Pranayama for hyperventilation?
Pranayama is inseparable from yoga. Breathing is the be-all and end-all if we want to connect with ourselves. But what if you suffer from hyperventilation? Are pranayama exercises suitable then? What is better not to do and what can be done? We explain.
Ideally, breathing covers the area between the collarbones and the abdomen. When inhaling, the lungs fill, the chest expands, the diaphragm lowers and the abdomen bulges. But for many people, breathing is much shallower. Because of allergies, asthma or stress, we sometimes breathe more with our chest than with our abdomen.
But it’s also because we’ve been taught to do so. We do far too little true abdominal breathing. Then lurks hyperventilation, also known as “overbreathing.” You breathe too fast and too shallow, which changes the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.
Read More about Pranayama and Yoga: https://www.rishikeshyogagurukulam.com/blog
The lungs expel more carbon dioxide than normal, which, among other things, impairs oxygen uptake into body tissues. They suffer from lightheadedness, dizziness or difficulty concentrating. People who hyperventilate often also feel anxious and very tired.
An empty and quiet mind
Hyperventilation can also take a milder and more invisible form. An overly hectic life sometimes leads to literally having no time to catch your breath. As a result, you may unconsciously begin to hyperventilate easily.
When there are signs of hyperventilation, it is important to be careful with pranayama exercises such as kapalabhati (strong exhalation) or bhastrika pranayama (rapid inhalation and exhalation). These can aggravate hyperventilation. And yet, these are the very exercises that trained yogis use to calm the mind.
How Yogis perform the exercises precisely to induce a mild form of hyperventilation. This even has the side effect of emptying the mind and quieting it for a short time. So they are looking for exactly this light feeling. The big difference is that it is practiced in a conscious and controlled manner. Good guidance and calm breathing are crucial.
Mindfulness of breathing
If you suffer from hyperventilation, it is better to choose a milder form of pranayama. A first step to managing hyperventilation is to become aware of the way you breathe. If you want to make a change, check how your breathing goes at different times of the day.
That way, you’re more likely to notice when you’re restless or breathing too little between sentences. Then you can practice alternate breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama). Don’t hesitate if you can’t keep up the exercises for long. Even a few minutes of conscious breathing will have a positive effect on your breathing for several hours.
This is how Nadi Shodhana Pranayama is performed
Alternate nostril breathing is a good breathing exercise to calm yourself. This exercise lowers the heart rate and increases the oxygen level in the blood. This breathing also calms the mind as it stimulates the nervous system. Therefore, this breathing technique is also good if you are anxious or tense.
- Begin with the lotus sitting posture (Padmasana) or the cross-legged sitting posture (Sukhasana).
- Focus your attention on your forehead and place your right index and middle fingers between your eyebrows.
- The thumb and ring finger rest on one nostril each.
- Your left hand rests on your knee, thumb and index finger rest together.
- Close the right nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply through the left nostril.
- Hold your breath for a moment. Then close the left nostril with the ring finger, remove the thumb and exhale through the right nostril.
- Then inhale through the right nostril. Hold your breath for a moment, then exhale through the left nostril.
- Breathe in again through the left nostril and repeat the above steps.
- Build up this exercise slowly. For best results, perform the exercise for 5 to 10 minutes.