The Yoga Tutor

Vibhagha Pranayama

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 45 ]

The lungs have 3 distinct regions (or lobes), which we will explore further in the next lesson. The Sanskrit word vibhagha means "section," or "division."

Vibhagha pranayama teaches lobular or sectional breathing-control of the breath within each of these three distinct regions of the lungs.

This practice is the A-B-C of pranayama and is the foundation for good breath control and the bedrock of good health.

The lungs are divided into three major sections:
  1. Adhama, the inferior or lower abdominal area.
  2. Madhyama, the mid or intercostal (ribcage) area.
  3. Adhyama, the superior, high or clavicular area.

When all three aspects of this lobular breathing are practiced together in succession, this is what referred to as mahat yoga pranayama, or the 'complete yogic breath'.

The capacity to breath into each of the three sections, or lobes of the lungs reveals effects on different regions of the body and their associated disorders. In general:

  • Adham Pranayama affects abdominal and lower limbs
  • Madhyam Pranayama affects the chest and upper limb
  • Adhyam Pranayama affects the head and neck
  • Mahat Yoga Pranayama affects the whole body

In the practice of vibhagha pranayama, we divide the breathing practice into three parts, focusing on each area individually and then, at the end, perform them all together as the mahat yoga pranayama.

The breath (both inhalation and exhalation) should move through the nostrils only. When breathing, both the incoming and the outgoing breath should be of equal length and volume...


NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

"The Science of Yoga is a course worthy of

leather binding and an honored place in the
finest libraries in the world 
... It is indeed a masterful work."


Dr. John Michael Christian


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