Three Easy Pranayama Respiratory Workouts To Increase Your Immunity, Soothe You, And Make Your Pores and skin Glow

We hesitate to ask how many meditation apps, virtual HIIT classes, sleep trackers, diets, and online support groups (should we go ahead?) You have tried recently. We all really want to take care of ourselves a little more this year. If you are like us then your list is long and growing, let’s face it. And like us, when you run out of all of these options and search your phone for the next big thing, you might fall somewhere.

Enter: pranayama, the practice of breathing exercises or breath control. Yes, breathe. It’s simple enough for beginners and scientifically convincing enough for the skeptics among us.

What is Pranayama?

The practice of the Sanskrit words Prana (“life force” or “life energy”) and Yama (“control”) goes back to ancient India – around 700 BC. BC, ancient. It contains a variety of breathing patterns and techniques that have been scientifically proven to benefit both our physical health – think breathing, cardiovascular, metabolic – and our emotional health – stress, anxiety, focus.

Here’s a quick update on biology. Our breathing has a direct effect on our nervous system via the vagus nerve, which controls our fight or flight and rest and relaxation reactions as well as our cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive systems. In other words, the way we breathe controls almost everything. And with no cost, side effects, equipment, or investment of time, there is no real argument against trying pranayama.

The benefits of pranayama

Before you pass this on to your token hippie aunt, listen to us. Countless studies (from the NIH and the International Journal of Biomedical Research, to name a few) document the far-reaching benefits of practicing pranayama.

There is no doubt that stress relief and immunity are key this year, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Read on for more comprehensive and surprising benefits.

  1. Immune system: First, it has been proven that certain techniques strengthen our immune system. Hello, 2020 keywords. Deep breathing activates our digestive tract, which is where up to 80 percent of our immune tissue lives. Breath retention significantly increases the number of white blood cells, which are the first to attack infections and viruses. (Fascinated?)

  2. Reduce Anxiety And Depression: Do you remember the vagus nerve we mentioned? When activated, it increases the levels of GABA in our bodies, the neurotransmitter that helps us relax. Remember all the times your mother – or heaven forbid, your spouse – pleaded with you to “just breathe?” (Worst, right?) Sorry to say she’s current Have science on your side.

  3. Respiratory tract: It is obvious. Breath control improves lung function and capacity for healthy individuals, as well as those with asthma and chronic bronchitis.

  4. Digestive: IBS, diarrhea and hyperacidity are disorders that are closely related to brain activity. Studies show that, thanks to their calming effect, these symptoms subside with consistent breathing exercises.

  5. Cardiovascula: Research has shown that pranayama has an immediate and positive effect on circulation, heart rate and blood pressure. It is often used to treat arrhythmic patients.

  6. Sinuses: Certain techniques help cleanse our nasal cavity and create ventilation, which improves allergies, sinus infections, congestion, and sinus headaches.

  7. Sleep: Back to our fear, that old friend. When we are stressed, we take short, shallow breaths. Deep breathing, on the other hand, slows our heart rate and relaxes our mind. This improves the quality of sleep and combats insomnia.

  8. Weight loss: Deep and powerful breathing speeds up our metabolism and activates the abdominal muscles in a way that these annoying crunches cannot thanks to an increased oxygen supply.

  9. Skin care: When we breathe in, the breath held back supplies our skin cells with oxygen. This increases the blood throttle and detoxifies our blood, improving the complexion and preventing premature aging like wrinkles and sunspots. (Should we have led with this?)

OK, how do I practice pranayama?

The story goes on

The practice of pranayama encompasses a variety of techniques and breathing patterns, each with their own unique benefits. Here are three key points to address what we have to do in 2020.

1. Kumbhaka or “Full Breath Retention”
Best for: an immune boost

“Full Breath Retention” offers dozens of benefits, such as increased lung capacity, brain tissue regeneration, and reduced inflammation. Most importantly, it increases the levels of oxygen and CO2 in our bodies and nourishes our white blood cells to help fight off infection and viruses. So, let’s go.

  1. Set 10 or 15 minutes a day – set a timer so you know how much time you’ve been spending

  2. Sit or lie comfortably

  3. Start with a 1-1-2 pattern. For example, inhale 5, hold 5, exhale 10

  4. Begin with the exercise increasing retention for a ratio of 1-2-2 or 1-3-2. It becomes easier to breathe 5, hold 10, exhale 10. Increase to 5 inhale, 15 hold, 10 exhale and so on

  5. Keep going until your timer runs out

2. Kapalabhati or “Shining Skull Breath”
Best for: Revitalizing energy and shining a little

This model, also known as “fire breath”, improves concentration, supports digestive functions, speeds up our metabolism (weight loss under quarantine, anyone?) And gives us a glowing complexion. It also warms the body when we go into the coolest months. Practice this whenever you need a little energy start.

  1. Sit comfortably (with your legs crossed or on your knees) with your hands on your thighs

  2. First, breathe in and out completely

  3. Then inhale halfway and begin to exhale forcefully in short bursts

  4. Place one hand on your stomach to feel a contraction and expansion

  5. Continue for 20 to 30 intervals before taking a full breath. Hold your breath as long as possible and finally exhale

  6. Repeat the cycles for 10 to 15 minutes (daily!) And conclude with an exhale through the left nostril

3. Nadi Shodhana or “Alternative Nostril Chatmen”
Best For: Relaxing or trying to calm down before bed

To relax, try “alternating nasal breaths” (sweet, right?). It balances hormones, calms the nerves, and calms our mind. Studies have shown that it can also lower our heart rate and blood pressure. Try it during a work crisis (we feel you) or just before bed.

  1. Sit cross-legged or on your knees, or lie down comfortably

  2. Bring your right thumb to your right nostril and your ring and pinky fingers to your left. Your index and middle fingers can rest on the bridge of your nose or folded towards your thumb.

  3. Exhale completely

  4. Press the right nostril with your fingers and inhale through the left.

  5. Exhale on the left, close your nostril and inhale on the right

  6. Exhale through the right to complete a cycle.

  7. Repeat for 10-12 cycles and get a good night’s sleep

Not really. Try it.

Nine months after the quarantine, we know that your suggestion boxes are overflowing with tips for self-care. But trust us. Introducing pranayama into your everyday life is as low risk as it gets: it’s portable, easy, free (!) And has been shown to boost both your immunity and your emotional wellbeing. Set a timer for 2 or 3 times a day. Try it at the traffic light, in the shower while the coffee is brewing, or in place of your Instagram scroll before bed. We’ll breathe right next to you.

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