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Friday, September 18, 2009

Benefits of yoga breathing exercises

Yoga, an ancient Indian healing technique, is made up of many poses and postures. However, often ignored, yogic breathing techniques are sometimes more beneficial for the body and mind than any of the postures.

According to the principles of Yoga, the air around us contains a life-force, also known as ‘Prana’. We may be able to live without food and water, but this life force is essential to our existence and without it, we cannot hope to remain alive. Though there is a lot of this life force in all forms of nourishment, it is most readily assimilated when inhaled. Mixed with the blood, this life force reaches all the various parts of the body and the vital organs, pumping life throughout.

Pranayama is a technique, with which the human body can gain control over this inhaling of the life force, harnessing it and then expelling the waste. With our changing lifestyles and the increasing incidence of various lifestyle diseases, it is imperative that the life force within us be utilized to the maximum.

Due to the prolonged periods of time that we spend sitting behind our desks, we have developed a faulty way of breathing. To take in large quantities of air, we should breathe from the entire chest and the abdominal area. Unfortunately, most of us use only the upper respiratory tract for breathing.

There are many yoga breathing exercises that you can try. These exercises help you to re-programme your natural breathing techniques and clear the airways, allowing the lungs to work at full capacity and increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood.

Yoga breathing techniques offer numerous benefits in addition to de-stressing the body. Here’s what yoga breathing exercises can do for you:
  • Release tension, either acute or chronic, that may have accumulated due to strenuous work or routine. This not only helps you to get rid of pain and aches in your body, but also gives a gentle internal massage to the internal organs like the heart and the lungs.
  • If you suffer from any illness of the respiratory system, yogic breathing techniques can help overcome shortness of breath and asthma.
  • Strengthen the cardio vascular system and stimulate the nervous system.
  • Reduce anxiety and mental stress, helping an individual achieve calm and inner peace.
  • Cause detoxification of the body, helping to expel toxins from the body, and increasing the quantity of red blood cells.
  • Improve stamina and vitality.