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The Complete Yoga Breath—Step 1—The Larynx

Complete Yoga Breath with Sound!

Links to Breath series

Click images below for detailed instructions.

Breathe FROM the larynx to inhale and exhale for the Complete Yoga Breath

Abdominal breathing for the Complete Yoga Breath - fills the lower part of the lungs

Ribcage Breathing - Helps Asthma - fills the middle of the lungs

Collarbone Breathing - Fills the top of the lungs

Sukh-Purvak Variation

Traditional Buddhist Breath Meditation

Sing or Speak with Power
How To Sing
or Speak
with Power

Ellekari, a 4-year-old child, learns how to breathe into a soprano trombone.
How To Blow
Your Own Horn
Circle on larynxThe best way to understand this breath technique is to listen to the sound of my breathing here. I repeat this breath link, because it is important for you to hear it and learn it before you attempt to learn the next 4 steps of the Complete Yoga Breath. If you have the sound of speakers connected to your computer, you will learn this much faster.

The breath link is also on every page of this site (above right), in case you want to listen again at another time. Once you actually hear it, it will make sense.

Look at the red circle in the image here of Eugenia. If you place your fingers on your collarbone and keep moving them to the center where the indentation is (and the red circle), you will find the spot where the larynx is (more details given below).

The ancient wisdom of breathing consciously is the most important aspect of Yoga. Watch a sleeping baby's stomach as it expands like a balloon and then deflates naturally, and listen to where the wonderful sound of the baby's breath originates—in the throat. To be precise, place your fingers on your throat and swallow to feel the area where the first step of the Complete Yoga Breath physically begins—your larynx (also the area of the 5th Chakra).

You will learn all the steps of this incredible breath technique, but it is important to feel comfortable with this step before going to the next (the diaphragm muscle). There is no rush. Take each step, one at a time. When you combine all steps in a constant flow of inhalation and exhalation, you have learned the Complete Yoga Breath. Don't be surprised if you get a bit dizzy the first time you succeed from the burst of oxygen to your brain!

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This is often the most difficult for a beginner, but it is vital that you master this before you continue.
  • Stand in front of a mirror and look at your throat. Place your fingertips on the center of your collarbone until you feel the depression in your throat, the hollow, soft spot. Swallow and feel it. This is what you are going to concentrate on when you inhale. Basically, you are going to inhale from the same spot where you would normally clear your throat. The sound actually originates right from the larynx.
  • The air will still enter through your nostrils, but you will not “use” your nose to inhale. You will use your larynx as the source of power. Make the same sound I do. Let the sound be heard.
  • Close your mouth and relax your lips, facial muscles, and jawbone.
  • Now sit on the floor with your back straight and your legs crossed. Relax your shoulders and arms. If this is difficult, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, relaxed. Or better yet, sit right where you are and lift your entire spine up. Relax your shoulders. Think about what you are going to do next.
  • Try to inhale through your larynx. As you let the air pass through your nostrils, feel the power of the inhalation directly from that spot in your throat (feel it with your fingers).
  • Listen to my breathing and try to follow me. Don’t constrict your larynx. Instead, get the feeling that your it has enlarged and relaxed. Remember, it is the opening of the tube that goes all the way down to the coccyx (where the root Chakra is).
  • Listen to the new sound you create. It is not the same as when you breathe normally with the nose as the source of the inhalation. It is louder, more expansive. Compare the difference in the sound when you breathe normally through your nose and when you practice this step with the larynx. Some people sound as if they are snoring in the beginning. This will pass as you get the hang of it. I go on and on about this spot with the larynx because it's so new to everyone that it can easily be misunderstood.

Even if you are inhaling from the larynx, your mouth is closed at all times with this breath technique, because as Yogi Ramacharaka states, “the air, when it enters the lungs is as different from the outside air, as is distilled water different from the water of the cistern. The intricate purifying organization of the nostrils, arresting and holding the impure particles in the air, is as important as is the action of the mouth in stopping fish bones and preventing them from being carried on to the stomach. Man should no more breathe through his mouth than he would attempt to take food through his nose.”

If you breathe with your mouth open, for whatever reason, think about what he wrote and start practicing this with your mouth closed (but always relaxed).

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It is possible to breathe very slowly and deeply with this technique. Breathing through the larynx with the mouth closed is quite useful when you have a cold and find it hard to breathe through your nose. The air will still pass through a stuffy nose when you inhale from the larynx. And when you don’t open your mouth to inhale, your cold will disappear sooner. You need to be able to do this step of the Complete Yoga Breath before you continue to the next step, the diaphragm muscle.

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