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200Hrs Yoga Teacher Training

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Beginner Pranayama. Belly, Rib Cage, and Kidney

Pranayama

Today we will go through some of the basic breathing exercises (Pranayama).

Pranayama is the expansion of breath and the acquisition of energy. You might hear new concepts but don’t worry about them too much, we will learn everything in due time. For now, pay attention to learn about:

  • Belly breathing
    Benefits:
    Helps increase the supply of blood and nutrients to muscle blood and bones.
    Increases supply of oxygen and nutrients to cells in the body.
    Supports muscle growth.

    Rib cage breathing
    Benefits:
    It improves your core muscle stability.
    It improves your body’s ability to tolerate intense exercise

    Kidney breathing
    Benefits:
    strengthening kidney energy.
    positive influence on the reproductive and renal systems.
    Increases longevity.


Responses

  1. Hello Hira! Is it possible that you were rather hard on yourself during the exercise? Lower your blocks or use a pillow under the rib cage. Take it easy, allow your body time to adjust to a new experience. It is not normal to feel pain after any of the breathing exercises. Usually pain is an indication your body gives to let you know something is wrong. If it persists please consult professionals. Take care, much love!

  2. Hi,
    I have 2 questions regarding this awesome breathing exercise :
    1/ Belly breathing
    It’s not precised about deep breath, so do we inhale till the air fills in the belly & diaphragm only? Not extending to the chest?

    2/ Rib & Kidneys breathing
    It’s precised to breath deeply, in doing so, all parts from my belly till chest area all inflated. Then, what is the difference / the point between the rib & kidneys breathing as I feel all belly to chest parts inflating when doing these exercises? Are those breathing basically to focus our mind onto certain part; rib cage and kidneys ?

    Thank you.

  3. Hey Gita!
    1/ Yes, with belly breathing you will not extend the chest. Keep the air movement in the belly and diaphragm.
    2/ Deep breath is not the same as full yogic breath ( when you breathe belly till chest fully with air). You can breathe deeply and still direct the air more specifically. So when you do rib breathing then direct your breath to that area and try to feel the expansion/movement to the outer sides of your chest. When you do kidney breathing (preferably in child’s pose), tuck your belly in a bit and try to feel the movement more in your lower back. If it is accessible to you then ask your friend to place their two hands on your kidneys to help you feel the area more 🙂

    Always stay patient and kind to yourself in new practices!

  4. I feel discomfort in my knees entering to childshood with my knees either together or open. Tried putting a pillow on the sit bones and got discomfort in thighs back or front.

    My feet also dont like this position of child’s pose. Any added cushion that might help comfort in this kidney breathing? Or poses hold to prepare the body for this type of breathing.

    I strained my low back doing a deadlift 4 years ago, not sure that is the cause but might have caused some initial mis alignment

  5. Hey Riley!
    It seems to us that you have a problem with your meniscus. It can be from either rotating the knees in or out. You need to make sure the knees and foot line up at all times. So if your knee rolls out, you need to turn your foot out. If your knee rolls in, you need to turn your foot in. Otherwise, you have to adjust the knee from the top of the thigh.
    Childs pose – put a towel underneath the ankles, if the problem is the ankles. Two towels right behind the knee, if the problem is the knee.
    Our lead teacher Peewee thinks you have some kind of meniscus inflammation in the knee and she advises you to go and have it checked out by the doctor. It is probably not from the deadlift unless you tore your meniscus during the deadlift when you rotated your foot in.

  6. Hi, after I did the three Pranayama exercises in a row, I felt dizzy in my head. Is that normal or did I do something wrong? Did I breath to deep and intensive?

  7. Hi Sarah,
    Some people experience this when they are usually new to the practice and have not given proper breather gaps between pranayama…
    Or even suddenly at once done it for an extended amount of time.

    During Pranayama, many times there is hyperventilation.
    Hyperventilation means breathing that is deeper and more rapid than normal.

    Now, this hyperventilation causes sometimes a decrease in CO2 in the blood, giving the feeling of washout or dizziness… Makes you feel light headed. Sometimes be short of breath also.

