Last updated on December 2nd, 2023.
How you breathe says a great deal about your health. That is why you will want to know about the various health benefits associated with pranayama breathing. Learning these exercises will make you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Many different benefits have been linked to pranayama breathing, ranging from improving cardiovascular health to reducing the risk of developing hypertension. It is all about controlling how you breathe and being more aware of the oxygen level in your blood.
Pranayama breathing deserves your attention if you want a more effective way to breathe and improve your health simultaneously. You will want to continue reading to learn more about the various health benefits of this activity and how performing a few simple exercises can dramatically help your overall well-being.
What is Pranayama Breathing?
Pranayama has been around since ancient times and is meant as a way of helping its practitioners to control their breathing. The individual will control when, how long, and how often a breath is taken. It is meant to have the person think about each breath and allow for it to connect with their own body and mind.
Where is Pranayama Breathing Used?
You will find pranayama breathing is used in many places. Many people will use it as a regular form of yoga. Being conscious about every breath taken during exercise is a way to maximize the oxygen inflow and increase the benefits to the body. Pranayama breathing is also used during mediation as a way to help the individual slow down and center his or her mind.
These are just a few of the many places that pranayama breathing is used. People who are stressed to the max will find such techniques valuable as a way of helping them to realize what is important in life. It will also be used as a form of healing after various types of ailments or diseases have affected the body.
10 Health Benefits of Pranayama Breathing
If you are curious about how much the simple act of breathing impacts your health, the following benefits should leave you encouraged. While the impact of each of these health benefits will differ from one person to the next, the general principle is that pranayama breathing will leave you feeling better than before. Here are 10 of the more notable benefits.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Your heart will thank you when you engage in the regular practice of pranayama breathing. This is because the focus on each breath will effectively increase the blood circulation in your body. You will also benefit from how much oxygen can move around your blood. This is going to create less stress on your heart, improving your health over time.
You will find that pranayama breathing is effective at improving the cardiovascular function of your body. Essentially, your heart will have to exert far less effort than it did before. You will begin to notice yourself having more energy and not becoming as tired during many types of activities as you did before.
Reduces the Risk of Hypertension
Hypertension continues to be a major concern for many people around the world. It seems as if the modern cure for high blood pressure is to take more medicine, but there is a more natural cure that has far reaching health benefits. When pranayama breathing becomes a regular practice, you will notice a gradual decrease in hypertension.
It is believed that this benefit is the result of breathing exercises that lead to less stress and tension. This will then result in a decrease in blood pressure. The heart will then benefit from this as well as the blood in the body can more freely circulate and get to where it needs to go.
Improves Lung Function Over Time
Pranayama breathing will also improve your lung function. This is going to result in you breathing much easier. In fact, it is widely regarded amongst many practitioners as the best way to get your lung functioning optimally. If you have breathing problems or suffer from asthma, this will be of particular benefit to you.
Can Effectively Treat Depression
The pressures of this world can really get a person down. Even if things seem to be going well in your life, you may find that you still suffer from depression. Pranayama breathing can help treat this mental ailment. You will find that the breathing exercises will increase your mental stamina, leading to a noticeable reduction in both depression and anxiety.
(If you are looking for more ways to combat depression and anxiety, you’ll want to check out guided meditation for anxiety!
Aids in Weight Loss
This is a health benefit that you might not think of very often when it comes to focused breathing activities, but weight loss is certainly in the cards. You may notice a reduction in weight if you practice pranayama breathing on a regular basis. The focus on your health will cause you to rely less on food and more on your own devices to maintain a healthy body.
Serves as a Detoxifying Agent
It is no secret that the human body is full of toxins that can cause it harm. These toxins can make you feel sluggish and lead to ill health down the road. That is why it is so important to watch what we eat and drink. Even with a balanced diet, it is helpful to find a way to allow the body to detox itself from time to time.
