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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Register for the Colorado Cleanse
- Brahmari Pranayama: Enjoy 15x More Nitric Oxide Benefits with Humming
- Breath Retention + Pranayama: the Performance-Enhancing Effects (EPO, Stem Cells, Nitric Oxide + More!)
- Kumbhaka Pranayama: Yogic Breathing to Support Lower Blood Sugar Levels
- Pranayama for Breast Health
- Holding Your Breath? 80% of Us Have Email Apnea