The transition from summer to winter and the start of festivities always lead to higher levels of air pollution. People suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases are particularly affected by the burden of toxic air. Breathing under such conditions is thought to be dangerous to the body. Research even shows that this is equivalent to smoking twenty cigarettes a day! Yoga can help prevent toxins from entering your body, and you can also do deep breathing exercises to increase lung capacity.
If outdoor air quality is poor, practice breathing exercises to prevent pollutants from damaging your respiratory system.
Deep breathing exercises to combat air pollution
Here are three simple breathing exercises to counter the effects of air pollution, as suggested by yoga expert Nisha Dhawan.
1. Anulom Vilom pranayam
The nadi shodhan pranayama is a breathing technique that helps clear the blocked channels. This technique is also known as Anulom Vilom pranayam. Regular practice for at least 10 minutes a day helps clear the blockages and is intended to clear the nadis or energy channels.
Also read: Learn how to do Anulom Vilom here!
Kapalbhati is the first choice of every yoga practitioner. It helps detoxify the entire system. For people who suffer from shortness of breath, this breathing technique can help remove toxins from the lungs and brain. Kapalbhati increases oxygen flow and improves digestion apart from cleansing the respiratory tract.
Also read: Read more about the benefits of Kapalbhati and how you can do it!
This breathing exercise – often called fire breathing – promotes detoxification and removes pollutants from the body. This technique helps keep the abdomen free of toxins and increases our immunity.
The best way to practice Bhastrika is to sit in vajrasana or sukhasana, the classic cross-legged yoga pose. Now make a fist and fold your arms, placing them close to your shoulders. Inhale as you raise your hands straight and open your fists. Now exhale forcefully as you bring your arms back to your shoulders and close your first arms. Continue this for at least 20 repetitions. Relax to end the session.
The yoga expert recommends doing these three breathing exercises regularly in the morning or afternoon. This can help reduce stress levels and remove toxins from the body.
What are the benefits of deep breathing exercises?
Breathing exercises help with detoxification and provide you with energy. More air can flow in and out of your lungs, allowing you to be more physically active.
2. Increase oxygen levels
Breathing exercises can help clear the lungs of built-up stale air, increase oxygen levels and allow the diaphragm to do its job again. When you have healthy lungs, breathing is natural and easy.
3. Improve lung capacity
Breathing exercises may help maintain or increase lung capacity in people without underlying lung conditions.
4. Lead to relaxation
Deep breathing exercises can also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and aids digestion.
Can deep breathing exercises be done by everyone?
Breathing exercises can be useful for all age groups, including children, adults and the elderly. Those with breathing problems or health problems such as cardiac arrhythmia, slow heart rate, high blood pressure, angina or chest pain and heart disease – should exercise caution and seek advice before starting any breathing exercise. Children under 5 years of age should not indulge in complicated breathing techniques like Kapalbhati or holding their breath while practicing Pranayama for long periods of time, unlike adults. All breathing exercises should be performed under the guidance of a professional.
Yoga expert Nisha Dhawan says it’s crucial to remember that some breathing exercises may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with specific medical problems. Consult your doctor before starting any new breathing exercises.