The Grand Yoga Breath or Mahat Yoga Pranayama -
Mahat yoga pranayama is a powerful invigorating breathing technique that involves the breath reaching every part of the lungs. It is energising and relaxing and balances the mind, body and emotions. Is is also called Sectional or Lobular Breathing. Swami Gitananda calls it the ABC of Pranayama. Derived from Sanskrit, mahat means "great" or "grand," and pranayama means "breathing technique.”
Grand Yoga Breath
We use the 3 mudras and the sections of the lungs and finally the sound A-U-M to complete the full power breathing technique.
Some Benefits of mahat yoga pranayama include:
• Promotes heart health by maintaining a healthy heart rate and blood pressure
• Increases awareness of the lungs and consciousness of the breath, optimising lung capacity
• Helps to feel deeply connected to yourself and peaceful
• Promotes feelings of groundedness
Isolating the breath in each of the 3 sections of the lungs
The breathing involves isolating each section of the lungs by use of the 3 mudras, These link up energy terminals in the hands and make connections to part of the brain (Medulla Oblongata at the back of the brain) which governs sectional breathing.
Sitting upright with your back well supported start with the sectional breathing into each lung.
1. Breathing into the Lower lobes with the Chin Mudra (Thumb and index finger touching and the other 3 fingers stretched out) and place the thumb and index finger into the groin.
Breathe in and feel the breath slowly move from the front, side and into the back of the lowest part of the lungs. Breathe out and feel the breath release from the back, side and to the front. Do this at least 3 times.
2. Breathing into the Mid lobes with the Chinmaya Mudra (Thumb and index finger touching and the other 3 fingers curled into the palm of the hand) and place the thumb and index finger into the groin.
Breathe in and feel the breath slowly move from the front, side and into the back. Breathe out and feel the breath release from the back, side and to the front. Do this at least 3 times.
3. Breathing into the Top lobes with the Adhi Mudra (Make fists with the thumb tucked in to the palm and all your fingers wrapping around the thumb) place place your fists into the groin.
Breathe in and feel the breath slowly move from the top of the clavicles, under the armpit and to the top of the shoulders. Breathe out and feel the breath release from the top of the shoulders, under the armpit and to the top of the chest. Do this at least 3 times.
4. Connecting the entire breath - The complete unity of the Grand Yoga Breath . Now we use the final Brahma Mudra (both fists placed lightly against the solar plexus) which connects the breath with all 3 sections of the lungs.
Breathe in starting from the front of the lower lobes, then pull in the chest and finally take the breath right up into the top of the shoulders. All in one in-breath! Breathe out and start breathing out from the back of the lower lobes, mid-chest and top of the shoulders.
Incorporating the healing A-U-M vibration with each out breath.
Ahh - abdominal breath affecting all the structures in the lower abdomen, pelvis and legs.
Ooo - mid-chest breath, affecting all the structures in the upper abdomen and thoracic cavity.
Mmm - high-chest, affects the lymphatic system and all the structures in the head.
I have been teaching this to my students for many years after I attended a brilliant Pranayama Course with my learned yoga colleague Lesley Doveton. The course and particularly this breath demonstrated to me how powerful yoga breathing can be in helping you to feel calm and relaxed, both in the body and the mind.