The best way to understand this breath technique is to listen to the sound of my breathing here. I repeat this breath link, because it is important for you to hear it and learn it before you attempt to learn the next 4 steps of the Complete Yoga Breath. If you have the sound of speakers connected to your computer, you will learn this much faster. The breath link is also on every page of this site (above right), in case you want to listen again at another time. Once you actually hear it, it will make sense. Look at the red circle in the image here of Eugenia. If you place your fingers on your collarbone and keep moving them to the center where the indentation is (and the red circle), you will find the spot where the larynx is (more details given below). The ancient wisdom of breathing consciously is the most important aspect of Yoga. Watch a sleeping baby's stomach as it expands like a balloon and then deflates naturally, and listen to where the wonderful sound of the baby's breath originates—in the throat. To be precise, place your fingers on your throat and swallow to feel the area where the first step of the Complete Yoga Breath physically begins—your larynx (also the area of the 5th Chakra). You will learn all the steps of this incredible breath technique, but it is important to feel comfortable with this step before going to the next (the diaphragm muscle). There is no rush. Take each step, one at a time. When you combine all steps in a constant flow of inhalation and exhalation, you have learned the Complete Yoga Breath. Don't be surprised if you get a bit dizzy the first time you succeed from the burst of oxygen to your brain!
Step 1 — THE LARYNX (THROAT)This is often the most difficult for a beginner, but it is vital that you master this before you continue.
- Stand in front of a mirror and look at your throat. Place your fingertips on the center of your collarbone until you feel the depression in your throat, the hollow, soft spot. Swallow and feel it. This is what you are going to concentrate on when you inhale. Basically, you are going to inhale from the same spot where you would normally clear your throat. The sound actually originates right from the larynx.
- The air will still enter through your nostrils, but you will not “use” your nose to inhale. You will use your larynx as the source of power. Make the same sound I do. Let the sound be heard.
- Close your mouth and relax your lips, facial muscles, and jawbone.
- Now sit on the floor with your back straight and your legs crossed. Relax your shoulders and arms. If this is difficult, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, relaxed. Or better yet, sit right where you are and lift your entire spine up. Relax your shoulders. Think about what you are going to do next.
- Try to inhale through your larynx. As you let the air pass through your nostrils, feel the power of the inhalation directly from that spot in your throat (feel it with your fingers).
- Listen to my breathing and try to follow me. Don’t constrict your larynx. Instead, get the feeling that your it has enlarged and relaxed. Remember, it is the opening of the tube that goes all the way down to the coccyx (where the root Chakra is).
- Listen to the new sound you create. It is not the same as when you breathe normally with the nose as the source of the inhalation. It is louder, more expansive. Compare the difference in the sound when you breathe normally through your nose and when you practice this step with the larynx. Some people sound as if they are snoring in the beginning. This will pass as you get the hang of it. I go on and on about this spot with the larynx because it's so new to everyone that it can easily be misunderstood.