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Taking good care of our lungs health has always been important. It has become more crucial in current times when we are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic that affects the respiratory tract. Along with maintaining good hygiene, practising social distancing and wearing a mask all the time, having healthy lungs can help you survive the pandemic in a better way.
Performing some breathing exercises every day is one of the easiest ways to maintain muscle strength around the rib cage and diaphragm. This can help to keep your lungs healthy and cut down the risk of complications from being infected by the coronavirus. Breathing exercises also help to calm your mind, balance energy, stabilise your mood and increase concentration level. Here are 5 easy breathing exercises that you must add to your daily routine for the sake of your lungs health.
The word Ujjayi Pranayama is derived from the Sanskrit word “Ujjayi,” which means to conquer. Practising this kind of breathing may improve concentration, release tension throughout the body, regulate the internal temperature of the body and promote lungs function. In this breathing technique, you have to take a deep breath from both the nostrils and half-closed glottis.
How to do it:
Step 1: Sit down on the ground in any meditative pose keeping your eyes closed and spine neutral.
Step 2: Take long breaths in and out through your mouth, feeling the air passing through your windpipe.
Step 3: Once you are comfortable with your exhales, contract the back of your throat to constrict the passage of air. Your throat will start making a rushing noise while breathing.
Step 4: Once you are comfortable with exhaling, constrict the throat the same way while inhaling.
Step 5: When you can contract your throat while both inhaling and exhaling, close the mouth and start breathing through the nose.
Step 6: Fill your lungs, hold your breath for a while and then exhale.
Kapalbhati Pranayama or Skull Shining Breath is an alternating, short explosive exhales and longer inhales technique. Exhales are generated by powerful contractions of the lower belly which help to push air out of the lungs. This kind of Pranayama is excellent to increase your concentration level and strengthen the muscles of the lungs.
How to do it:
Step 1: Sit comfortably on the ground in a lotus pose (knees tucked on above the other) with your hands on the knees, palms facing upward. Keep your spine erect.
Step 2: Take a deep breath in through your nose and as you exhale pull your navel and stomach back towards the spine.
Step 3: Exhale quickly through your nose relaxing your navel and abdomen.
Step 4: Repeat this process 10 times then exhale and inhale slowly.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama simply means subtle energy clearing breathing technique. Also known as alternate nostril breathing, this kind of breathing exercise helps you manage the stress level, reduce anxiety and promote overall well-being.
How to do it:
Step 1: Sit down comfortably on the ground with your legs crossed and spine erect.
Step 2: Inhale and exhale a few times slowly to make yourself comfortable in this position.
Step 3: Rest your left hand on your thigh in a meditation pose by joining the head of your thumb and index finger. Bring your right hand in Nasagra mudra by folding your middle and index finger.
Step 4: Close the right nostril with the thumb of your right hand. Take a deep breath with your left nostril and then close it with your ring and little finger.
Step 5: Open your right nostril and breathe out. Then breathe in with your right nostril and close it with your thumb. Again open your left nostril and exhale.
In pursed lips breathing, you breathe in through your nose and exhale slowly by puckering your lips. When feeling short of breath, pursed lips help to get more oxygen into your lungs and calms you down so that you can breathe in a controlled manner.
How to do it:
Step 1: Sit down in a comfortable position with your back straight and your hand placed on your knees.
Step 2: Inhale through your nose for a few seconds and try to fill your abdomen with the air, instead of your lungs.
Step 3: Purse your lips and breathe out slowly for 4 to 6 seconds.
Step 4: Repeat the same 5-10 times.
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