Asana Health Benefits: Only if You Progress to Breathe Slower and Less
By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author - Last updated on August 9, 2018
You will be super healthy 24/7 if you retrain your breathing (this may take months or years) so that you are able to maintain this automatic (unconscious) breathing pattern at rest during your sleep and yoga asana practice:
In this YouTube video below, Volker Schmitz (yoga teacher from Hamburg, Germany) and Dr. Artour (Toronto, Canada) discuss how to get amazing asana health benefits by practicing asanas with controlled (reduced) breathing and measuring progress using the body oxygen test (known as "control pause") in seconds.
Synopsis of yoga asana video
Buteyko Breathing expert, Dr. Artour Rakhimov, asks experienced yoga teacher, Volker Schmitz, how yoga postures, or asanas, help breathing retraining; and the opposite, how breathing retraining can help people achieve better asanas in yoga. Volker begins his answer to Dr. Artour saying there is a mutual, connecting effect between Buteyko breath retraining and practicing yoga asanas.
Volker discusses the results of a study measuring breaths-per-minute and heart rates after 20-30 minute headstands. After extended headstands, breathing and heart rates were significantly reduced, and parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems were balanced. Yoga postures do not yield the same results for all people, however, individual results vary.
Hundreds of years ago, when yoga was developed, people naturally breathed slower and less, 24 hours daily, 7 days a week. The postures that were developed back then were designed for people who had slow, easy breathing. Today’s yoga teachers encourage deep breathing which contradicts scientific studies that demonstrate how slowing down our breathing is the way to increase body oxygen.
What kind of benefits arrive when yoga students slow down their breathing and reach higher body oxygen test levels? Learning postures are easier when yoga students eliminate mild hyperventilation. Benefits include higher concentration levels when body oxygen increases. Students have better nerve and muscle control, lose weight, sleep less, practice more, and hold postures longer with better oxygenation. It is easier to get into some asanas at normal body weights than it is at heavier weights.
Benefits come from incorporating pranayama with asanas, says Volker, for example, having two breaths per minute during asana practices, and then gradually having longer and longer durations for this slow breathing when executing asanas.
According to Dr. K.P. Buteyko, hatha yoga masters have ideal physical health, not because of extreme flexibility or just practicing asanas, but because they are, according to their unconscious breathing parameters, in the very top row (Super Health Zones) of the
Buteyko Table of
Health Zones due to their easy diaphragmatic breathing at
rest or during sleep with about 3-4 breaths per minute and up to 48-50 mm Hg for arterial carbon dioxide concentrations.
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