In today’s hyperactive, stressful and hyper-connected world of overstimulation and pollution, keeping respiratory muscles strong, happy and healthy is a major challenge. A great way to establish a healthy body and joyful mind is to strengthen your respiratory muscles optimally with special yoga breathing exercises.
In this guide, we’ll introduce deep resisted yoga breathing techniques and its various uses and benefits. We’ll then show you several ways you can verify and uses its power. You can use it alongside with your daily yoga exercises, meditations, and medications.
This is a great way to overcome the difficulties of panic attacks, anxieties and hyperventilation. It has vast array of beneficial effects in the three domains of physical health, mental health and cognitive performance.
What is Respiratory Muscle Yoga Training?
The Ray respiratory muscle yoga training is a new way to improve strength or endurance of the inspiratory or expiratory muscles. This is a tool that can benefit just about anyone interested keeping stress, strain, anxiety, pain, and blood pressure under control. This yoga strength breathing training can be accomplished by breathing against a resistance. You can build the resistance naturally with your hands, fingers, abdominal muscles and the nostrils.
This is an external device free, natural sets of yoga breathing exercises. It enables you to:
- Control the blood pressure of your body
- Maintain the pH balance of the body optimally
- Reduce the airway resistance during normal breathing
- Increase the effective lungs volume
- Enhances the vagal nerve activity
- Uncover and resolve the breathing difficulties and errors naturally
- Integrate your body, mind and inner metabolisms optimally.
What are the respiratory muscles?
The respiratory muscles are those muscles that contribute to inhalation and exhalation. From a functional point of view, there are three groups of respiratory muscles:
- the diaphragm
- the rib cage muscles
- the abdominal muscles.
The diaphragm is a thin skeletal muscle that placed at the base of the chest and separates the abdomen from the chest. The diaphragm should be viewed as two distinct muscles, crural and costal, which act in synchrony throughout respiration.
The rib cage muscles consist of three layers of muscles external, internal, and innermost layer they combine to fill the space between the ribs.
The abdominal muscles consist of four main muscle groups that combine to completely cover the internal organs include: the external obliques, the internal obliques, the transversus abdominis, and the rectus abdominis.
What is the mechanism of breathing?
Breathing is a physical process of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. It is a combination inspiration and expiration. Inspiration is an active process. Expiration is a passive process. In inspiration we take air into the lungs and expiration is the expulsion of the air out of the lungs.
The most important muscle of respiration is the diaphragm. When you inhale, or breathe in, your diaphragm contracts and moves downward and its edges move outward. This compresses the abdominal cavity, raises the ribs upward and outward and thus expands the thoracic cavity. This expansion draws air into the lungs.
Expiration is a passive process because the lungs naturally want to recoil inward and collapse. During expiration, the lungs deflate without much effort from our muscles. However, the expiratory muscles – internal intercostals, rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, transversus abdominis – can contract to force air out of the lungs during active breathing periods.
What is Resistance Breathing?
The key objective of resistance breathing is to activate and strengthen the respiratory muscles by various breathing mechanisms. Primarily in resistance breathing you voluntarily reduce the oxygen intake and carbon dioxide elimination for short duration by the providing some controlled breathing resistance.
The three most common procedure for yoga respiratory muscle resistance strength training include:
- flow resistance – breathing through a small nostril openings
- pressure resistance – building respiratory pressures with fingers
- muscle resistance – building pressures on the rib cage and the abdominal muscles
What is Yoga Resistance Breathing?
According to Sri Amit Ray, the respiratory yoga resistance breathing, or the Virodhana pranayama techniques are one of the best ways to purify the mind and body. They make the mind focused and inward. There are ten of resistance breathing exercises and, in general, all of them cleanse the body and purify the mind. In these yoga techniques the flow resistance, pressure resistance and the muscle resistance are developed in a sequential and rhythmic manner.
The yoga resistance breathing (Virodhana Pranayama) techniques varies depending on the use of the respiratory muscles and the rhythms. Broadly, it can be classified in the following five groups:
- Diaphragm muscle training: The diaphragm is a motor muscle of breath and which can be automatic, forced, or controlled. It’s the dome-shaped muscle found below your lungs, separating your chest cavity from your abdominal cavity. Here, the yoga techniques are used to build the resistances through this muscle.
- Finger Training: The respiratory rhythm, directly and indirectly, affects the central nervous system (CNS). In yoga resistance breathing the natural rhythms of the breath and holding the breath, sustaining the breath in different rhythms are controlled by the movement of the fingers. Resistance yoga breathing brings the breath consciously in a definite and particular rhythm.
