Deep Breathing and Heavy Breathing


What is the difference between deep breathing and heavy breathing? Somewhere on the Ananda website I find that heavy breathing can make the mind restless. So double breathing should also be done with caution. At other places deep breathing practice is given.

—Anil, India


Deep breathing is done calmly, fully and without tension. It is also done from the diaphragm, a membrane located between the bottom of the lungs and the top of the stomach. If done correctly, the stomach area will expand as you breathe in, and contract as you breathe out. You will also feel the calming effects of deep breathing in your whole being, both body and mind. When done incorrectly, not using the diaphragm, your upper chest will fill with air and your shoulders will rise and fall creating tension in the upper body. Double breathing is done using the diaphragm as well, so should not produce this kind of tension.

If you are having trouble understanding how to breathe from the diaphragm, lie on your back in Savasana, the corpse pose. In this position you can only breathe from the diaphragm. In Savasana, you can place your hand on your stomach and watch as it rises and falls as you inhale and exhale.

Heavy breathing, on the other hand, is restless, is done in the upper chest, and produces restlessness.