Breathing in Humans And Types of Breathing

breathing, types of breathing , There are basically three types of breathing:1) Thoracic breathing (mid chest), 2) Clavicular breathing (upper chest/throat, collarbone area), 3) Diaphragmatic breathing (belly, abdomen)
Emotions have a lot to do with breathing. When a person is relaxed and happy, diaphragmatic breathing is a natural result. When people are angry, fearful, or otherwise ‘tight,’ they mostly use thoracic or clavicular breathing. Some people don’t even realise that they freeze between breaths, stopping the breathing process altogether. This can happen when these emotions are conscious or unconscious. It has been suggested by some scientists, that perhaps people use thoracic or clavicular breathing in order to block angry, aggressive, anxious or fearful emotions from their conscious minds. These powerful emotions have strong associations with the lower parts of the body, including associations with the lower chakras, so it only stands to reason that the breath is shallower in order to escape these emotions, or at least tone them down.

Just as emotions can trigger certain breathing patterns, which can be learned and habitualized, breathing can also recreate or reinforce an emotional atmosphere. It becomes a potential tool for interrupting, inspiring, or controlling emotional response patterns. The breath plays a crucial role in whether one’s disposition is calm or anxious.

Chest breathing is also a result of self-consciousness about image in this society, since abdominal breathing is not seen as a very attractive thing in adults. The female hour glass figure is preserved by using chest breathing rather than diaphragmatic breathing. 

Chest breathing is a part of fight or flight reaction and it causes the human organism to think that it is always in a stressful or dangerous situation. Chest breathing gives the mind anxiety, unsteadiness and tension. 

All meditation techniques, or relaxation techniques are ineffective unless chest breathing is replaced by diaphragmatic breathing. The habit of breathing into the diaphragm must be consciously practiced with diligence before it becomes a person’s natural and unconscious way of breathing. 

The diaphragm is the muscle that causes the lungs to move and is located underneath the lungs, above the stomach. When the diaphragm moves downward, the lungs inhale. When the diaphragm moves upward, the lungs exhale. Diaphragmatic breathing is evident when the lower belly extends on an inhale rather than the chest.



There are basically three types of breathing:
1) Thoracic breathing (mid chest) 
2) Clavicular breathing (upper chest/throat, collarbone area) 
3) Diaphragmatic breathing (belly, abdomen)

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing is the most efficient breathing there is. This is because most of the blood is circulating in the lower parts of the lungs, and oxygen infusion is mostly happening there. The diaphragmatic breathing pulls the oxygen lower into the lungs, thus increasing the efficiency of oxygen infusion into the blood stream because the oxygen is exposed to more of the blood. Interestingly, children and infants do this naturally. It is only later that adult humans stop using this most efficient way of breathing. 

2. Thoracic Breathing
Thoracic breathing (chest breathing), fills only the middle and upper portion of the lungs, not the lower portion where most of the blood is. 

3. Clavicular Breathing
Clavicular breathing is centred around the collarbones, and only comes into play when the body needs great amounts of oxygen, for instance, while exercising.

These three types of breathing can be coordinated into an exercise in which a deep breath is taken. This is a complete yogic breath incorporating all of the lung capacity, not just portions of it. First the lower part of the lungs are filled, diaphragmatic (belly), the middle portion is filled, thoracic (mid-chest), then the uppermost part, clavicular (upper tips of the lungs near collarbone) is filled. An example would be a yawn or a sigh. Everyone has experienced how relaxing it is to let out a big sigh or yawn.

* This article is taken from Vikasa 200 Hour Teacher Training November 2016 Manual 1.

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