In addition to relaxing the body and calming the mind, yogic breathing offers an entire spectrum of other benefits that work like insurance, protecting your investment in a longer and healthier life. Here are six important advantages of controlled breathing:
✓ It steps up your metabolism (which helps with weight control).
✓ It uses muscles that automatically help improve your posture, preventing the stiff, slumped carriage characteristic of many older people.
✓ It keeps the lung tissue elastic, which allows you to take in more oxygen to nourish the 50 trillion cells in your body.
Real-life stories on the benefits of yogic breathing
The late T. Krishnamacharya of Chennai (Madras), India — one of the great Yoga masters of the 20th century — is a classic illustration of the benefits of yogic breathing. On his 100th birthday celebration, he initiated the ceremony by chanting a 30-second-long continuous om sound. He also sat up perfectly straight on the floor for many hours every day during the festivities, which lasted several days. Not bad for a centenarian!
To give another example, Chris Briscoe is a baby-boomer beauty, the mother of two grown boys, and a long-time popular resident and community leader in Malibu, California. In her 20s, she developed asthma and for 25 years was on heavy medication and allergy shots.
If Chris woke up in the morning wheezing, she could count on being in the hospital by that evening. Aerobic exercise and allergies also induced her asthma. In 1990, Chris attended her first Yoga class with me (Larry) at the Malibu Community Center, where she learned yogic breathing and the principles of breath and movement. After only three months of attending classes twice a week, practicing yogic breathing at home, and taking Chinese herbs, Chris was able to stop taking her asthma medication and allergy shots. She has remained in class and off medication almost entirely for the past 19 years. Note: We must stress, however, that you consult with your physician before discontinuing prescribed medication.
✓ It tones your abdominal area, a common site for health problems because many illnesses begin in the intestines.
✓ It helps strengthen your immune system.
✓ It reduces your levels of tension and anxiety.
Was this article helpful?