Normal Breathing Process Explained

We shall now see the Basic Breathing Process comprising of inhalation and exhalation. The figure shows the basic movements of the body parts during breathing,
The following processes occur during inhalation and exhalation

What Happens During

Contraction of external intercostals muscles leads to elevation of ribs and sternum, increased front to back dimension of thoracic cavity, lowering of the pressure in the lungs. This allows fresh O2 laden air to enter the lungs.

Contraction of diaphragm results in lowering of the diaphragm resulting in increased vertical dimension and reduction of pressure in the lungs. This also allows fresh O2 laden air to enter the lungs. The involvement of diaphragm in the process of inhalation greatly increases the air moved to lungs. Thus with more air, we get higher level of blood oxygenation. In majority of the cases, people use only chest muscles which can be considered as incomplete breathing.

What Happens during Exhalation?

The process of exhalation is exactly reverse of inhalation process. See figure .

How To Breathe Correctly?

We now shall see a quiet breathing process consisting of smooth inhalation followed by smooth exhalation.With each inhalation the abdominal area should expand .With each exhalation the abdominal area should contract.

There are no intentional pauses after inhalation and exhalation. The pauses in breathing are called “Kumbhak”. Intentional pause after inhalation is called the “Antar Kumbhak” and the pause after exhalation is called “Bahya Kumbhak”.

Most natural breathing is smooth inhalation – an unintentional momentary pause to begin exhalation followed by an unintentional pause to begin next inhalation.It has to be smooth,steady and controlled.

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