Yoga Exercises to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

Published by LivAyur
at November 8, 2021

yoga lung exercises

Yoga is a science that has been practised in India for thousands of years. Besides spiritual achievements, the practice of Yoga has numerous, beneficial physiological effects on the body. Yoga and health go hand in hand. Yoga relaxes and calms the mind, apart from strengthening and tuning the body and bringing it into harmony with each other.

There are several classical paths that have been described to achieve the goal of a healthy life. Pranayama is an ancient Yogic technique, a physical and spiritual practice that produces numerous psycho-physical effects in the body, apart from its specific effects on respiratory functions. Therefore, Pranayama has become a standard fare at community recreation programmes as well as health clubs. 

Pulmonary function tests (or PFTs) are extremely simple screening procedures that are performed with the use of a standardised equipment (such as a spirometer) to measure lung function. This specific test offers useful information about the minimum levels of lung function. The breath-holding time successfully measures the threshold levels of the respiratory centre to the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (Pco2) level.

PFTs have been studied by practitioners of both Yoga and Pranayama. They have successfully shown that a regular practice of pranayama techniques is beneficial to the human body. Pranayama has a favourable influence, and it causes a significant improvement in lung functions. 

The Study

A study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of pranayama on diverse parameters of respirometer and its effects on lung function and blood pressure.

In this clinical trial, 60 patients with mild to moderate hypertension were selected randomly and divided into 2 groups of 30 individuals each. In Group A, 30 individuals practised Pranayama, whereas those in Group B were given a placebo drug. It was found that those in Group A benefitted the most as it demonstrated marked changes in symptoms as well as biochemistry investigations. However, when it comes to Group B (or the placebo group), there were insignificant changes in both symptoms and biochemistry investigations.

The specific Yogic and Pranayama techniques that the subjects in Group A were made to follow include Pranava, Nadi Shuddhi, and Savitri pranayama. These subjects sat in Padmasana position. All three types of Pranayama were done one after the other.

Let’s look at the three pranayama techniques:

  • Pranava Pranayama

This is the simplest pranayama of all and is the last pranayama, according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. This is an instant meditation for 2-3 minutes. Individuals from all age groups can practice Pranava Pranayama. During this pranayama, you need to concentrate on your inhalation and exhalation. Alternatively, you can focus on the word “Om” in your mind during the practice of this pranayama.

  • Nadi Shuddhi

Nadi Shuddhi or Nadi Shodhan pranayama helps in relaxing the mind and preparing it to enter a meditative state. Practising it for just a few minutes each day helps in keeping the mind peaceful, calm, and happy.

  • Savitri Pranayama

This pranayama practice can be done anywhere and anytime, and you can also synchronise it with your footsteps while walking. However, it is best performed in an upright, sitting position. To practice this Pranayama, you need to breathe deeply and count slowly.

  • Inhale for an 8-count (8 seconds)
  • Hold your breath for a 4-count (4 seconds)
  • Exhale for an 8-count (8 seconds)
  • Hold your breath for a 4-count (4 seconds)

20 minutes of practice in the 8:4:8:4 rhythm can offer deep relaxation as well as rejuvenating effects of several hours of sleep.

On a Final Note

Pranayama is a specific type of yogic breathing exercise. The resultant effects of pranayama can be successfully used as a lung-strengthening tool to combat many lung diseases such as asthma, post-pneumonia recoveries, allergic bronchitis, tuberculosis, and several other occupational diseases. 

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