- Rib cage yoga muscle training: Tightness in muscles that attach to your ribs can impair your ability to breathe. Several yoga breathing exercises can improve your rib cage mobility and strength.
- Abdominal muscle yoga training: These yoga exercises are developed to strengthen your core respiratory muscles.
- Nada Anushandhan respiratory training: The mantras like “So Hum”, “Om Namah Shivaya” or just “Om” are used to activate the olfactory nerves and the vagus nerve. Nada Anushandhan is investigating, purifying the mind and merging with of the supreme divine sound.
Olfactory Nerves and Yoga Resistance Breathing
Breathing through the nose stimulates the olfactory nerve at the top of the nasal cavity. Moreover, it enhances the visuospatial brain power. The olfactory nerve is the only nerve in the central nervous system that continually regenerates throughout your adult lives. The olfactory nerve is composed of neurons that originate in the mucus tissue of the nose and run the short distance to the olfactory bulb, one of the most primitive parts of the brain.
Vagus Nerve and the Yoga Resistance Breathing
The vagal nerve is considered as the key proponent of the parasympathetic nervous. Activating the vagus nerve via yoga breathing techniques can calm your autonomic nervous system. Yoga resistance breathing is a universally accessible cost-free way to quell performance anxiety anyplace and anytime.
During the exhalation phase of the resistance breathing, the vagus nerve squirts out like a tranquilizer. Acetylcholine, ACh is the primary neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system and counteracts “fight, flight, or freeze” stress responses.
Vagus nerve is one of the longest nerves in the body and it is 80 percent of our parasympathetic nervous system, also referred to as our ‘rest and digest’ system. When we have a high vagal tone or healthy vagal tone that is indicative that when you inhale, you have a slight increase in your heartbeat, and when you exhale, you have a slight decrease in your heartbeat. It is also associated with better physical and mental well-being.
The Benefits of Using Respiratory Muscle Yoga Training
There are many benefits to using these yoga breathings on your mind and body. Some of the most important advantages include the ability to reduce your high blood pressure, and make improvements to your bodies’ energy flow. You can even check on and optimize internal improvements such as increases in diaphragm thickness, changes in muscle fiber type (greater fatigue resistance), and improvements in strength.
This powerful pranayama affects the functioning of different systems of the body and affords countless benefits. These breathing exercises will help you develop physically, mentally and emotionally. Here are a few of the benefits of the resistance yoga breathing techniques:
- Increases lung’s capacity to take in Oxygen
- Reverses age by retaining youth
- Reduces stress
- Enhance stamina
- Helps control shortness of breath
- Improves speed of recovery
- Builds endurance
- Increases muscular strength
- Improves digestion
- Improves blood pressure
Respiratory muscle weakness and fatigue are contributing factors to many breathlessness sensations. A stronger muscle can contract more forcefully and potentially resist fatigue. Specifically on COPD, there is a typical pattern that exists. The lungs are overinflated, the diaphragm tends to be flat at rest and the respiratory muscles are functionally and structurally weak. Scientists observed that, resistance breathing can improve the condition.
Millions of Americans have breathing problems because of COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, along with issues like chest or back pain and a cough that doesn’t go away. Breathing problems may also stem from other serious problems such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, COVID-19, and lung disease related to HIV or AIDS. However, yoga resistance breathing can improve these conditions.
Adaptation of the Respiratory Muscles
Adaptation of the respiratory muscles to the slow increase of the load of the yoga exercises is very important for consistent gains. Unlike Hatha yoga pranayama, in our Ray 112 Shiva-shakti yoga pranayama tradition, the exercises are adjusted over time to avoid plateauing. The partial openings of the nostrils are the key elements in this yoga pranayama.
An 8-week expiratory muscle strength yoga breathing training program in healthy individuals is generally helpful. Normally, these yoga exercise are done about 21 resistance inhalations – two to three times per day, preferably in the morning and evening. Total training for around 5-10 minutes per day is very effective. Progressively, the load is increased.
Types of Yoga Resistance Breathing Techniques
The rib cage and the abdominal muscles are primarily “pressure generators.” Conversely, the diaphragm is primarily a “flow generator.” The yoga resistance breathing techniques are available in the following three forms:
- inspiratory muscle yoga resistance training (IYR) only,
- expiratory muscle yoga resistance training (EYR), and
- both inspiratory and expiratory muscle training (CYR).
In all the above cases, the resistance load can be adjusted to change the load. This is done by using a progressively increased flow resistance or increased pressure resistance.
