Many yoga practices integrate classical pranayama breathing routines and simple body movements to enhance the health of the lungs, increase breathing capacity, and improve general respiratory health. Our breath is our most loyal companion who is with us from the moment we are born till the last moment when we die. Still, many of us tend to ignore the health of our lungs. Pollution, allergies, smoking, the dust has already affected our lungs badly.
Lung capacity is the measure of the volume of air our lungs can take in during inhalation and exhalation. This capacity naturally declines slowly typically after the mid-20s. Environmental factors, diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), obesity makes the matter worst by speeding up the process of reduction in lung capacity. Decreased breathing rate leads to low percentage of oxygen level in the body, shortness of breath, increased heart and pulse rate, and decreased life-span. Thankfully there are yoga practices available to keep our lungs healthy!
Can yoga improve lung functioning?
Daily practice of yoga can strengthen the chest muscles, enhance lung capacity and increase oxygen intake. Yoga helps in keeping your lungs healthy and strong. Increased breathing capacity and oxygen intake revitalize the internal organs especially the respiratory and nervous system, thus improving immunity and leading to a long, healthy life. Pranayama and other yogic kriyas along with the yoga poses activates the air-cells of the lungs and boosts lung capacity.
Perform these 7 wonderful yoga practices that are highly effective in strengthening the chest muscles that improve the health of and functioning of the respiratory system.
1) Bow Pose
Also known as – Dhanurasana, it is an incredible back-bowing yoga practice for expanding and increasing spinal strength and adaptability. It stimulates the internal organs. This posture stretches the chest and strengthens the lungs, making it a very beneficial posture for those with asthma and respiratory issues. The chest is expanded during its practice and so it opens up and stimulates the chest muscles.
2) Fish pose
It is likewise called the Matsyasana, which advances the elements of the thyroid, pineal, and pituitary organs and standardizes the hormones. This yoga practice helps to balance and distribute the oxygen through enhanced blood circulation and stretches the lungs thus stimulates deep breathing. As this pose encourages deep breathing it gives relief from respiratory ailments. This asana gives a decent stretch to the muscles of the throat which makes it one of the useful activities to dispose of thyroid dysfunction.
3) Revolved Triangle pose
It is quite difficult to perform correctly, in such cases some modifications are generally made by the yoga trainers to accommodate it in the yoga regime. It allows easy passage of air to the lungs and helps to open and expand the chest cavity. The body twisting massages the internal organs which leads to the removal of any toxins from the body ensuring the proper functioning of organs.
4) Surya namaskara
Surya namaskar enhances the overall health especially the health of inner organs. Thus, it significantly improves the immunity system. The emphasis is given on the breath while performing each sequence. It opens up the chest, enhances lung capacity, and strengthens the respiratory system.
5) Kapalbhati kriya
Often when we inhale or simply breathe normally, there is not a complete exchange of air in the lungs. This leads to the suspension of stale air at the bottom of the lungs. Kapalbhati is the best cleaning process to fully exchange the air throughout the lungs. Successive, rapid, and forceful exhalation of air totally cleanses the toxins from the lungs and increases the oxygen supply in the body. This gives a mild exercise to the lungs and thus increases the capacity of the lungs.
6) Anulom vilom
This practice cleanses the nerves of a yoga practitioner. With the right thumb, close the right nostril & breathe in through the left. Then close the right nostril with the ring finger & breathe out through the right. Breathe in again from the right nostril & breathe out from the left. This completes one round of Anulom Vilom. This practice not only improves our breathing pattern & lung capacity but also brings calmness to the mind & heartbeats in rhythm.
7) Bhastrika pranayama
It gives mild exercise to the lungs. It gives a powerful boost to the respiratory system and creates a favorable respiratory tract. This pranayama is known to be a mind-body energizer. It detoxifies the lungs and cures a cold and flu. It is very beneficial in treating lung fibrosis.
Healthy lungs are vital for a healthy, disease-free life. Lungs are an essential part of the respiratory system. With yoga, we can easily and effectively rectify the problems & disorders associated with the lungs and breathing and can improve our respiratory system.