Yoga has long been viewed as a great detoxification agent. Many practitioners today now find that pranayama breathing is the best way within yoga to detox the body. (Maybe you need a specific detox courses online. We’ve got some listed in that article!) The cleansing effect is going to help you feel better, and the difference will certainly be noticeable if you decide to engage in the practice on a regular basis.
(Looking for a new yoga course? Check out these yoga for anxiety courses!)
Strengthens the Immune System
Many people suffer from a weakened immune system for one reason or another. It might be due to simple genetics, or it could have to do with the environment in which you live. Regardless of what your own situation might be, there are still ways to strengthen your immune system and ward off many illnesses that might come your way.
Pranayama breathing is one such way to strengthen your immune system. This is a result of many of the other health benefits that we have mentioned to this point as well. A strengthened immune system will not only keep you from getting sick as often, but it can help you overcome illness much more quickly as well.
Cures a Host of Digestive Problems
One of the more common digestive issues that people experience today is bloating. If left untreated, this will only get worse over time and lead to other digestive problems that can be difficult to treat. Pranayama breathing is proven to be effective at minimizing the effects of numerous digestive problems, and it will help reduce incidences of bloating.
Helps Fight Sinusitis
Issues with your sinus may have been plaguing your health for many years. Many people find that over the counter remedies simply do not work. However, Pranayama breathing is a natural way to fight sinusitis and help you breathe clearer as a result. In some cases, this form of breathing has also been found to eliminate sinusitis altogether.
Can Clear Up Nasal Passages
A clogged nasal cavity can make it difficult to go through your daily routine. When you have a stuffy nose, it is difficult to think clearly, and your energy just feels drained the entire day. With pranayama breathing, you will notice that your nasal passages begin to clear up rather quickly. This is going to make breathing much easier as well.
Does Pranayama Affect the Brain?
It is believed the pranayama affects the brain in a positive way. To begin, the fact that pranayama increases the level of oxygen in the blood, the anxiety and stress that the practitioner feels will be reduced. This positive impact spreads to the brain, where the individual will become emotionally aware of their surroundings.
Pranayama allows you to better process your feelings and to become more aware of what is happening in your life. It opens up your brain to a new way of thinking and feeling. Some ancient healers also believe that pranayama actually cleanses the brain and gives the person a certain glow to his or her appearance.
The Different Types of Pranayama
If you find yourself interested in practicing the discipline of pranayama breathing, there are five basic types that you should be aware of.
- Bhastrika Pranayama – This type of breathing will enable your body to get the most oxygen possible. This is because you will be completely inhaling your breath, following a complete exhale. It involves sitting comfortably on a flat surface and then taking in a deep breath before exhaling. The process in then repeated.
- Kapalbhati Pranayama – Many people with stomach disorders have found this form of breathing to be beneficial. It is also used as a treatment for obesity and digestive disorders. It involves effortless inhaling and exhaling.
- Nadi Shodhana Pranayama – If you are running low on energy, this is the type of pranayama breathing that you will want to practice. It offers you an energy boost while simultaneously decreasing stress and anxiety. It is best performed on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, preferably outside in the fresh air.
- Bhramari Pranayama – Many people find this type of pranayama breathing to be effective at reducing anger and frustration. You will find that you are less agitated immediately following this breathing exercise, as it is designed to calm your mind and soul.
- Sheetali Pranayama – The word sheeta refers to cooling, this is exactly what this type of pranayama breathing exercise is designed to do. It will minimize the anxiety and tension that you are feeling while allowing your body to calm itself as much as possible.
While there are certain situations where one type of pranayama breathing might be preferable over another, many find it beneficial to practice all five of them. The key is to create a comfortable environment where you can focus on your breathing in a new and beneficial way.
(Looking for a place to get started with pranayama? Check out the 5 best pranayama courses online!)
If you want to be more mindful of your breathing and use it to improve your health, pranayama has many benefits in store for you. This practice has existed for centuries, so you know you will be in good company. You can begin learning how to incorporate pranayama breathing into your lifestyle and prepare for the following rewards. And for those looking to explore breathwork further and receive a certification to teach others, be sure to read about these breathwork teacher training online.