Modern science take on Indian Breathing Practices

Modern science take on Indian Breathing Practices

·Feb 12, 2023·

3 min read

After decades-long misrepresentation of the Sanatha dharma(Hindu living practices) getting its importance across the globe, primarily from the west. don't worry, I Ain't gonna talk about it. It is miraculous how they learned about these practices thousands of years ago. These postures are advertised on their architectural monuments, like community halls and venues for public gatherings. One of the least discussed topics of those postures is breathing practice(pranayama). It looks subtle and delivers tremendous positive results. Let's see what modern science takes on these breathing practices.

Here are some of the mentions

Stress reduction

Breathing practices can help reduce stress and anxiety by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's relaxation response. When we're feeling stressed or anxious, our breathing tends to become shallow and rapid, which activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's fight or flight response. By practising deep, slow breathing, we can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows down the heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and calms the mind.

Improved respiratory function

Breathing practices can help improve respiratory function by increasing lung capacity and promoting efficient oxygen exchange. By practising deep breathing, we can take in more oxygen and exhale more carbon dioxide, which benefits our overall respiratory health. Additionally, breathing practices can help improve lung function by strengthening the muscles used for breathing and increasing the elasticity of the lung tissue.

Boosting the immune system

Some studies have suggested that breathing practices can help boost the immune system by increasing the production of immune cells and improving overall immune function. This is believed to be due to the reduction of stress and anxiety that occurs as a result of practising breathing exercises, as stress is known to suppress the immune system. Additionally, breathing practices may stimulate the release of cytokines, signalling molecules that regulate the immune response.

Pain management

Breathing practices have been used as a form of pain management, particularly in people with chronic pain conditions. By promoting relaxation and reducing stress, breathing practices can help reduce pain and improve the overall quality of life. Additionally, some breathing practices may activate the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body.

Improved cognitive function

Breathing practices have been shown to improve cognitive function, including attention, memory, and learning. This is believed to be due to the increased oxygenation of the brain that occurs as a result of deep breathing, as well as the reduction of stress and anxiety that can impair cognitive function. Additionally, some breathing practices may activate the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which are involved in attention and memory processes.

In conclusion, breathing practices have a scientific basis for promoting physical and mental health. By reducing stress and anxiety, improving respiratory function, boosting the immune system, managing pain, and improving cognitive function, breathing practices have been shown to have a wide range of health benefits.


  • Chen, K. W., Chiang, H. L., & Chen, Y. C. (2010). The effects of yoga on psychologic variables and stress in healthy adults. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 16(2), 153-158.

  • Tavel, M. E. (2017). The Science of Breathing. Postgraduate Medicine, 129(1), 39-47.

  • Bhatia, D. S., & Vashisht, N. (2010). The Physiology of Pranayama. Yoga Mimamsa, 42(1), 1-12.
  • Armaiz-Pena, G., Gonzalez-Villasana, V., Lopez-Berestein, G., & Sood, A. K. (2010). Breath control and cancer: a new frontier in complementary therapy. Nature Reviews Cancer, 10(9), 674-680.
  • Patel, N., & North, R. (2010). Pain management and mindfulness meditation. The Journal of Pain, 11(3), 199-200.
  • Tsang, H. W., & Hui-Chan, C. W. (2017). The effects of pranayama on cognitive function and cardiovascular health. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 35(1), 3-11.

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