Physical And Mental Benefits Of Breathing In Yoga

By Patricia | February 11, 2009
Yoga Breathing Techniques

Deep and correct breathing is of paramount importance and is the basic lesson in yoga. It feeds the body's tissues, organs and glands with oxygen and removes much of our body waste and impurities. However, very few people know how to breathe properly. This is apparent from the physical and mental disposition of people in general.

There are three types of breathing:

Thoracic - In this kind of breathing, the thorax expands and the abdomen hardly moves. Only the middle part of the lungs expands.

Abdominal - The abdomen expands and provides more space for the lungs to expand.

Clavicular - The upper part of the lungs expands only.

Yogic breathing is a combination of these three types of breathing techniques which form a single breathing pattern and is also the basis for controlled breathing technique in Pranayam. In yogic breathing, we inhale slowly letting the abdomen expand a little and fill the lower part of the lungs, then followed by expansion of the chest when we draw in the stomach slightly, and lastly followed by filling of the uppermost part of the lungs. The exhalation is done in reverse order.

Yogic breathing is a gentle and continuous movement.

The various types of yoga breathing techniques which are normally practiced for physical and mental health are Bhastrika (The Bellows), Kapalbhati (The Cleansing Breath), Ujjayi (Energy Renewing Breath), Anulom•Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing), Nari Shodhan (Alternate Breathing), Brahmri among others. There are many therapeutic benefits to be derived from their practice. Once familiar with them, you should practice these breathing techniques in your daily routine for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes for the prevention and cure of various ailments as well as for mental equilibrium.

Various physical and mental benefits are -

  • exercises all the internal organs of the body
  • strengthens the circulatory and the nervous system
  • strengthens the weak parts of the body
  • improves digestion
  • cures all stomach related problems including constipation, acidity, colitis and gastric problems
  • blood pressure becomes normal; low BP is raised to normal levels and high BP comes to normal levels
  • helps regulate thyroid
  • controls weight; it helps in losing and gaining weight, as the case may be.
  • beneficial for diabetes, cholesterol, kidney problem
  • cures chronic diseases like asthma, migraine, multiple sclerosis and even beneficial for incurable diseases like cancer etc.
  • cures diseases related to the heart, lungs and brain; people suffering from epilepsy, Parkinson, and similar conditions have found improvement
  • cures hepatitis and liver related problems
  • controls premature ageing, hair loss, wrinkles
  • eyesight and hearing improves
  • beneficial for arthritis, rheumatism, osteoporosis
  • calms and purifies the nerves
  • stabilizes the mind, increases the mental faculties
  • improves power of concentration and memory
  • cures insomnia
  • removes negative thoughts and makes you productive and creative
  • balances the body and mind and develops intellectual and spiritual abilities.
  • mental peace and equilibrium
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