The Complete Yoga Breath—Step 4—Collarbone

Complete Yoga Breath with Sound!

Links to Breath series

Click images below for detailed instructions.

Breathe FROM the larynx to inhale and exhale for the Complete Yoga Breath

Abdominal breathing for the Complete Yoga Breath - fills the lower part of the lungs

Ribcage Breathing - Helps Asthma - fills the middle of the lungs

Collarbone Breathing - Fills the top of the lungs


Traditional Buddhist Breath Meditation

Sing or Speak with Power.
How To Sing
or Speak
with Power

Ellekari, a 4-year-old child, learns how to breathe into a soprano trombone.
How To Blow
Your Own Horn

Collarbone breathing This is the last step before the One Complete Yoga Breath. This is usually the easiest because many people only use the chest movement when they breathe. Most beginners cannot stop their chests from expanding in the previous steps. This movement should be the last, not the first.

How to Breathe
Using the Collarbone

There is no need to rush. Before beginning, relax and slow down. Focus on what you are doing here.

  • Stand or sit in front of a mirror with your back straight. Place your fingertips gently on the part of your collarbone where the bone juts up and out (see image).
  • Inhale and let your chest expand and rise at the same time that your collarbone rises. The center of the collarbone (in the area of the larynx) will create an “indentation” in your throat if you are doing it right. Look at this in a mirror to understand what I mean.
  • With exhalation, your chest and collarbone will return to their normal position.
  • If you are doing this correctly, you will not see your shoulders rising up and down; only your collarbone rises. This last step fills the upper part of your lungs with air.
  • When you have inhaled this final step, draw in the lower part of your abdomen, slightly. This provides support for the lungs and also brings the most energy into the highest part of your lungs. It also continues to bring your attention to the abdominal area of your body and lifts it slightly with intention. This is not a forced movement by any means. Slow and easy. Relax while you do this, or you will only be straining with something as natural as breathing!


If you sit a lot or bend forward too much because of your job, this will help enormously (modified from Yogi Ramacharaka):

  • Stand with perfect posture.
  • Inhale a Complete Yoga Breath.
  • Retain the breath.
  • Extend both arms forward and bring two clenched fists together level with your shoulders.
  • Swing back the fists vigorously until your arms stand out straight sideways from your shoulders.
  • Then bring both arms forward again with your clenched fists together level with your shoulders, and swing back again to the previous position with your arms straight out sideways from your shoulders. Repeat this motion as long as you can retain your breath without any tension, no longer.
  • Exhale vigorously through with your mouth open.
  • Practice the Lung Cleansing Breath (part of the Breath Techniques for Healing).
  • Use moderation and do not overdo this exercise.

Once you have mastered this technique, you can begin to practice all the steps together (details following on next page). You will now be training the Complete Yoga Breath as one continuous movement. You are not going to continue until you have read and mastered each step of The Complete Yoga Breath in the previous lessons given here. If you attempt to do this without mastering each step, you will only defeat your own progress, and what's the point of doing that?

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I have noticed in many Yoga classes that the teacher will push students into doing a posture, a stretch, a breath. Sorry, but this is not what Yoga is about. No pain, no gain does not apply to Yoga at all. In fact, if you push yourself too hard doing Yoga, you would just defeat the purpose of what Yoga is all about—conscious awareness of self.

If you are conscious of pain only, you are not aware of yourself. That's the bottom line. Try to keep this in mind when you practice Yoga at home or in a class with others. Yoga is not a competition between students, and it is absolutely not about using force to reach a goal!

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