Podcast Episode 116: Powerful Breathing Techniques for Detoxing

Podcast Episode 116: Powerful Breathing Techniques for Detoxing

September 14, 2021 | 79 minutes, 26 seconds

In This Article

Podcast Show Notes

In this episode of the Ayurveda Meets Modern Science podcast, host John Douillard, DC, CAP, discusses breathing techniques for detoxing, exercise, and stress.

Breathing and Detox

In 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that some 70 million tons of pollution were being released into the atmosphere each year. The vast majority of these pollutants are fat-soluble and a challenge to detoxify from your body.

Breathing is one of the body’s primary means of detoxing fat. Fats are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, which we break down into carbon dioxide and water and breathe out. For example, to break down 22 pounds of fat, we need to inhale 64 pounds of oxygen, and that burns up about 94,000 calories. This reaction produces 62 pounds of carbon dioxide, along with 24 pounds of water that we sweat or urinate out.

See also Air Pollution Protection with Ayurvedic Detox + Tulsi, Amalaki, and Turmeric

How do Breathing Exercises Help? 

Breathing techniques that mimic exercise increase metabolic activity seven-fold—which increases the CO2 we breathe away as fat by 20 percent. But the real efficiency of detoxifying through the breath comes from breathing exercises that encourage the use of all five lobes of the lungs.

The average person breaths in about 500 milliliters of air, while the total capacity of a full inhalation—called the inspiratory reserve volume—is 3,000 milliliters of air. Practicing breathing techniques can access this massive reserve and increase the carbon dioxide you exhale and the amount of fat you detox.

See also Boost Fat Metabolism with this Breathing Technique

The Science of Breathing

More and more studies are published every year on the science of breathing. In Ayurveda and yoga, specific breathing practices are called pranayama. The word prana means “life force” in Sanskrit, while ayama means “to expand.”

Pranayama practices expand life force into the body, for physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The pranayama known as kumbhaka, is a practice for breath retention, which research shows has many benefits, including neuroplasticity, stem cell production, enhanced nitric oxide production, increased production of the hormone Erythropoietin (EPO), and more.

Instead of retaining our inhalations for a bit longer, most of us over-breathe. Over-breathing is the result of our tendency to take shallow breaths, using just the upper lungs. In its extreme, over-breathing is called hyperventilation. A great way to overcome over-breathing is through practicing ujjayi pranayama, or victorious breath. Ujjayi is a slow pranayama that employs some resistance to inhalations and exhalations and calms the nervous system while enhancing self-awareness. Ujjayi has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress-related illnesses.

See also Pranayama Prescription: What’s the Right Kumbhaka (Breath Hold) for You?

Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief

How you breathe matters. The way you inhale correlates to how you respond to stress!

To help find inner calm when under stress, look no further than our one-minute meditation technique. This one-minute meditation includes bhastrika pranayama, commonly known as bellows breath, which can help reduce stress while simultaneously increasing alertness and reaction time.

Another powerful breathing technique is kapalabhati pranayama, commonly known as skull cleansing breath, which is designed to promote healthy lymph drainage from the brain. Kapalabhati is also great for maintaining a healthy heart, blood sugar levels, and balanced weight.

See also Strengthen Your Lungs Now: Pratiloma Pranayama + Inspiratory Muscle Training

Join the Colorado Cleanse

LifeSpa’s Colorado Cleanse is a 14-day lymph and digestive detox program that will help you reset your entire system. This kitchari cleanse has been developed by Dr. Douillard through decades of clinical practice with thousands of successful cleansers, many of whom are now its biggest fans. Learn more about the Colorado Cleanse, which incorporates food, supplements, yoga, meditation, and, of course, breathing practices!

Additional Resources for Powerful Breathing Techniques for Detoxing

Ayurveda Meets Modern Science is hosted by Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP, founder of LifeSpa and author of seven health books (including bestselling Eat Wheat and The 3-Season Diet), seven online courses (including Yoga Journal courses Ayurveda 101 and 201), and numerous free eBooks.

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4 thoughts on “Podcast Episode 116: Powerful Breathing Techniques for Detoxing”

    • Hi Lynne,

      We are glad to hear you are loving our content. We will pass along your thoughts! We do have a lot of breathing articles and videos on the website you can find by searching “breathing” or “pranayama”.


      LifeSpa Staff

  1. Hello,
    Thanks so much for this article. It is brilliant. I am so appreciative of all the resources you provide for us. May I please ask if you would make a series of short videos for youtube where Dr. Douillard just does each breath individually? Please label them with the English and Indian names so we can search for them. I would like to be able to create playlists of the different breaths to make routines that I can do along with Dr. Douillard every day. So just one short video with Bhastrika/Bellows Breath, and one with just Ujjayi, and one for kapalabhati, and then one for kumbhaka, brahmari, and so on. I know you demonstrate these in many videos, but maybe you could just edit the actual demonstration part out of the longer videos so that we can quickly pop on and breathe with you for a few minutes every day. That would be amazing! Thanks so much!

  2. Thank you so much for kindly sharing your wisdom! I have done a lot of pranayama over the years and am so looking forward to putting some of these new ones into practice. You are golden!


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