According to weight loss statistics, there are 1 billion overweight adults in the world among which 62.9% have reported exercising is a common method to come out of obesity.
The exercising you choose depends on your obesity level, will power & of course your physical condition. The easiest among all exercising methods is to take conscious breathing i.e. pranayama.
Does effective breathing techniques help in weight loss?
Yes, breathing techniques of pranayama can help you with weight loss! But how does this ancient practice of controlling the flow of Prana works on excess weight gained over the body? Modern science has found answers to it in its own way.
How Does Pranayama Help in Weight Loss?
As we know Pranayama is deep and conscious breathing, in which oxygen supply increased to the cellular community of our body. Due to this increase in the oxygen supply, metabolism becomes super active in the body, thus decreases BMI.
A super active metabolism simply means burning a higher number of calories. The higher the metabolic rate is, quickly you’ll lose the weight.
1. Pranayama Reduces BMI
In a control trial study done by Hampton University researchers, they choose 60 overweight students & divide them into 2 groups.
- 1st group’s overweight students had given 40 minutes deep pranayama breathing class 4 times a week for 3 months.
- While another group (control group) overweight students did their normal activities.
On following this for 3 months, the below results are seen:
- Average BMI in 1st group decreased from 22.8 to 21.5 (5.7% down)
- While in the control group student’s BMI increased from 22.3 to 22.4.
This study suggests regularizing pranayama practice in our daily routine doesn’t let extra fat accumulate on the body.
But did you get surprised where this extra burns by pranayama, even without sweating through a daily vigorous exercise routine?
2. During Pranayama, Excess Weight Flies as CO2
The fat we get from what we eat is converted into carbon dioxide & water as a residue. So if you’re not letting these two side products expelling out, it accumulates in the body in the form of triglyceride (excess fat).
A study published on The BMJ 1 says, In deep breathing, an increased supply of oxygen reacts with fat accumulated into triglyceride while keeping fat-free mass intact.
This chemical reaction shows how triglyceride fat burns in oxidation:
C55H104O6+ 78O2→ 55CO2+ 52H2O + energy
Now on adding Stoichiometry, In order to oxidize 10 kg of fat, you will need to inhale 29 kg of oxygen that further will produce 28 kg of carbon dioxide.
So if your breathing is deep enough, it means you already expelling extra fat out from the body.
Yoga Breathing for Weight Loss
After reading science explained above, you would have understood the breathing techniques of pranayama has great power to flat your round tummy.
However, all the pranayama is beneficial for the body in some way, still, we have covered these special breathing techniques that will double the rate of flattening your tummy.
1. Kapalbhati Pranayama
Also known as skull shining breath, comprises active shots of exhalation triggered through the abdomen wall. To do kapalbhati pranayama for weight loss, follow the steps below:
- Sit in a comfortable meditative posture.
- Place your hands on your knees, either free or in Gyan mudra.
- Close your eyes and take your first breath slowly in.
- Now begin exhaling forcefully so that you feel the inward movement of belly on every exhalation.
- If you’re a beginner, continue this breathing for 2-3 minutes. An advance practitioner can go for more rounds.
Weight Reducing Benefits of Kapalbhati:
There are many benefits of kapalbhati which have a simple working mechanism behind all, is active exhalation & passive inhalation.
- In normal breath, our inhale is active & exhale is passive. By making active exhalation, kapalbhati works great for belly fat reduction.
- Forcefully exhalation of air activates the abdominal muscles, which helps in the removal of excess fat and toning of the abdomen.
- Deep inhalation helps in the pouring of a good amount of oxygen into the circulatory system, which enhances metabolism.
Pin up the Points:
- Avoid exposure to the cold water and air-conditioned surroundings right after the practice.
- Research has found that practicing Kapal Bhati pranayama helps in the reduction of waist and hips circumferences, which ultimately helps in weight loss.
2. Anulom Vilom Pranayama
This is another helpful weight-reducing breathing exercise. Due to the use of both the nostrils, one after another ‘Anulom vilom’ is also known as ‘alternate breathing’.
To do alternate breathing for weight loss, follow the below-given steps:
- Straight your spine & sit comfortably on your mat.
