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Yoga For Improved Pulmonary Function

Practicing yoga for a minimum of two days a week, one hour each day should help you experience improved lung function in about 10 weeks. Correct inhale and exhale will keep your lungs fit and help prevent problems such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis.

According to a recent study from Khon Kaen University in Thailand, greater expansion of the chest wall provides more oxygen with each breath and requires less effort to breathe. Young and healthy Thais who participated in just 18 short yoga sessions showed significant improvements on six of seven measures of respiratory function. Fifty eight volunteers, all around 20 years old, participated in the six-week study. The researchers chose five hatha yoga positions designed to improve chest wall function, including the cat, tree and camel positions. Half of the volunteers did hatha yoga during 20-minute sessions, three times a week. The control group did not do the exercises, but continued their usual lifestyles, and did not smoke or drink.

The researchers obtained baseline lung expansion and lung volume measures on the volunteers before the experiment and took final measurements after the experiment ended. They used a tape measure to determine lung expansion capacity, measuring the upper chest (sternum), middle chest (rib 5) and lower chest (rib 8). “Chest wall expansion allows individuals to get more air to the base of the lung,” explained lead researcher Raoyrin Chanavirut, in a press release.


Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)

Marjariasana-Bitilisana (Cat-Cow Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Akarana Dhanurasana (Bow Tensing)

Trikonasana (lateral bending pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Regular practice of yoga exercise will improve respiratory breathing capacity by increasing chest wall expansion and forced expiratory lung volumes.

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