US Study Finds What Indians Already Knew – Pranayama Helps You
Health benefits of pranayama or breathing exercises.
If you’ve grown up in an Indian household, you’re sure to have heard about or practiced pranayama, which are basically breathing exercises included in yoga. The word pranayama in Sanskrit means “breath control”. Yogic mantras have been known for centuries to help in strengthening the human respiratory system.
Now, a US study has found results saying exactly that, in a paper titled “Proper Breathing Brings Better Health”. Except, they called it “cardiac coherence breathing”.
And Indian Twitter being Indian Twitter, lost its mind. Some outraged saying the West likes to “steal traditional ancient practices, rename it, erase origin” and package it as new.
But to be fair to authors of the Scientific American authors, they do mention pranayama.
"Recommendations for how to modulate breathing and influence health and mind appeared centuries ago as well. Pranayama (“breath retention”) yoga was the first doctrine to build a theory around respiratory control, holding that controlled breathing was a way to increase longevity," says the report.
They then go on to say how in “modern times” other breathing techniques have cropped up which are better known. It mentions the much-mocked term by saying: “one popular technique – cardiac coherence – offers more detail about the ways that breathing exercises promote relaxation.”
Anyway, the Twitter hurt aside, the basic point of discussion should be how pranayama or any breathing exercise has proven health benefits – promoted both by the Indian practice of yoga and now this new US study.
The study reiterates that breathing techniques can make life better through stress reduction, insomnia prevention, emotion control, improved attention.
Practitioners have underlined the benefits of pranayama over the years. For example, kapalbhati, where one forcefully exhales rapidly and in short bursts, is claimed to help in cleaning lungs and in exercising the abdomen muscles. Anuloom-Viloom is known to help with relaxation as well as purifying lungs.
Moral of the story? Practice pranayama, cardiac coherence breathing or whatever you like to call it and have a relaxed life!
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