We recommend the following techniques as per the Krichnamacharya tradition:
On the exhale
In the Krishnamacharya tradition, the exhale begins with the abdomen contracting, before the chest deflates.
The most effective way to practice this if you’re not familiar with it, is to lay down with one hand on your abdomen, and one on your chest, with your elbows rested on the ground, if they reach.
Then you’ll feel the distinct difference between the two cavities.
On the inhale
Since our focus for this practice is the exhale, we recommend you simply allow your chest and abdomen to rise naturally together, or whatever you feel most comfortable with.
Again, in the Krishnamacharya tradition, the chest would rise before the abdomen.
Should this technique feel in any way uncomfortable, please feel free to practice what feels right, for you.
This order of inflation and deflation in the thoracic and abdominal cavities follows the natural order in which the breath enters and leaves the lungs. It enters from the top on the inhale and fills the lungs down to the bottom lobes.
The reverse happens as you exhale. The abdomen contracting before the chest assists the breath being pushed up from the lower lobes and out through the nose.
Nostril or mouth breathing?
The nose is considered to be the natural organ for breathing. The hairs, mucous and blood vessels inside the nostrils are there to filter, moisten and warm the air before it enters the lungs.
In this tradition, the exhale is also through the nostrils to regulate the breath.
If you are more comfortable exhaling out through your mouth, please do whatever feels right for you.
Who is Krishnamacharya?
T. Krishnamacharya lived for 101 years between 1888 – 1989.
”You may have never have heard of him, but Tirumalai Krishnamacharya influenced or perhaps even invented your yoga. Whether you practice the dynamic series of Pattabhi Jois, the refined alignments of BKS Iyengar, the classical postures of Indra Devi, or the customized vinyasa [of Desikachar], your practice stems from one source: a five-foot, two-inch Brahmin born more than one hundred years ago in a small south Indian Village”. (Yoga Journal, May/June 2001)
“Master your breath, let the self be in bliss, contemplate on the sublime within you.” T. Krishnamacharya