Cleansing breath to detoxify the body
What can you absolutely not live without? Exactly; breathing. Food and water are important, of course, but without oxygen you probably wouldn’t last three minutes. While without food and water, you can last up to three days. Fortunately, breathing is something you do subconsciously, and you do it about 12 to 18 times a minute. Therefore, breathing is part of the autonomous nervous system, and it automatically regulates all unconscious functions and processes in your body.
We don’t realize that we can influence the autonomous nervous system and that the right way of breathing does so much more than keep you alive. Cleansing breathing reduces stress, works well in combination with exercise and makes for a faster metabolism. A game changer for all kinds of diets. Curious about why a detoxifying breath is so good and which breathing exercises work well? Read on!
Why is it important to breathe properly?
It may sound a little strange, detoxifying or cleansing breath. Yet, it is one of the most effective ways of cleaning up your body. After all, your breathing is a way of getting rid of waste products.
Besides your liver, kidneys, lymph nodes and skin, your diaphragm and lungs are an essential part of detoxifying the body. According to research by Ruben Meerman, we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. In that carbon dioxide – our exhalation – there are carbon atoms. What many people do not know is that these carbon atoms come from our food and are converted into carbon dioxide. This means that we actually exhale a large part of our food again. Does all this sound a bit abstract? This video explains exactly how this works.
What do yoga breathing techniques do?
Now that you know more about why breathing and metabolism are connected, you might be wondering what yoga has to do with it. As mentioned earlier, breathing is part of the autonomic nervous system. This system is divided into the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic part regulates everything that has to do with activity. So your heart rate and blood pressure go up, and this happens when we feel threatened or stressed, for example. The parasympathetic helps us to recover from that effort. Watch this video for a detailed explanation!
Our busy way of living life means that the sympathetic nervous system is constantly ‘on’. You can imagine that it is not good for your body to be in that constant state of stress. This is precisely why it is so important to use proper breathing techniques to ensure that the parasympathetic nervous system is activated more quickly. This is where cleansing breathing, or in this case yoga breathing, comes in handy.
3 x breathing techniques that reset your body
Your yogi breath helps reset your body and stimulates your metabolism as well. A win-win situation! Below you will find three cleansing breathing techniques that have a detoxifying effect and are easy to do. So roll out your yoga mat and make sure you can sit comfortably for the following meditation breathing techniques. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing to practise your breathing exercises in. That makes it so much easier to focus on what’s important; breathing!
Yoga breathing is a good cleansing breath to start with. You start with pelvic breathing, abdominal breathing, to flank breathing and then to chest breathing. Actually it is a very deep breathing where you breathe in and out completely from pelvis to chest. In this exercise, the out-breath is just as important as the in-breath. Do you find it difficult? Lay down on your back, so you can focus all your attention on the breath.
This purifying breathing belongs to the 5 phases of Pranayama breathing and is also called fire breathing. It is a powerful exercise that cleanses the lungs and the organs in the abdominal area. Kapal (forehead) bathi (shining) in Sanskrit, helps the body to get rid of waste products. It is important to sit well for this posture as the intensity and speed of this breathing can make you feel a little light-headed.
Are you a beginner? Start with Ujjayi breathing (ocean breathing). This cleansing breathing technique increases the oxygen level in your blood. It energizes while you relax and is often used during yoga asanas.
Neti pot or neti nasal cleansing is an Indian method from Ayurveda where you rinse your nose with salt water. If you suffer from respiratory problems due to a cold or hay fever, it is recommended to use Neti pot. This technique clears your nose, so you can focus on your yoga practice and practice your cleansing breath.
It’s safe to say that your breathing is important on a mental and physical level. Detoxifying breathing cleanses your body from the inside out and the meditative aspect of yoga breathing reduces stress by making sure your body is not always ‘on’. In addition, your (cleansing) breathing speeds up your metabolism, and it’s good to combine these techniques with your yoga practise or sports routine. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes of your day. And you get so much more in return, so why not start right away! Inhale – exhale.