Yoga Benefits: Measured with a Simple Body O2 Test
“Hence, so many people are curious about yoga. It is a
surprisingly wise system of exercises…” Dr.
Buteyko Lecture in the Moscow State University, 1969
Can yoga defeat heart disease and cancer? Are less symptoms for diabetes and COPD among claimed yoga benefits? Yoga health benefits are huge and measurable if one slows down own breathing to increase body oxygenation. Among
various styles, schools, techniques and types
of yoga, there is one traditional school that is devoted to excellent
physical health: hatha yoga.
Here is a video on the right side about
It provides dozens of clinical studies and key quotes from ancient yoga texts.
Since this website is mostly devoted to
physiological health and diseases, we are going to focus on
yoga benefits in relation to health, especially
the benefits of hatha yoga, which has two most
essential types of practices: breathing exercises and practicing asanas
(or yoga postures).
Yoga benefits are in slower breathing 24/7
to yoga benefits is in the understanding of breathing. I am not talking
about any breathing exercises. Breathing takes place 24/7 and the body
requires oxygen 24/7 or all the time. Hence, it is necessary to consider our automatic
or unconscious breathing that is going on day and night. (For clinical studies
and exact numbers related to automatic breathing in healthy, normal and sick
people, see the Homepage of this site: breathing).
Let me start with traditional views on
There are several classic manuscripts on Hatha Yoga written
between centuries ago: Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Gheranda
Samhita and the Shiva Samhita. What do they teach about breathing
and benefits of yoga?
The Shiva Samhita (17-18 century)
(5) The Pranayama
"22. Then let the wise practitioner close with his right thumb the
pingala (right nostril), inspire air through the ida (the left nostril); and
keep the air confined – suspend his breathing – as long as he can; and
afterwards let him breathe out slowly, and not forcibly, through the right
23. Again, let him draw breath through the right nostril, and stop breathing
as long as his strength permits; then let him expel the air through the left
nostril, not forcibly, but slowly and gently."
"39. When the Yogi can, of his will, regulate the air and stop the
breath (whenever and how long) he likes, then certainly he gets success in
kumbhaka, and from the success in kumbhaka only, what things cannot the Yogi
"43. ... from the perfection of pranayama, follows decrease of sleep,
excrements and urine."
Increase of Duration
"53. Then gradually he should make himself able to practice for three gharis
(one hour and a half at a time, he should be able to restrain breath for
that period). Through this, the Yogi undoubtedly obtains all the longed for
"57. When he gets the power of holding breath (i.e., to be in a
trance) for three hours, then certainly the wonderful state of pratyahar is
reached without fail."
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali (4th-2nd century BC)
"Pranayama [the main breathing exercise in yoga] is the cessation of
inspiratory and expiratory movements."
The Gheranda Samhita (15-17 century)
"7. Wherenever the yogi may be, he should always, in everything
he does, be sure to keep the tongue upwards and constantly hold the
breath. This is Nabhomudra, the destroyer of diseases for yogis. "
Curious about quotes from the most popular yoga book Hatha Yoga Pradipika (15 century)? These quotes are provided right here below as your bonus content.
All these original texts do not have any referrals to "deep breathing"
and ideas related to intensive expelling poisons from the
lungs. In fact, you cannot find the term "deep breathing" in ancient yoga texts. They suggest the opposite ideas: to restrain, keep in, calm, and
hold the breath.
if you start reading more recent books (written during the
last 40-50 years, not before that) and web sources, you can find
that nearly all leading and most popular
teachers claim that breathing should be deep
(i.e., deep unconscious breathing pattern), that there are (some
mysterious) toxins and poisons expelled from the lower parts of the
lungs with deep breathing, and that CO2 is toxic (!).
There are still yoga teachers (very few though)
who have a traditional understanding of automatic
breathing, but in our modern age of education and knowledge, it is
impossible to have a clear vision of yoga practices, including the effects
and benefits of yoga, without an understanding of CO2 properties.
Currently, Bikram Yoga (or hot yoga) is the most popular yoga branch
and movement. To learn about modern Bikram Yoga teachers and their
understanding of breathing, visit this page:
Bikram yoga benefits.
Dr. KP Buteyko studied hatha yoga in detail and he discovered the
main secret of yogi's super-health. This secret is explained on the web
page Yoga Breathing Secret. More details about
Yoga Pranayama: Who and How Gets
Conclusions. The majority of modern yoga teachers believe that
deep breathing is good for health and that CO2 is a toxic waste gas.
Since the actual situation is the opposite (chronic diseases develop
due to alveolar hyperventilation), yoga benefits are limited and most
people cannot improve their health using this fascinating ancient
health practice. Thus, it is very unlikely for the person to defeat
cancer or get rid of heart disease or diabetes with modern yoga.
The reasons are simple: yoga was created centuries ago. It could
not anticipate huge lifestyle changes that took place in our living lives.
One can get amazing yoga beenfits (such as sleeping naturally for
2-4 hours only, having abundant energy, great digestion, no diseases at all),
if the person increases body O2 levels up to 60 s and higher numbers. You
will find more details about the power of breathing on the Homepage
of this site.
Go back to Yoga pages
You can leave your grammatically correct feedback and/or comments below. Thanks.