- Place left hand over your knee, either freely or in some mudra.
- Now close right nostril by thumb inhale from the left nostril,
- Next, close the left with the index finger and exhale through your right nostril.
This completes the ‘Anulom Vilom’ Pranayam. Repeat the practice for 3-4 minutes on a regular basis for the better results.
Weight Reducing Benefits of Anulom Vilom:
- Fat acquired due to the hormonal imbalance is settled by long inhalation in anulom vilom. Further, it improves metabolism and ultimately activated endocrine glands.
- It removes toxins from the blood, which prevents the supply of oxygenated blood to the fat store muscles.
Pin up the Points:
- One should stop if there is a sudden discomfort during the course of performing this breathing.
- Pregnant women should go through the necessary precaution before practicing.
3. Bhramari Pranayama
In this breathing, you need to produce a vibration through the throat. That vibration resembles sound of a bee, this is why ‘humming bee breath’ is another name of this breathing technique.
To do Bhramari pranayama for weight loss, here are the steps:
- Sit in a cross-legged posture with spine erect & shoulder relax.
- Close your ears with the thumbs and simultaneously close your eyes with the ring and middle finger.
- Now, slowly inhale and exhale by creating a sound like a bee, whose vibration should experience throughout your body.
You can also go for advance practice of Bhramari pranayama, when comfortable with basic technique.
After 7-8 rounds, unhurriedly remove your fingers and hands down. Feel the sensation of humming vibration running throughout the whole body.
Weight Reducing Benefits of Bhramari:
- Bhramari reduces weight by promoting the secretion of serotonin hormone 2, which acts as a stress buster. Because stress is also a common cause of weight gain, bhramari promotes weight loss action.
- It helps in overcoming respiratory ailments, which further promotes deep breathing and ultimately assists metabolic activity.
Pin up the Points:
- Heart patient is not advised to retain the breath for too long.
- Do not put your thumb inside of your ear canal and try not to put pressure on the cartilage (pinna).
4. Bhastrika Pranayama
Bhastrika pranayama, which means ‘Breath of fire’ is a very powerful exercise that could burn all your excess fat within a few months.
This pranayama breathing involves the forceful inhalation and exhalation at the same pace.
- Sit in a comfortable posture (sukhasana, padmasana) & relax your shoulder muscles.
- Now, inhale deeply and forcibly while bringing your hands up.
- Exhale at the same pace respectively & bring hands down to shoulder level. The duration of the inhale and exhale should be the same in this breathing.
- Feel the movement of the abdomen and contraction and relaxation of your diaphragm.
See Here: Detailed instructions of bhastrika
Weight Reducing Benefits of Bhastrika:
- Forcible nature of bhastrika pranayama promotes the activeness of the muscles at the physical level, which helps in shedding off the stored fat.
- It helps in the detoxification process by purifying the blood from various toxins, which hindered the active metabolism.
Pin up the Points:
- Pregnant women should avoid this breathing practice.
- People with the condition of high blood pressure should also avoid the practice.
Do You Have Bad Breathing Habits?
Breath symbolizes the ‘Prana’, which nourishes your body. Improper reception makes the prana (breath) less utilizable for the rest of the body. Such a situation gives rise to various body ailments. Weight gain is one of the results of bad prana or breathing. Obese people have a tendency of unconscious breath.
It diminishes their metabolic activity and prevents the cell from excreting fully. Results in, the build-up of toxins in the blood and further supports the weight gaining elements in the body.
Unconscious breath or shallow breath not only bring the less amount of oxygen to the cells but also expells the less amount of CO2 from the blood. This condition promotes various issues regarding weight gain.
Diseases You’re Prone To, If Obese:
Being overweight or obese invites so many diseases to your body and some of them are even life-threatening (heart-related). So, here is a list if you are in the category of overweight or obese people –
- Slipped capital femoral epiphyses (SCFE)
- Coronary artery heart disease
- Heart failure
- Respiratory disorder (sleep apnea, asthma)
- When somebody loses weight, where does the fat go? https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/349/bmj.g7257.full.pdf
- Serotonin: What It Is and Why It’s Important for Weight Loss https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/