Yogasana is a combined effort of physical positions paired with thoughtful breathing practices that strive to maintain balance through the body’s physical and mental state. The driving force behind all our energy is called the Prana; breath in English. Pranayama or Prana means “to extend the vital life force” and is one of the most crucial practices within the realm of Yoga. It comprises of various breathing techniques and that range in complexities – from what a child is able to do to techniques appropriate for advanced yogis. If your breathing isn’t regulated during your Yogasanas, then the breath is known to get stuck in the body channels and tends to cause excess aches and pains. 

The best way to practice the Pranayama is under the guidance of your yoga teacher however, simple techniques like diaphragmatic breathing can be done at home on your own as well. This doesn’t just transform your breath but also takes control over your state of mind. People who practice yoga do it for various reasons – some for health, some for depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, or even chronic pain. 

Benefits of Pranayama as a practice:

  • Known to reduce the overall stress and anxiety you face on a daily basis
  • Promotes peaceful and continuous sleep 
  • Eases pain and aches across your body 
  • Helps people find calm within themselves in chaotic surroundings
  • Increases focus and attention 
  • Strives for clarity and well-being across your life

Most of our uncommon breathing patterns are shallow and erratic but breathing is most effective on our bodies with its smooth and done at ease. The technique of Pranayama stimulates a calm and long exhale and if done correctly, supports the parasympathetic nervous system. This nervous system is known to activate the “relaxation response” and further reduces stress and its effect on the mind. There are also some Yogasanas that activate your abdomen, thoracic and clavicular breathing and this helps control the breath and improves your breathing habits by increasing the level of oxygen intake. These asanas increase oxygenation and work actively on strengthening your lung capacity. They improve your lung muscles and aid treatments for respiratory diseases like sinus, asthma, and a generic cough and cold.

Yogasanas good for breathing:

  • Sukhasana (Cross-legged Sitting Pose)
  • Matsya Asana (Fish Pose)
  • Padma Sarvangasana (Lotus Shoulder Stand)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist)

As the entire world fights the deadly Corona Virus, it becomes all the more crucial for all of us to strengthen our lungs and concentrate on our breathing. Aside from the obvious wearing a mask and practicing social distance, it has become imperative to keep our lungs healthy and clear our respiratory tract from any excess phlegm/particles.