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Exercises that help you breathe better during winters

Nov 20, 2017

The adverse effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution have been documented by various studies over the years and are known to affect people suffering from respiratory problems like asthma.

Air pollution rises during winters as cool air stagnates close to the ground, and thus keeping pollutants trapped in our breathing environment. These practices cause a measurable spike in air pollution levels, especially in urban areas such as New Delhi.

To counter these ill effects of air pollution and give yourself a holistic cover or sampurna suraksha, age old techniques such as Yoga can be very beneficial. We have looked up some easy-to-do breathing exercises for you to include in your daily regimen. These Yogic exercises will help you in countering the increased contaminants in the air during winters.

Bhastrika: A breathing exercise that helps in detoxifying your body and improving the flow of energy in the body. When you perform this exercise, pollutants are quickly removed from your body after entering through the respiratory system. Asthmatic patients should only perform this exercise under proper guidance though. Here are the steps to do Bhastrika properly,

  1. Sit straight and relax your shoulder muscles. Use your nose to take deep breaths and fill up your belly with air.
  2. Once you are used to this process, start exhaling and inhaling forcefully with your nose. Ideally, you should be able to both inhale and exhale within one second to complete a cycle.
  3. The important part of performing Bhastrika is that the air should be coming from your diaphragm and the rest of your body should remain stationary.

Kapalbhati: An exercise with which we all are familiar due to its popularization by a certain popular yoga guru.  Kapalbhati is considered one of the most useful breathing exercises that help in detoxify our entire body. The exercise is especially useful for people who run out of breath easily. Here is how you should perform this exercise,

 

  1. Fold your legs and sit straight, keeping your spine straight is key part of this exercise.
  2. Begin by taking deep breaths and exhaling them forcefully with a whooshing sound. In Kapalbhati you have to keep your focus on exhaling quickly while inhalation can be done in a regular manner.
  3. In the third step, start contracting your abdominal muscles inwards as you exhale. When you perfect this exercise, your abdomen will rise up as you inhale and fold inwards as you exhale.

 

Agnisar Kriya: This exercise boosts our metabolism and ensures that the abdominal organs are working as they should. The importance of this exercise during winters is due to the fact that we tend to eat more in cold weather conditions. Even the best meals have a certain number of contaminants, and eating more means more toxins entering our bodies.

 

The Agnisar Kriya helps in digesting the food properly and keeping our abdomen clean. Here are the steps to do this exercise,

 

  1. Sit down comfortably and place your hands on your knees. Now hunch your shoulders up and inhale deeply.
  2. Hold your breath for a while and simultaneously bend your head forward. Try to touch your chin to your chest.
  3. In the next step, start pulling your abdomen inwards, as much as you can. Then expand it outwards, as much as possible. Now repeat the process rapidly, 5 times in and 5 times out, before taking a breath. Repeat the whole exercise for 5 minutes.

These yogic exercises will bring a veritable change in your activity levels during winters. You can increase the efficiency of these exercises by performing them in early mornings when the air is cleaner than it is during the daytime. If that is somehow not possible, you can buy an air purifier for your exercise room and enjoy the same benefits.

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