The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Yoga Breathing for Stress and Anxiety

7 Sep 2017
| Under Breathing Exercises, Exercise | Posted by

If you have a lung condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pulmonary fibrosis, you might also experience common symptoms of stress and anxiety. Anxiety is the physical, mental and emotional reaction to stress. Both can be calmed through the practice of yoga breathing, also called pranayama.

When anxiety gets out of control, it can disrupt your daily life and your sleep. Yoga breathing can help you regain control. Let’s take a look at some different breathing techniques you can use to calm stress and anxiety in your life.

Breathing Consciously

The first step in calming stress and anxiety through yoga breathing is simply becoming aware of your breath. To start, sit in a comfortable spot, either legs crossed or on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. If sitting is too uncomfortable for you, try this exercise while lying down. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and pay attention to your breath as it flows into and out from your body.

Try placing your left hand over your belly and your right over your heart. After taking a few deep breaths in and out, breathe normally and focus on your breath like this with your eyes closed for five minutes.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

When you breathe out of your nose, you most likely only breathe out of one nostril at a time. It varies from person to person, but your body changes which nostril you actually breathe out of at different times.

What’s interesting is that, whichever nostril you are breathing out of might greatly affect your body and brain. For example, breathing out of your right nostril might increase blood levels, according to a study conducted in 1988, while breathing out of your left nostril has the opposite effect. Another study found that you use more oxygen breathing through your right nostril than your left.

Practicing alternate nostril breathing can help to restore balance in your mind and body. To start, sit in a comfortable, upright position. Close your right nostril with your thumb and breathe in slowly through the left nostril. Then close your left nostril with your index finger and release your right. Exhale slowly through your right nostril. Repeat three times.

Pursed Lips Breathing

Pursed lips breathing is excellent for people with COPD. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it can help to accomplish the following:

  • Reduces how hard a person has to work to breathe
  • Releases air trapped in the lungs
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Reduces shortness of breath

To practice pursed lips breathing, close your mouth and breathe in through your nose while counting to two. Purse your lips like you would to whistle or blow out a candle, and slowly breathe out through pursed lips while counting to four. Try practicing this four to five times daily.

Pursed lips breathing can help you to perform strenuous activities, such as walking up stairs.

The Benefits of Yoga Breathing

Yoga breathing can help you achieve balance in both your body and mind. In fact, researchers have found that regularly practicing yoga breathing can have the following benefits:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Lower and/or stabilize blood pressure
  • Increase energy levels
  • Relax muscles
  • Decrease feelings of stress and being overwhelmed

For people with a chronic lung condition such as pulmonary fibrosis or COPD, combatting stress and anxiety can be a daily battle. Try yoga breathing for a week and see how you feel. The resulting calmness can be transformative.

If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic lung disease and are interested in exploring all treatment options, think about trying cellular therapy. Many people have experienced an improvement in their quality of life after receiving cellular therapy for various lung conditions. For more information, contact us by calling 888-745-6697 to speak directly with a patient coordinator.

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months of COPD patients.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.