansion or reduction in size accordingly.
During breathing, the contraction and relaxation of muscles acts to change the volume of the thoracic cavity. As the thoracic cavity and lungs move together, this changes the volume of the lungs, in turn changing the pressure inside the lungs.
Process of Inspiration
Inspiration is the phase of ventilation in which air enters the lungs. There are 3 ways
Restrictors in breathing for yoga practitioners
One of the most common restrictors in breathing with the diaphragm is tension in and around the ribcage and other some other reasons can happen also. However, ribs themselves are mobile. They attach between the vertebrae at the back of the body. Most of the time we don’t realise that when we are in a relaxed position, the ribs are angled downward at the front of the body and not horizontally. As we inhale, the ribs rise, making the chest grow in size. But the movement is limited, it will make your diaphragm work harder, potentially making it feel as though you can’t get enough breath into your lungs.
What is good versus bad breathing?
Quite often we compare “belly breathing” versus “chest breathing” without actually describing what we mean by those terms. If we really want to talk about what’s happening when we breathe, or if we want to change something about how we breathe.
“Bad” breathing is breathing that is in some way dysfunctional. It can be simple as postural patterns developed over the years which are restricting the movement of the ribcage, diaphragm, or other structures that create our abdominal container. Those restrictions can prevent us from taking full breaths when we are at rest, which can have many physiological effects for our body. Which can result more of “chest breathing”. But there can be many other reasons which result in a full, relaxed breath being restricted in some way.
Breathing in yoga
Most of us are caught in our busy lives, too stiff and fixed mentally and physically for only deep breathing to have any positive effect. This is where asana comes in. The physical movement of the asanas breaks this stiffness and makes us more flexible, which allows for the flow of energy through the entire body. Each physical movement in the asana is intended for the purpose of supporting the movement of energy through the body.
To benefit the body one can, practice as many yoga poses as they like. But if deep breathing isn’t taking place, the practice will not give the benefit to the body.
Breathing is foundation of the movement of energy and what helps the body relax. When stiff body that tries to shape itself into different poses without understanding the breath will only injure itself. But when we learn to breathe deeply, we can open ourselves to feel more emotion, and it will help more in tune with what’s happening in our bodies. That’s why correct breathing in yoga can actually help you avoid injury.
Breathing correctly also help to flow that the steady in and out action of breathing creates stimulates a transformation in the body and mind. Circulation is increased, hormonal balance is cultivated, the organs are regenerated, and the nervous system is pacified.
There is a whole branch of the eight limbs of yoga focused solely on breathing: pranayama. Different techniques methods of controlling, cleansing, balancing how we breathe for a particular purpose in yoga.