If you have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), taking a deep breath can be difficult. When the act of breathing is painful, it’s hard to get your body in the right state for wellness and healing. Luckily, recent studies show that pranayama breathing can help ease pain and improve daily life.
What Is Pranayama Breathing?
When translated from Sanskrit, ‘pranayama’ means control of life force. It is a breathing method beneficial to obtaining the advantages of Qigong for your body, teaching how to breathe from your belly instead of from your chest. The art of purposeful controlled breathing has many benefits, including increased blood supply to your organs and muscle relaxation.
When combined with Qigong meditation and movement, pranayama breathing works to restore energy flow within the body. Pranayama breathing became part of Qigong practice after 1911, and its many mental and medical benefits have been aiding people since then. We breathe to bring vital energy into our bodies to restore the balance between body, breath, and mind.
Long, even breaths allow for your body to absorb as much oxygen as it can, lowering your heart rate and giving you a sense of calm. While you never want to strain your lungs and work them too hard, deep breaths are key in good pranayama breathing techniques.
Pranayama Breathing For COPD
While pranayama breathing is beneficial for everyone, research shows that it may be even more helpful for people with COPD. Breathing out can cause muscle tension and pain, making any form of exercise nearly impossible, and lowering the body’s ability to send vital oxygen to internal organs.
Pranayama breathing helps patients become mindful of their breathing technique and their bodies, but that’s not the only benefit it offers.
- Increased lung function: Patients who were taught pranayama breathing reported better lung functionality than patients who were only educated about COPD. Breathability also improved, meaning it was easier for pranayama practitioners to take a deep breath in and out.
- Anxiety reduction: Not only is it healing, but it’s also calming. When you’re feeling short of breath, anxiety levels can skyrocket and increase the feeling of tightness in your chest. For people with COPD, this makes each breath worse than the last. Pranayama breathing slows down your heart rate and gives you a sense of being grounded, reducing your levels of stress and relaxing your muscles.
- Better state for healing: Less anxiety means that your body is in a better state to heal. Tension sees your heart and muscles working overtime when your energy could be better spent elsewhere.
- Increased blood flow and oxygen levels: Taking a few deep breaths can clear your mind, and regular pranayama breathing can do so much more. Deeper breaths mean it’s easier for your heart to send oxygen around to where it’s most needed in your body.
- Increasing fitness: When paired with the slow and gentle Qigong movements, COPD patients can exercise and increase their mobility without finding themselves short of breath. The Qigong movements are adaptable, meaning that they can be practiced even if you have a very low level of mobility.
Learning Breath Empowerment
The Breath Empowerment Series teaches you all you need to know to start on your healing Qigong journey. Essential to pranayama breathing is good posture; staying in a neutral position makes breathing easier and improves the depth of each breath you take.
It all starts right at the beginning by taking a deep breath. Through mindful pranayama breathing, meditation, and movement you are on the path to bringing balance to your body, entering a state of relaxation that is optimal for healing.