Yoga is known to have many health benefits, including stress relief, lowering of blood pressure and heart rate, and promoting weight loss among others. However, at the root of yoga practice, is the simple act of breathing. Breathing techniques known as pranayama are one of the most vital parts of yoga practice. These techniques can help you control your breathing and teach you how to use your lungs more fully. Breathing exercises can be performed as a stand-alone exercise or while holding yoga poses or postures.
“For individuals with chronic pulmonary conditions, such as asthma or COPD, taking a form of yoga that emphasizes proper breathing techniques and modified, light stretching can improve overall fitness while offering the tools to better manage periods of breathlessness,” states Pulmonologist Keith Harris, DO. Pranayama may increase the strength of respiratory muscles while also encouraging deep relaxation and stress relief.
A study from the International Journal of Yoga evaluated the effects of yoga training on lung function in patients with COPD. The study showed patients with COPD who engaged in yoga had better transfer of oxygen from the lungs into the bloodstream.
If you have a medical issue, speak to your physician before starting any new physical regime.