The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Yoga Breathing for Stress and Anxiety

7 Sep 2017
| Under Breathing Exercises, Exercise | Posted by | 10 Comments

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 (800) 729-3065 to speak directly with a patient coordinator.


  1. Lung Institute

    2 months ago


    Thank you for your question. We do not diagnose conditions that people may have. We would suggest you contact your primary doctor or specialist for this situation. They would be much more familiar with your particular history.

    Our dedicated medical team has a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. We’re happy to answer your questions, so feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  2. jamie stewart

    2 months ago

    Id like to know more about discomfort in my diaphram and he w to alleviate the “pressure”

  3. Lung Institute

    4 months ago

    Thank you very much for your comment. We try to provide people with alternative or natural options to help manage the symptoms of their lung disease. Not everyone is able to incorporate all the suggestions, but we are happy to hear when we can help.


    The Lung Institute

  4. shadesofyoga

    4 months ago

    Fantabulous piece of work. Thank you for sharing this information …..https://shadesofyoga.yolasite.com/

  5. Lung Institute

    5 months ago


    Thank you for your comment and we are sorry to hear about your husband’s condition. We would suggest speaking with your husband’s primary doctor or his specialist. They have access to all his medical records and tests. Since he has been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, he would be a candidate for our cellular therapy.

    We would suggest you speak one-on-one with one of our patient coordinators. They have a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment options, candidacy and cost. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to speaking with you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  6. Anuradha

    5 months ago

    My husband aged 70 is diagnosed to have ild with pulmonary fibrosis and severe pulmonary hypertension . While at rest room his saturation goes to 72 despite being on home oxygenator concentrate continuous flow of 4.5 l . Please give me a solution to this g

  7. Lung Institute

    7 months ago


    Thank you for your comment and breathing advice. Proper breathing is an important part of day-to-day life for a person with COPD.

    We have written a number of blog articles about lung diseases and breathing. We hope people get the opportunity to read them and practice the exercises.

    The Lung Institute aims to deliver the highest quality of care for our patients as well as continually improve our treatments for our patients. We’re happy to answer your questions about cellular therapy, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  8. bette lindsay

    7 months ago

    copd rehab they teach to breath from the diaphram. watch a newborn baby breath that is the way they breath. as we get older we change the way we breath. most of us breath with our open mouth.

  9. Lung Institute

    7 months ago


    Thank you for your comment. We have written a number of blogs on breathing and COPD. Here is a blog article from April of this year that specifically addresses belly breathing. Again, thank you and we wish you well.

    Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with someone from our medical team. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  10. carol pedigree

    7 months ago

    Why don’t you say anything about the diaphragm??? belly breathing is so important. copd patients are chest breathers.

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