Breathing Exercises Part 2 - Yoga Breathing
Increase your breath capacity, lung function and diaphragm motion

In order to actually expand lung capacity we have to slow the breathing way down and stretch the lung tissue we don't typically use. The best way to do this is with a technique that has been around for a few thousand years so it has a funny old Sanskrit name: Ujjayi Breathing, but I am going to call it Yoga Breathing.

How to do Yoga Breathing: you gently constrict the air from passing through the back of the throat and it makes a small sound. It also slows the filling and emptying of your lungs and lets you take very big, long, slow breaths in and out and work into lung tissue you don't use with regular breathing. The sound of this breath is like if you were pretending to be asleep, not snoring but breathing audibly with your mouth closed.

Fogging up a mirror: Another way it is often taught is to first open your mouth and exhale like you would if you were trying to fog up a mirror or your glasses in front of your mouth. Then as you're making the fogging breath sound - close your mouth but make the same sound. If you make this sound on the inhale and the exhale that is Yoga Breathing.

Basic Yoga Breathing: Once you figure out how to make the sound and elongate your breath (and this might take some practice) then perform this breath on the inhale and exhale at your own pace for 5 minutes per day. Check out my video **below** to hear the sound of this breath and try some tricks to help you learn this technique.

Advanced Technique - Stretching the Breath: This is where we can really expand the lung capacity. Take a slow Yoga Breath Inhale and see how many counts it takes you to fill your lung and do a Yoga Breath Exhale for the same number of counts. Then see if you can lengthen your inhale and exhale by one or two counts each breath until you find your new maximum inhale/exhale length. Tip: In order to elongate the breath on very long breaths you may have to stop yourself from taking in or letting out too much air too quickly and pace yourself.

Breath Retention: The techniques from Breathing Exercises Part 1 that we did will work even better if you use Yoga Breathing on your inhales and exhales. It slows everything way down and lets you work your lungs much deeper. Try out the techniques from Breathing Exercises Part 1 - Breath Retention of pausing on the inhale and the exhale using your Yoga Breath.

Yoga Breath Inhale for 8 counts
Pause for 4 counts
Yoga Breath Exhale for 8 counts
Pause for 4 counts

Repeat...for 5 minutes if possible or just try a few at the end of your daily breathing practice. 

  Yoga Breathing Video