Breathing- it is our most vital function. Breathing right can make a world of difference to our body. Proper breathing practices can be used to ease many ailments of the body. Most people with breathing problems turn out to have wrong breathing pattern. Correction of breathing patterns is one of the most effective ways to solve such problems in both children and adult alike. Today I’m presenting you with two very useful breathing techniques that can ease your spinal problems and breathing problems- Sasankasana breathing and Tiger breathing. What’s common in both the breathing techniques is that they provide a good workout to the spine and are recommended for breathing ailments like asthma. But like many asanas these have limitations. So before getting on with it, check out the limitations first.
Sasankasana Breathing –
It is also called rabbit breathing. The final posture of the asana resembles a leaping rabbit or hare. The posture gives the upper torso an excellent vertical and horizontal stretch. The spinal muscles and abdomen gets toned.
How to do-
- Sit in dandasana(sit erect with both your legs extended together in front of your torso, your torso should be perpendicular to the floor).
- Fold the right leg at the knees and then the left leg and sit on your heels. Rest the palms on your thighs.
- Take your hands behind your back, make a fist of the right palm and hold the right wrist with the left palm. Relax the shoulders.
- Inhale and first lean backwards a little from the waist opening up the chest.
- Exhale and slowly bend forwards from the waist, bringing the forehead onto the ground in front of your knees. Collapse the shoulders.
- Maintain this position for about one minute with normal breathing.
- Now inhale and slowly come up to the sitting position.
- Repeat the practice a few more times.
- Release your hands and come back to dandasana.
- Close your eyes and relax.
The upper back, hands and shoulders get fully stretched in this asana. It strengthens your knees and ankles. Sasankasana removes tension and relieves stiffness in the upper back and neck muscles and therefore is good for neck and as well as back pain. The asana enhances blood flow to the head and refreshes and stimulates the brain. It improves digestion and removes constipation. Sasankasana gives flexibility to the spine and can relieve many spinal problems. This asana is a very good treatment for persons with dropping shoulders and correcting their posture. It is possible to cure slipped disc, if you practice this asana under the guidance of an expert yoga instructor. But most importantly, this is a good posture for breathing ailments.
People suffering from high blood pressure, slipped disc, vertigo, gastritis and peptic ulcer should avoid this practice.
– Remember to synchronize your body movements with the breathing.
– There should be no tightness in the body.
– Awareness during practice is very important.
This breathing technique is practiced in the pose and stance of a tiger breathing and it executes the movements of a tiger breathing, so therefore the name, tiger breathing. The practice draws air into all three lobes of the lungs, helping to expand the breathing capacity, and at the same time releasing tension in the spine and surrounding tissues.
How to do-
- Sit in vajrasana(sit erect with the buttocks resting on both the heels and palms resting on the thighs).
- Lean forward and place your hands flat on the floor in line with the shoulders with fingers pointing forward. Your arms, thighs, and heels should be about one shoulder width apart. Your arms and thighs should be straight and perpendicular to the floor.
- Now you are in a position where your palms are pressed on the ground and you are standing on your knees.
- While inhaling, raise your head and look at the ceiling. At the same time, depress the spine, making it concave.
- Exhale and arch the spine and bend the head downward, bringing the chin towards the chest.
- This completes one round of tiger breathing. Repeat the practice for five more rounds.
Maintains and improves flexibility of the spine and tones the spinal nerves. Tiger breathing stimulates blood circulation and promotes digestion. It deepens the breath and is good for breathing ailments such as Asthma. It relieves hypertension, head ache, back pain, neck pain and is good for menstrual disorders. Strengthens and stretches the muscles of the abdomen, back, buttocks, hips and legs. Relaxes the sciatic nerves. Loosens up the legs. Reduces weight from the hips and thighs. Tiger pose strengthens the core body and stimulates the nervous, lymphatic and reproductive systems.
People with severe back problems, chronic injury to the back, hips and knees should avoid this practice.
– Co- ordinate body movements with breathing.
– Keep your eyes closed and practice with awareness.
– Do not bend the arms or move the thighs forwards and backwards.