Pranayama for Breast Health

Pranayama for Breast Health

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Breathing for Breast Health

Did you know yoga and breathing can affect breast health? The relationship between breast health and the practice of yoga and specific Ayurvedic breathing or pranayama techniques has been well established.1-5

Many studies find both yoga and pranayama lead to significant increase in oxygen saturation.1 Modern humans are overly efficient in breathing oxygen, but chronically inefficient in maintaining necessary levels of carbon dioxide. In fact, 75% of the oxygen we breath in, we breathe right out, unused.17

Quick, shallow, overzealous mouth breathing exhales CO2, when actually higher levels are needed to saturate the tissues with oxygen. When CO2 stays low, due to overbreathing oxygen, oxygen stays in the blood, bound to hemoglobin, and never reaches the tissues, which can lead to tissue hypoxia. Ayurvedic breathing techniques have been shown to reverse this imbalance of CO2 and oxygen.

We recommend "Are You an Overbreather?":

Studies show when there is tissue hypoxia (low oxygen saturation), say, in the breast tissue, cells are vulnerable to damage, mutagenic stem cells, increased expression of drug-resistant genes, reduced expression of DNA-repair genes, and increased genomic instability.1

In one three-month study on the practice of yoga asanas, pranayama, and meditation, with 42 male volunteers, there was a significant increase in total antioxidant status. Glutathione peroxidase significantly increased, while oxidized or damaged compounds decreased, compared to the control group.1

Other studies on pranayama breathing techniques demonstrate significant improvements.

Benefits of Pranayama1

  1. Increased tissue oxygen saturation
  2. Decreased blood lactate
  3. Apoptosis: healthy timed cell death
  4. Lengthened telomeres: a marker of less stress and longevity
  5. Significant increase in total antioxidants

Breath Retention (Intermittent Hypoxia) Benefits

According to the original yogic texts, what makes a breathing technique a pranayama is breath retention or kumbhaka. In Western science, benefits of breath retention have been thoroughly studied under the name intermittent hypoxia.

Benefits of breath retention include:24,25

  • boosting stem cells
  • increased nitric oxide
  • more EPO (erythropoietin)
  • increased vascular endothelial growth factors
  • healthy inflammation response
  • metabolic and obesity support
  • transcription factors that protect the genome, while powerfully lowering blood pressure and blood sugar
  • Increased neuroplasticity addressing underlying emotional issues

Clearly, all these benefits will support optimal breast health and breast prevention.

Read more about the benefits of breath retention and intermittent hypoxia here.

Breath-Lymph Connection

According to Ayurveda, lymph or rasa is evaluated before blood or rakta. In the West, blood tests are the first-line diagnostics. In Ayurveda, evaluation of lymph comes first.

What are lymphatics? Simply put, they act as drains for metabolic waste, while the arteries are faucets, delivering nutrients and oxygen to every cell. Healthy blood flow depends on healthy lymphatic drainage.

You can see in the image below that the breast is surrounded by lymphatic tissue and lymph nodes. Women diagnosed with breast cancer have a 99% five-year survival rate when there is no lymphatic involvement.6

breast tissue lymph health

Role of the Lymphatic System in Breast Health

The lymphatic system is the largest circulatory system of the body. Some of the lymphatic system’s primary functions include:7-11

  1. Drainage of toxins, waste, and undigested fats and proteins
  2. Regulating fluid balance (edema)
  3. Carries and regulates immune system
  4. Delivers fats as baseline energy to every cell (linking lymph congestion to chronic fatigue)
  5. When congested, lymph will store undigested fats and fat-soluble hormones and environmental toxins in fat cells, including breast tissue

Lymph is not pumped by the heart, yet all lymphatics deliver their payload back to the heart, where it reenters the circulatory system. Blood circulates into capillaries, which diffuse into extracellular spaces as plasma or lymph. Lymph, along with blood, circulates back to the heart. Lymphatics circulate via gravity, pressure differentials, and muscular contractions.

Role of the Diaphragm in Breast Health

The diaphragm is one of the forgotten muscles. It contracts 26,000 times a day and is the major muscle of inspiration. If the diaphragm is prematurely fatiguing or not contracting fully—which is common12—the ribcage will not fully expand and associated lymphatics will not be efficiently pumped.

