Saturday, 11 February 2012

Good Breathing Exercises |

Good Breathing Exercises Photo Credit yoga image by Patrizier-Design from

While there are a number of breathing techniques that are taught in various areas of sports and fitness, traditional yoga breathing exercises, also referred to as pranayama, have been studied for their health benefits. A study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine from 2002 shows that pranayama exercises not only help in relieving stress but also improve the antioxidant levels of individuals, leading to stronger immune function. The following traditional yogic breathing exercises can be practiced alone daily or prior to yoga or other workouts.


Ujjayi comes from the Sanskrit word meaning "victory." The ujjayi breathing technique is also sometimes called "ocean breath" due to the soft sound it produces. It is practiced by slightly constricting the muscles in the throat to control the flow of air in and out of the body. The exhalation should last twice as long as the inhalation, and each breath repeated anywhere from 10 to 20 times. According to Yoga Journal, this exercise helps to calm the body and mind by slowing down the breath.


Kapalbhati, or the "cleansing breath," is used to clear toxins from the lungs and blood stream. The quick pace and full breath allow the lungs to oxygenate the blood quickly. Those practicing the technique for the first time may experience mild light-headedness. Kapalbhati is done by forcefully expelling all the air through the nose, squeezing the abdominal muscles, then inhaling and filling the lungs quickly. The stomach and diaphragm are used like bellows to pump the air. Repeat each breath in rapid succession, for 30 to 40 breaths. Kumbhaka, or breath retention, usually follows this exercise, in which the breath is held for 20 to 30 seconds, or as long as is comfortable.


Simhasana, or lion pose, is actually a yoga posture combined with a specific breathing technique. It is practiced by kneeling on the floor, with the spine erect and the feet crossed over one another. The hands should rest comfortably on the lap. The breath is performed by inhaling deeply through the nose, then opening the mouth wide, extending the tongue, and exhaling strongly while making an "ahhhh" sound. The eyes should be looking upward and the fingers extended like claws. This may be repeated two or three times. The Yoga Journal points out that Simhasana helps to relieve tension and stress.

Mrigi Mudra

Mrigi mudra is translated as "deer seal." It is actually a hand-breathing technique designed to help balance the mind while developing focus and concentration. It is practiced by dropping the index and middle fingers of the right hand, making a "claw" with the hand which is used to open and close the nostrils. The thumb is pressed on the outside of the right nostril, while inhaling slowly through the left. Using the ring finger and thumb together, both nostrils are pinched shut while the breath is held briefly. Next the thumb is released, allowing the air to be released through the right side. The next inhalation is through the same side, and the process of holding the breath is repeated. The final exhalation is through the left nostril. This whole process is repeated two to three times. This is a more advanced technique, and may take some practice.


1 comment:

  1. One of the most popular forms of exercise and fitness, yoga benefits almost everybody cutting across age groups due to its unique philosophy.

    yoga breathing exercises