Good Morning Yoga Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 6

Stretching Our Lungs

15 min - Practice


Alana invites us to find a comfortable seat as she leads us through this breathing practice designed to explore stretching our lung capacity and expanding the breath. You will feel calm and relaxed.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

May 23, 2016
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(distant waves crashing) Welcome back. So I'd like to share a basic breathing practice. You could consider it like a pre-Pranayama. It's very basic. We're exploring stretching our lung capacity, so expanding the breath.

They can be a nice practice to do before Anasama practice, or even before a Pranayama practice. You may hear the world Pranayama here and there. Pranayama is this rhythmic control or extension of the breath, something like that. So we'll explore that together. First step is to find your seat, find a comfortable seated position, I'm propped up on a small bolster with a blanket padding my ankles.

You might be sitting up on a chair. I'm just taking a few moments to choose your seat. And then as you choose your seat, commit to stillness. And you might find that there's a dynamic movement happening inside within a settling, within a calm stillness. And we'll begin by observing our breath.

We're simply observing the quality of your breath in this moment. And naturally, right naturally, as we do that, our breath tends to lengthen, as we bring our attention from the outside inward, pratyahara, this inward drawing of the senses towards our inner landscape, our awareness, the breath begins to deepen or lengthen. A few more moments here observing your breath. And as you observe your breath, continue to settle into your seat so softening any tension maybe through the shoulders. Find a bit more length through your neck.

A sense of grounding for your pelvis and your sit bones. A continual reminder to soften the jaw, kind through the eyes. As you observe your breath, draw your attention towards your nostrils, and can you begin to get an open spaciousness through the back of the nostrils, so this like open-wide sipping. Gently inhale through the nostrils, exhale out the mouth. Let's do that again, inhale through the nostrils, exhale through the mouth.

Okay, and then moving into our practice, breathing in to all four parts of the lungs, so to speak, as an experiment. So the first step after finding your seat, grounding, settling, and observing our breath, observing your breath, is to begin to awaken the Bundhas. What I mean by Bundhas, Mula Bandha, so this drawing upward quality of the pelvic floor, and then drawing the navel towards the spine. Oftentimes we hear this as like an abdominal lock, Uddiyana Bandha. So creating this inward quality of support without clenching or gripping, just a slight awareness, an essence of lifting, just like you would flex your bicep, your muscle.

This inward quality, these muscles within, lifting, lengthening, then we'll meet that with an Ujjayi Ebra, so this wide breath through the rib cage. And sometimes you can hear it through the back of the throat, it's like sipping up the entire ocean through a straw, through the nose. So let's try that together. So awakening the Bandhas, having a sense of this upward lift without clenching or gripping. And a deepening the Ujjayi Ebra.

So there's very little movement in the belly actually, it's different than a full belly breath. We're breathing and stretching into really the rib cage and our lungs. Good, the next step is to begin to inhale into the front of the floating ribs. So let's try this together, awakening the Bandhas, Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha, and take a breath into the front floating ribs. And you might, for me it's helpful to bring my hands there so I can feel that relationship.

Inhale together into the front floating ribs. And exhale. It's that simple. Again inhale. And exhale a few more times.

Inhale in the front of the ribs. And exhale. One more time, front of the ribs, inhale. And exhale, moving our breath into the side ribs, intercostal muscles, and you might bring your hands there if it's helpful. Inhale into the side ribs, and exhale.

A few times, Bandhas lifting, engaged, inhale. And exhale. Two more times, side ribs, side of the lungs. Exhale. One more time, sides of the lungs.

And exhale. And the next step is the back of the heart or between the shoulder blades. Because we can't see it or really touch it, it can be a bit more mysterious. So let's try it together, again awakening the Bandhas, getting a sense of that inward support. Inhale into the back of the heart.

And exhale. Inhale back of the heart, exhale, two more times. As you inhale you might feel a slight lift up through the chest. Exhale. One more time, back of the heart, inhale.

Exhale. Moving our awareness and breath to the top of the lungs, top of the chest, inhale, feel that full expansion, upper branches of the lungs. And exhale. Again inhale top of the lungs, exhale, two more times, keeping the belly quiet, the Bandhas engaged, inhale. Chest expands, lungs expand.

Exhale. And last time inhale top of the lungs, and exhale. Adding those parts together, as you're ready, we'll inhale into the front of the ribs, pause, inhale into the side ribs, and exhale. Again inhale front of the floating ribs, pause, inhale side ribs, pause, and exhale. Two more times, inhale front of the ribs, pause, sides, exhale.

Last time front of the ribs. Pause. Sides. And exhale. Adding on the back of the heart, inhale front of the ribs, pause, sides, pause, back of the heart breath in, and exhale.

Are you with me? Again inhale front of the ribs. Pause, sides, inhale. Back of the heart. Exhale.

One more time, front of the ribs. Pause, sides. Pause, back of the heart breath in, and exhale. Adding on the top of the lungs. As you're ready, inhale front of the ribs, pause, sides, back of the heart, pause, top of the lungs, and exhale.

So we're increasing, we're stretching our lung capacity. And try that again, again engaging the floor of the pelvis, Uddiyana Bandha, as you're ready inhale front of the ribs, pause, sides, pause, back of the heart, top of the lungs, exhale. Last time, inhale front of the lungs, front of the ribs, pause, sides, pause, back of the heart, pause, top of the lungs, exhale. Breathing in all four corners at once, expanding the breath. And exhale.

Three more times, full breaths, stretching, expanding the lungs, all four parts. Exhale. Inhale expanding all parts. Exhale. Last one inhale, expanding all areas at once.

And exhale. Taking a moment here to relax the effort of the breath. Observe and notice. And as you rest in the effects of the practice, become aware of perhaps the first thought, feeling or sensation to arise from that clear canvas. Gentle inhale through the nose.

Exhale out the mouth. And joining the hands together, anjali mudra. Closing with an om. Breathing in. (lengthy intoning) Om.



Sally E
1 person likes this.
That was just what I need. Thank you Alana
Alana Mitnick
Hi Sally, I am so delighted to hear this. Inhale...exhale... xoA
Elaine Fox
1 person likes this.
My fiance just had shoulder surgery and the doctor advised him to breathe into the right lung to reactivate it after the anesthesia and nerve block. This was PERFECT. We'll be doing it regularly! Thank you so much!
Alana Mitnick
Hi Elaine, Wow! So glad to hear that his doctor is recommending breathing into his right lung. Please keep me posted on how the practice is going. Best wishes to both of you!
Jenny S
1 person likes this.
Sunrise the way, you have a most beautiful OM 🕉 ❤️🙏🏻
Alana Mitnick
Good morning Jenny! Isn't sunrise the most magical hour?! I hope your day continues to unfold beautifully. Love, Alana
Sandra Židan
Nice practice, Alana! It really helps to breath better and easier! Kind regards!
Alana Mitnick
Hi Sandra Ž, I'm so happy to hear this! Thank you for being here! Warmly, Alana 
Patricia S
1 person likes this.
So happy I found this one.  I've been doing lots of your later videos but looked for this because I have a cold and a lung condition and was so pleased that I could do it!  Blessings to you! 
Alana Mitnick
HI Patricia S, I'm so delighted that this practice resonated with you. Wishing you well on your healing journey. Thank you for being here! Love, Alana 
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