International Yoga Day: Benefits of yoga and pranayama

Yoga is an old discipline from India. It is both spiritual and physical. Yoga uses breathing techniques, exercise and meditation. It helps to improve health and happiness

International Yoga Day: Benefits of yoga and pranayama

Benefits of yoga

  • Improves flexibility
  • Corrects your posture
  • Prevents joint pain
  • Increases circulation
  • Improves your overall happiness
  • Improves your cardiovascular health
  • Improves sleep
  • Increases breathing and lung capacity
  • Decreases pain
  • Improve strength
  • Improve balance
  • Reduce stress and anxiety


Pranayama is a part of yoga system that teaches you the art of extending your breath in many different ways.

When practicing pranayama the breath should be skilfully inhaled, exhaled and retained.

It teaches you to change the depth, rate and pattern of breathing.

Breathing is vital for our survival as it is the only way we can send oxygen inside our body and into our organs.

We can live for months without consuming food and days without water, however we can only survive a few minutes without breathing.

When you learn the breathing techniques it will positively affect your actions and thoughts.

Best time to practice pranayama

  • Pranayama or breathing exercise can be a great way to start your day.
  • Early morning is the best time to practice pranayama, especially outside where you can find fresh air.
  • It is recommended to do breathing exercises on an empty stomach.

Benefits of pranayama

  • Pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress related disorder.
  • Pranayama improves the autonomic functions.
  • It helps relieving the symptoms of asthma.
  • It reduces the signs of oxidative stress in the body.
  • Practicing pranayama everyday can assist in steady mind, strong will power and sound judgement.
  • Regular pranayama can extend life and enhance ones perception of life.
  • Number of studies show that pranayama causes change in the cardio respiratory system including lowering of blood pressure
  • Certain pranayama’s are excellent for weight loss.

Breathe right with pranayamas to relieve anxiety

Taking your attention to the breath can help free the mind of the unnecessary clutter of thoughts that breed anxiety. Try the following breathing practices:

Kapal Bhati Pranayama (skull-shining breathing technique)

Bhastrika Pranayama

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) – effective in releasing stress from the system (where the exhalation is longer than the inhalation)

Bhramari Pranayama (bee breath)

Meditate to enjoy the gift of a relaxed mind. Stay happy and enjoy every moment. Pray, keep faith and smile. Keep positive company around you

The author is a certified yoga trainer