Vibhaga Pranayama (Sectional breathing)

Sectional breathing is a preparatory breathing practice for Pranayama. It corrects the breathing pattern and increases the vital capacity of the lungs. It has three sections:

L. Starting position

Abdominal breathing or Diaphragmatic breathing (Adhama)


  • Take a deep breath slowly. This is called Puraka, the abdomen is made to bulge continuously with the air entering specially in the lower section of the lungs.
  • Before breathing out, stop the breath (Antara Kumbhaka) for a second.
  • While breathing out (Rechaka) the abdomen is drawn inwards continuously and slowly.
  • Before the breath is  taken  again, stop the breath for a second (Bahya Kumbhaka) and then breathe in.
  • Repeat the breathing cycle. Avoid jerks in the whole process. It should be smooth, continuous and relaxing.
  • The diaphragm separating the thorax from the abdomen descends during inhalation with the bulging of the abdomen. This increases the airflow into the lower sections of the lungs. The rhythmic movement of the diaphragm massages the contents of the abdomen gently, and helps the organs to function normally. It promotes the general circulation also.

Thoracic (Chest) breathing or Intercostal breathing  (Madhyama)


  • In this practice expanding  and contracting the chest only performs inhalation and exhalation . Air flows through both nostrils, slowly and continuously. the abdomen is controlled to avoid its bulging.
  • The middle lobes are opened up fully by this breathing.

Upper lobar breathing  or clavicular breathing (Adhya)


  • Raise the collar bones while inhaling.
  • Keep the abdominal muscles contracted.
  • The air is forced into the uppermost regions of the lungs thus ventilating the upper lobes. The sparingly used upper lobes of the lungs will be properly aerated by this breathing.

Full Yogic breathing


  • In full Yogic breathing technique all the other three types will be combined.
  • During inhalation, the adhama, madhyama and adhya occur sequentially and during exhalation the same sequence namely abdomen, chest and clavicular breathing occur.
  • The whole process should be relaxing and comfortable, without any tension in the face.

Four Mudras are generally associated with these sectional breathing practices.

They are:

Cin Mudra   Abdominal breathing or Adhama

Cinmaya Mudra  Thoracic or chest or Madhyama

Adi Mudra    Clavicular or Adya

Brahma Mudra   Complete Yogic breathing