Here are five best yoga resistance breathing techniques:
- PanchAnguli Pranayama
- PanchAngha Nada Yoga Pranayama
- Sarva-Akarsini Pranayama
- SarvaRogahara Pranayama
- SarvaSiddhiprada Pranayama.
Yoga resistance breathing (Virodhana Pranayama) is different from the retention breathing (Kumbhaka pranayama) techniques. The figure shown above explains the differences. The Yoga resistance breathing (Virodhana Pranayama) techniques are different from the traditional Hatha yoga pranayama techniques. These techniques are part of the Ray 114 chakras traditions and the Ray Sri Chakra Sadhana traditions. For example, the Sarva-Akarsini Pranayama includes the combined cycle of retention breathing and resistance breathing.
Generally retention breathing (kumbhakas) force the breath into the central sushumna channel, but resistance breathing (Virodhana Pranayama) works in opposite way. It cleans the the central sushumna channel and then the breath and the Kundalini energy flows blissfully in the sushumna channel without any force.
Types of Pranayama in Patanjali Yoga sutra
According to the Patanjali Yoga Sutra, (Verses 2.49 to 2.51), pranayama starts by slowing and reducing the effort in the breathing. The pranayama has the following ten control aspects:
- outward flow (exhalation),
- inward flow (inhalation),
- retention of breath (internal or external),
- regulation by movements,
- regulation by place,
- regulation by time,
- regulation by number,
- regulation by slowing down the breath,
- regulation by making the breath subtle.
Moreover, when all your thought waves, ideas in the mind and the objects are settled, there starts a natural pranayama, which is beyond the normal.
Basic Rules of Yoga Resistance Breathing Exercises
You can follow the following basic steps for best yoga breathing exercises:
- Before undertaking any of these breathing practices, learn to sit in a steady and comfortable posture.
- Make sure your alimentary canal is empty, but you are neither hungry or thirsty.
- Brush your teeth, scrape your tongue, and keep your nostrils healthy and clean.
- Make sure that both your nostrils are open. If one nostril is blocked to the point that your breathing becomes uncomfortable, then use the techniques.
- Make sure your mind is not running here and there at that time. Then you sit with your eyes closed and the mind is completely settled.
- Never exceed your capacity. Expand your capacity slowly. Never bully yourself and do not compete with others practicing this pranayama. Self-assessment and guidance from a competent teacher will help you achieve the most result with least risk.
Steps for Respiratory Muscle Yoga Resistance Breathing
I am giving here a simple example of yoga resistance breathing exercise. This is know as SarvAkarsani Pranayama. This yoga abdominal resistance breathing exercise can increase the strength and mobility of your diaphragm. It massages viscera and the abdominal muscles; relaxes and stretches the lumbosacral region. It helps improve awareness of the abdominal area and slows down mental frequencies.
To do this you can follow the steps below:
- Gently round your back and take the “cat” pose in yoga.
- Make sure that your shoulders are over your hands and your hips are over your knees.
- Take a deep breath through nose and try to imagine the air is pushing into the stomach, fell the stomach blow up with the air.
- While breathing out through mouth, drive the sternum up towards the ceiling to create a hump in the upper back.
- Focus the breath and imagine the air get into the dome created and slowly and fully breathed out through mouth.
- Maintain the position for 6 breaths and return to the starting position.
- Take 1 to 2 minutes resting interval and then repeat the above procedures for 5 cycles.
- Do not hold breath throughout the process.
- Take one min rest between two cycle, to prevent hyperventilation.
- Allow yourself a little time to get into a regular rhythm. It may help to imagine that as you are breathing in, you draw half a circle with your breath around your body, and as you breathe out, you complete the other half of the circle. Allow your breath to become smooth, easy and regular.
- Now, slow down your breathing out, then be conscious of a comfortable pause before allowing your breaths in to follow smoothly and easily. If any distractions, thoughts or worries come into your mind, allow them to come, then allow them to go, and bring your attention back to your breathing.
- When you are ready to end this exercise, take a few deeper breaths in. Bring some feeling back into your fingers and toes. Open your eyes slowly, and turn over onto one side before gently sitting up.
To improve your health and mind, you should start thinking about yoga resistance breathing. Taking a deep, resisted, breath offers a new and unconventional way to generate the benefits of exercise and physical activity.
So there you have it, five different yoga ways that you can improve your respiratory muscles to make sure that you’re more connected to the world, you’re enhancing your physical and mental well-being, and you’re living life to the fullest.
Take the time and make the effort to change your breathing habits. Your heart, mind and your loved ones will thank you.