Natural Breathing is a preparatory practice for pranayama which introduces practitioners to their own respiratory system and breathing patterns. It is very relaxing and may be practised at any time. Awareness of the breathing process is sufficient to slow down the respiratory rate and establish a more relaxed rhythm. The main thing to focus is the awareness of breath.
How to do natural breathing
- Sit in a comfortable meditation posture or lie in shavasana and relax the whole body.
- Observe the natural and spontaneous breathing process. Develop total awareness of the rhythmic flow of the breath. Feel the breath flowing in and out of the nose.
- Do not control the breath in any way.
- Notice that the breath is cool as it enters the nostrils and warm as it flows out.
- Observe this with the attitude of a detached witness.
- Feel the breath flowing in and out at the back of the mouth above the throat.
- Bring the awareness down to the region of the throat and feel the breath flowing in the throat.
- Bring the awareness down to the region of the chest and feel the breath flowing in the trachea and bronchial tubes. Next, feel the breath flowing in the lungs.
- Be aware of the lungs expanding and relaxing. Shift the attention and observe the expansion and relaxation of this area.
- Bring the awareness down to the abdomen. Feel the abdomen move upward on inhalation and downward on exhalation.
- Finally, become aware of the whole breathing process from the nostrils to the abdomen and continue observing it for some time.
- Bring the awareness back to observing the physical body as one unit and open the eyes.
Preparatory Practice for PranayamaNatural Breathing is a preparatory practice in Pranayama. It is among the 5 preparatory practices.
- Natural breathing
- Abdominal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing
- Thoracic breathing
- Clavicular breathing
- Yogic breathing
Types of Pranayamas
- Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Psychic network purification)
- Sheetali Pranayama (Cooling breath)
- Sheetkari Pranayama (Hissing breath)
- Bhramari Pranayama (Humming bee breath)
- Ujjayi Pranayama (The psychic breath)
- Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows breath)
- Kapalbhati Pranayama (Frontal brain cleansing breath)
- Moorchha Pranayama (Swooning or fainting breath)
- Surya Bhedi Pranayama (Vitality stimulating breath)