    So it is okay. Nothing to be worried about Just take it to step by step.
    1. Start with a few rounds at the beginning and then increase it every week.

    2. After every pranayama, come back to your natural breath. Or sometimes if you feel like take gaps between each set of rounds even in the same pranayama.

    3. Total amount of time taken to practise Pranayama should not exceed more than 20 – 25 mins (unless personally advised by your GURU – spiritual master) This includes few warm ups, in the beginning, gaps in between and even few mins relaxation towards the end…

  8. Thank you! I have no questions, only comments …
    Doing the excersices I did not find it difficult but actually, when trying my daily sun salutation to use this breathing as Lily said (KIDNEY BREATHING as bending forward and RIB DAGE BREATHING as bending backwards) I found it difficult, specially the kidney breathing… I know I just need practice! but I already feel the diference!!
    thank you Lily! for the video and explination!

  9. Hi Olivia,
    Yes they are safe and recommended for during pregnancy especially the belly breathing and rib cage.
    1. For belly breathing, avoid the block on the belly, just place one of your palms on your navel centre with elbows resting on the ground

    2. For rib cage, be gentle with the movements, instead of a block, use a lot of cusions supporting head and back together.
    3. Kidney breathing- If you can sit in vajrasana, and place the palms behind on the respective area and yhen practise the technique. Avoid bending forward.
    Most of the simple pranayama can be practised and highly recommend. Focus on longer exhalation, for they help during Labor. Bhrahmarai, Om chants, Ujjai are also very beneficial.

    -Avoid rigorous breathing techniques like kapalbhati, bhastrika and any holding of breath…
    Incase of doubts feel free to ask specifically to your teacher or a yoga therapist.

  10. Hi pewee! While kidney breathing with effort I was inhaling and exhaling because of my heavy belly?! I mean I was breathing.. not freely. Please clarify..

  11. Hi

    How would you modify the positioning for pregnant women as they should not be in supine after 12 weeks. Would you rather have their chest elevated up on a wedge or would you change the position altogether and have them do it in sitting rather?

  12. I was doing child pose ( kidney breathing) and belly breathing for past two years, 3 times a week but never did rib cage breathing trust me I never felt that relaxed and great as I felt today , big thank you ?

  13. Thank you for this wonderful practices, during the rib cage breathing the block where exactly has to be positioned ? it does not to be between the shoulder, is it? the block should be position at the end of ribs?
    thank you in advance

  14. Just to be sure. Also all these breathing exercises should be done inhaling and exhaling with nose, right?
    Thank you for your time

  15. Yes, they can be Modified By supporting with Huge cushions underneath the Head and Back and can be done seated as well. We do it seated in Happy pose or Vajrasana.
    They are safe and recommended for during pregnancy especially the belly breathing and rib cage

    1. For belly breathing, initial stages also; avoid the block on the belly, just place one of your palms on your navel centre with elbows resting on the ground.

    2. For the rib cage, be gentle with the movements, instead of a block, again use a lot of cushions supporting head and back together.
    3. Kidney breathing- If you can sit in Vajrasana, and place the palms behind on the respective area and then practise the technique… Avoid bending forward

  16. Could be… Try doing the Kidney Breathing while seated in Vajrasan… Is it the same? Hoping you are practising these Pranayama while on empty stomach (with a gap of 4-5 hours after meals) …

  17. Could be… Try doing the Kidney Breathing while seated in Vajrasan… Is it the same? Hoping you are practising these Pranayama while on empty stomach (with a gap of 4-5 hours after meals) …

  18. I yawned every two breaths I made. Do you know why? I’m sure I wasn’t sleepy. Also, my legs were numbing after 5 mins breathing. What can I do to fix them?

