SUN SALUTATION BREATHING is a series of exercises in which we use the movements of the arms to open up the chest cavity. We stand with the body as straight and relaxed as possible. Our palms are placed together in front of our chest. Then as we inhale, we interlock the fingers and turn the palms away from the body as if to push something away. The inhalation takes place slowly until the full extension of the arms, which remained joined at the fingers. Then we exhale bending the arms at the elbows and bringing the hands back in front of the chest again. That is one inhalation and one exhalation. One may hold his breath for a few seconds with the lungs full and the arms extended. This is done three times each at four levels angles.
a. Straight out from the body on a horizontal plane.
b. At a 45 degree angle towards the sky.
c. Straight up in a vertical direction.
d. Straight up and then back as far as possible without bending in the head or upper back backwards. When these movements have been mastered, one can begin to introduce the breathing rhythm 4:2:4:2 which means that one counts mentally to 4 on the inhalation, 2 during the retention of air in the lungs, 4 during the exhalation and 2 during the holding of the air out of the lungs.
Benefits: This exercise opens up the chest cavity and the muscles of breathing, forces the individual to breath deeply, and breaks down the various muscular blockages. The lungs are purified and greater oxygenation takes place.