The lung capacity in human beings is the total amount of the air that the lungs can hold. Over time, the lung capacity and lung function typically decrease slowly after mid-20s. So, it is necessary to keep the lungs healthy by doing specific exercises.
The incidence of lung problems such as bronchial asthma, COPD etc. are on increase world over. Presently, management of lungs disorders includes pharmacological therapy which includes prescription of oral and inhaled medicines. In the initial stages, such medicines might work but later on there is morbidity as more and more patients requiring oxygen therapy, respiratory support therapy.
Non-pharmacological therapy includes yogic techniques such as breathing exercises known as pranayama originated in India. Now, various studies have shown the effectiveness of these techniques to makes the lungs stronger in healthy individuals as well as in diseased conditions like bronchial asthma, hypertension, diabetes etc.
Some of the exercises for Lungs are:
Anulom Vilom is not just a breathing exercise, but it is also a noteworthy yogic technique that involves controlling of the subtle Pranic Energies within the body.
Anulom Vilom Method:
- Sit in any meditative posture either in Sukhasana or Padamasana.
- Your spine should be upright.
- Using your right thumb, block the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril for 2 seconds. Now block both the nostrils and hold your breath for 4 seconds but cardiac, blood pressure and pregnant women should not hold their breath while doing this pranayama. They have to just keep inhaling and exhaling.
- Now keep the left nostril blocked and release the right nostril. Exhale through the right nostril for 2 seconds. Now inhalation should be done through the right nostril for 2 seconds. Close both the nostrils and hold breath for 4 seconds.
- Repeat the same cycle for a maximum of 10 rounds. Slowly and slowly, try to increase the counts of inhalation and exhalation with regular practice.
- There should be equal counts for inhalation, exhalation and suspension of the breath.
Regular practice of this pranayama has known to be very helpful in treating respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis etc. Apart from the best pranayama for the lungs, this ancient practice also helps in strengthening the mind and complete relaxation.
Diaphragmatic breathing is also known as belly breathing. This technique is beneficial for keeping the lungs healthy especially for people with COPD as the diaphragm in these individuals is not strong enough.
Method of Diaphragmatic Breathing:
- First, relax your shoulders and sit back or lie down.
- Place one hand on your chest and other hand on your belly.
- Inhale through the nose for 2 seconds and feel the air moving into the abdomen and feeling the abdomen moving out. The stomach should move more than the chest does.
- Now breathe out for 2 seconds through pursed lips while pressing on the abdomen.
- You can do process around 3-4 times a day for 5-10 minutes at a time.
Nirvana Pranayam (Pursed lip breathing)
Nirvana Pranayam is a breathing routine devised to make the breaths more effective by making them slower and more intended.
Method of Nirvana Pranayam
- Sit at a calm and secluded pot.
- Breathe in slowly through the nose.
- Now bring your lips closer and squeeze or pucker them.
- While exhaling, breathe through the lips.
- Continue doing it 2-3 times at an interval or as long as you are breathed in.
- Repeat this process for at least 10-15 times.
The meaning of word Ujjayi is victorious breath. Ujjayi pranayama involves full expansion of the lungs and by focussing the attention on breath, it can also assist in calming the mind.
Method of Ujjayi Pranayam:
- Sit comfortably with a straight spine.
- Take a steady breath through both nostrils.
- Inhale until you reach your lung capacity and then hold the breath for a second and constrict some of the breath at the back of the throat, as if you want to whisper a secret.
- Exhale slowly through both the nostrils.
- Repeat this process up to 20 times.
So, it’s no surprise that research shows that a regular practice of these exercises can strengthen the lungs and also improve overall physical and mental health.
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