  19. So in kidney breathing or abdominal breathing……
    We bulge our abdomen up while breathing in…..

    The thing with breathing is that we always breath in chest
    There is no way we can breath in stomach….
    But how stomach will bulge up then?
    Well stomach bulges up when we breath and with that our diaphragm gets pushed down and we feel that our belly is bulging….
    So to do this practice as a beginner you can lay down on back close your eyes and keep one hand over chest and one on belly…
    So while doing kidney breathing only focus on bulging your belly up (means belly breathing)
    I hope this helps you 🙂

  20. About the position of the block it will be somewhere in between shoulders but little bit near middle back so that your chest opens up….
    And also you can position block as per your comfort and flexibility on any side and edge…..

  21. Yes… Only thru Nose… Unless guided in very few Pranayama especially cooling ones where we use our mouth.. Breathing practices most of times utilize the Nose.

  22. Hello, I have questions. When doing kidney breathing in child pose or any forward bend pose, i feel barely breathing / nasal congestion if not mistaken. As mention the question before, i can try to do pose Vajrasana right ?

    second is when standing or walking, i just wonder the proper breath is it when inhale my belly will inflate and when exhale my belly will go inside ? because some have told me otherwise. Thanks 🙂

  23. Many people Yawn during or after Breathing practices or Pranayama. It is one of the responses sometimes because the Brain and Body Relaxes, not just because you are sleepy. Also sometimes due Oxygen Fluctuations.

    Second Part: Some people experience this when they are usually new to the practise and have not given proper breather gaps between pranayama…
    Or even suddenly at once done it for an extended amount of time.

    During Pranayama, many times there is hyperventilation.
    Hyperventilation means breathing that is deeper and more rapid than normal.

    Now this hyperventilation causes sometimes decrease in CO2 in the blood, giving the feeling of washout or dizziness… Makes you feel light headed, have a rapid heartbeat, and be short of breath. It also can lead to numbness or tingling in your hands or feet.

    So it is okay. Nothing to be worried about Just take it step by step.
    1. Start with few rounds at the beginning and then increase it every week.

    2. After every pranayama, come back to your natural breath. Or sometimes if you feel like take gaps between each set of rounds even in the same pranayama.

    3. Total amount of time taken to practise Pranayama should not exceed more than 20 – 30 mins (unless personally advised by your GURU – spiritual master) This includes few warm-ups in the beginning, gaps in between and even few mins relaxation towards the end.

  24. Hi Amelia,
    Yes, Kidney breathing is done in the position of Child Pose.. But if it does not feel comfortable, it is okay to do in Vajrasana, like we recommend Pregnant ladies also to do the same in Vajrasana… The benefits will be the same, as long as you can focus on the Kidney space.
    For 2nd question, Your natural breathing pattern is also supposed to be using the Diaphragmatic muscles that involves the movement of belly and chest… both subtlety
    As you INHALE, the belly Inflates and
    as you EXHALE, the belly move in….
    Because if you observe the shared image, Biologically, as the belly moves out(during INHALING), Diaphragm (which is between the lungs & the Abdomen), MOVES DOWN, giving more space for Lungs to EXPAND & BREATHE IN BETTER.

    We have just forgotten our breathing over the time. Just observe a small baby sleeping and watch his belly movement. No one had to teach us breathing then.

  25. OMG.An awesome relaxation feelings after doing kidney & rib cage breathing.It’s first time I know these both techniques.Thank you so much for belly breathing too.Putting a block on my belly gives me a chance to focus deeply in the breathing process & enjoy it

  26. Hello)
    Firstly want to say that it’s amazing how I feel after practicing???
    Calm and relax)
    And the Second, as I don’t have pillow I did all the practice without, just with block on the mat. Is that okey?

  27. Hi Anastasiia,

    It is totally fine! Learning to use this pose wisely is the part of your developing practice where you listen to your body’s inner voice and do what it tells you. Your body will tell you when to rest. It might need different things on different days.

  28. Hi! if I mark this complete will I loose access to ths module..I love the video ..i will lke to be able to see it again….

  29. Dear Maria,

    You will not lose access to the module, you may access it again and over again.
    If you would like to mark it as incomplete it is fine too. So it’s easier for you to go back to the this module again.

    Yours sincerely,
    Student support.