By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500
Pranayama for respiratory ailments is a viable option. Most of us take the ability to breathe freely for granted, but for many people, the basic task of taking in air is painful due to respiratory ailments. Those suffering from problems of this nature may find themselves wishing there was some way to exercise and care for the lungs. Fortunately, there is – The positive effect of pranayama on the respiratory system is a strong possibility. As a special healing modality of yoga, Pranayama does for the lungs what Hatha Yoga does for the body. In Yogic teachings, breath is considered extremely important. The word Pranayama is a compound word. Prana means life force and vital energy; it’s the breath of life.
What is Ayama?
Ayama means to control, restrain or hold. Pranayama could be translated as simply breath control, but there are a lot of subtle nuances in the word that are lost with such a simplified definition. However, for our purposes here, breath control is close enough. Pranayama has the potential to teach people how to control their breath. Why would people need to learn how to breathe? Isn’t this automatic? Most people in the modern world take extremely shallow breaths, and their bodies beg for relaxation.
The End Result
The result is that their lungs are never used to the fullest, and their lungs suffer as a result. Only filling a small portion of the lungs diminishes the body’s ability to expel toxins during the exhalation of the air from the lungs. Over time, this likely leads to many chronic respiratory ailments we see today. The reason for the fast, shallow breathing is unknown, though some experts speculate that it’s due to our clothing choices and the fact that a full breath would expand the stomach. Poor posture makes drawing in long, deep breaths difficult, which is likely another contributing factor. Pranayama for respiratory ailments improves overall health.
Additionally, most people lead a sedentary lifestyle and spend most of their time indoors, where the air quality is often worse than the outside. As a result, you have a recipe for all kinds of breathing ailments. Pranayama for respiratory ailments should always be performed in a well-ventilated area.
Additionally, pranayama should be done under the supervision of a qualified Yoga teacher. A good yoga instructor can spot and correct improper techniques quickly, leading to greater success in a shorter period. Pranayama requires a slow and steady pace, even more so than the asanas. This is especially true for those coming to the practice responding to a respiratory ailment. Less is more.
Within Yoga, there are several different styles of Pranayama, and some are more suitable for beginners than others. The yoga teacher needs to know any underlying health conditions before Pranayama instruction. For example, those with heart problems or high blood pressure shouldn’t do certain types of Pranayama for respiratory ailments. Many people wouldn’t think breathing exercises could profoundly impact the body, but they can. Breath is powerful.
It is helpful for students to have some basic Yoga anatomy knowledge. By practicing Pranayama for respiratory ailments, one learns how to breathe in a way that utilizes the whole lung, and this lesson will eventually carry over to automatic breathing. Taking larger breaths means taking fewer breaths per minute, with each inhale and exhale clearing the body of toxins and oxygenating the cells. This increased lung capacity, improved awareness, and breath control can benefit those suffering from respiratory ailments.
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5 thoughts on “Pranayama for Respiratory Ailments”
Pranayama requires a slow and steady pace. This is especially true for those coming to the practice in response to a respiratory ailment. Thanks for this good posting.
Pranayama should always be performed in a well ventilated area and should be done under the supervision of a qualified Yoga teacher. Nice sharing!