Full diaphragmatic contraction (inhale) and relaxation (exhale) are responsible for lymphatic drainage of the peritoneum or abdominal cavity.13 Breathing is one of our main lymphatic pumps, so if respiration is incomplete, lymph drainage will be compromised, leading to swelling, congestion, or fat in the waist, hips, thighs, arms, or breasts, where there is a predominance of available fat for storage of lymph-based toxins.14

In one study, a significant number of breast health-related patients had congestion in both axillary and anterior diaphragmatic lymph nodes, suggesting optimal contraction and full relaxation of the diaphragm with each breath may support healthier lymphatic function not only in the abdominal cavity and diaphragm, but in and around the breast.23

In hospitals around the world, a technique called inspiratory muscle training (or pratiloma in Ayurveda) has been used to enhance diaphragmatic function.

Results of Inspiratory Muscle Training (Pratiloma)15,16

  • Increased congestive heart health
  • Boosted lung health
  • Support for upper digestive issues
  • Decreased rates of asthma
  • Decreased pulmonary edema
  • Decreased risk of congestive heart failure
  • Support for gastrointestinal reflux (GERD)
  • And more
Practice this pratiloma video twice a day for optimal breast health.

Studies on Breathing for Breast Health

According to Ayurveda, breast health is linked to lymphatic function as a drain for toxic estrogens, fat-soluble toxins, and environmental pollutants. When lymph becomes congested, it can lead to a host of breath health-related symptoms. In addition to the studies mentioned above, studies on breathing for breath health have found the following:

  1. Decreased fatigue18
  2. Emotional support19
  3. Pain reduction20
  4. Stress reduction20
  5. Decreased breast-related lymph congestion21
  6. Extended lifespan22

How do you care for your breast health? Have you tried breath holds and inspiratory muscle training? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for visiting, where we publish cutting-edge health information combining Ayurvedic wisdom and modern science. If you are enjoying our free content, please visit our Ayurvedic Shop on your way out and share your favorite articles and videos with your friends and family.

Dr. John



5 thoughts on “Pranayama for Breast Health”

  1. A specially now, when quarantine ( plan) is asking people for less work, less body movements. Less movements will kill you faster. How? Toxicity. It works differently then from snake bite. When bitten, you should not move to spread toxin everywhere. But with heavy metal toxicity, the less you move, metals will cause stronger cell toxicity. More direct and longer contact. Less cell communications, functions. Metals are conductive, disrupt signaling. And together with toxic chemicals, they act as wrong catalysts, producing bad cholesterol, witch body doesn’t need. But good for high profit Statins. Bad cholesterol is sticky, blocking. In Germany, 50-60% of people now have some genes detoxing problems, even if their parents genes are full intact. In USA now, one third of population have NAFLD( non alcohol fatty liver disease). Even with strong diet, their weight bounce back. And dieting ( to fast loosing weight) can also cause big liver problems, because of to many toxins freed from fat tissues. Liver is producing up to 50% of lymph in the body. So above text needs to be longer and include liver foremost. In this times, we should, instead of congested, use word blocked. We are just to poisoned. Blocked lymph, liver bile ducts, and you have low or depleted oxygen, toxic precancerous fluid in pockets. Over the time (7-10 years ?), shedding cancer cells will at end empower over what is left of cancer destroying capability of smaller and smaller liver. Thank you Otto Heinrich Warburg, for doing half but job and getting Nobel price for Cancer cell metabolism. Or, maybe, sofort after the winning WWII, powers to be, didn’t want full story to disrupt the future world monopoly of Rockefeller Pharma oriented medicine? Also, you would not be a man, if you hadn’t some grudges, working as a jew under murderous genocidal Adolf? People, should learn where and how lymph is regenerated. Man can also, before breathing technique, use vibro plate for 15-30 minutes. First timers, maybe 5-10 minutes.

  2. I was wondering if you think that blissful states in the body from kundalini are positive health wise for this kind of cellular oxygenation? I was thinking about this for a few days and then felt this newsletter supports the concept.

    I think there are a couple of typos using contact instead of contract (contacts 26,000 times a day)?

    • Hi Nick,

      Kundalini is more subtle than oxygen but it appears that balancing O2 and CO2 may create the environment needed for kundalini to begin to move and thus be experienced or felt.

      Be Well,
      Dr. John

  3. Dear,

    I’m a certified Yoga For Cancer yoga teacher and in our studies says that it’s best not to teach breath retention to cancer patients. Any thoughts on that? As this is an interesting technique to show (breast)cancer patients.

    Warm regards,


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