We breathe as we live and that’s the bare minimum one does to stay alive. What if we told you, you could shed off those extra kilos by using breathwork?! Make your breathing do the work for you. Like no hard workouts at the gym, just some basic yoga exercises, and breathwork. Simple breathing exercise for weight loss doesn’t that sound amazing now?! Yoga has many health benefits and that’s not an unknown fact. Breathing exercise benefits the lungs and they gained quite some popularity during covid! A lot of doctors recommended daily breath work to their covid struck patients for better lung health.
Do you often look for answers on the internet to questions like, do breathing exercises help lose weight? Can breathing exercises reduce belly fat?
You’ll be surprised to know the amount of research that has been done on this subject. The final conclusion is that practicing breathing exercises daily not only helps with blood flow but also helps in improving our overall health. Added benefits are the loss of those extra inches if practiced correctly and consistently. Breathing exercises help in improving hair and skin health too. What a bonus, isn’t it? Get thick hair, a great physique, and glowing skin by just breathing mindfully. Whoa, now who wouldn’t want that, right?
Here are some of the most amazing health benefits of yoga and our thoroughly researched compilation of the top 8 breathing exercises for weight loss:
1) Anulom Vilom for Weight Loss (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Anulom Vilom is an excellent breathing exercise for weight loss as it betters our metabolic rate by improving digestion. It helps in curing constipation, spiking our energy levels thus leaving us feeling fresh and rejuvenated. Adding yoga and the right breathing exercises to your daily routine will also help in balancing the hormones which will in turn help with weight loss.
So how can I breathe to lose belly fat?
Follow these simple steps and watch your belly fat burn within a week.
- Close your eyes, sit upright with your back straight and legs cross folded to form a lotus position
- Then use your right thumb to hold your right nostril closed as you inhale and fill your lungs with air
- Then hold your left nostril closed using your middle finger and exhale the air from your right nostril
- Repeat 60 times a day, at regular time intervals to see quick changes in your body
- Try and practice this breathing technique at least for 5 minutes at a stretch
- Be mindful and focus on your breathing to reap maximum benefits
2) Nadi Shodhana
Nadi Shodhana is an extension of Anulom Vilom. It is actually the next level of Anulom Vilom. Just like its predecessor, Nadi Shodhana too has many health benefits, weight and fat loss being just one of them. Apart from reducing belly fat, Nadi shodhana helps with concentration, curing mental and respiratory ailments like anxiety, stress, bronchitis, asthma etc. It also helps with the improvement of the immune system and prevents infections like the common cold and flu from happening.
Since Nadi Shodhana is an extension of Anulom Vilom, the steps remain exactly the same. In Anulom Vilom, the performer is expected to practice alternate breathing without holding their breath. Whereas in Nadi Shodhana, the one practicing it is supposed to hold their breath at least for a minute before they exhale. Repeat this cycle for 4 – 5 minutes to gain the most out of it.
3) Kapalbhati for Weight Loss
The literal meaning of Kapalbhati translates to shining forehead or skull. Kapalbhati is a very significant breathing exercise for weight loss. Keep on reading as we discuss the health benefits, complications involved and the exact technique for performing this high pay-off breathing exercise.
Kapalbhati targets our metabolic rate, thereby aiding weight loss. It also helps us clear our nadis and increases blood and energy flow. It improves the functioning of our digestive tract thus leading to better absorption of nutrients into our system. So try Kapalbhati today itself to get a trimmed belly.
Steps for performing Kapalbhati
- Sit erect to presume the lotus position
- Take a deep breath in and as you exhale forcefully pull your stomach (nadi or navel) towards your spine
- Do not strain too much
- Keep one of your hands on your stomach to feel your stomach muscles contract
- Try and complete 30 rapid breaths
- Repeat the cycle 2-3 times at a stretch
- Practice daily
- Avoid if you suffer from cardiac issues, hernia or gastric ulcers, high blood pressure, giddiness, migraine, vertigo
4) Bhastrika Pranayama for Weight Loss
A healthy mind is imperative to have a healthy physical appearance. Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises help us attain this mind and body equilibrium that most people rave about.
Performing Bhastrika Pranayama is easy, follow the steps below for an effective workout.
- Sit in Padmasana Pose (lotus position) with your eyes closed
- Take a deep breath in, filling your lungs with air or oxygen
- Calmly breathe out the inhaled air
- Time your inhalations and exhalations to synchronize for the same length of time, 2.5 seconds to breathe in and 2.5 seconds to breathe out
- Think of it as inhaling good energy and exhaling bad chi or negativity (stagnant energy)
5) Surya Bhedana Pranayama
Surya means the sun and our right nostril is often referred to as Surya. Whereas bhedana means to pass through, hence the name suryabhedana as it translates to passing out air from the right nostril. This breathing exercise for weight loss focuses particularly on using our right nostril which connects to the Pingala nadi or the solar energy channel of the body. Surya Bhedana breathwork helps us control the left hemisphere of our brain. Practicing this pranayam for weight loss leads to multiple benefits like the production of body heat which aids fat burning. With regular exercise, you’ll experience reduced bloating which gives our body a leaner appearance. It also helps in clearing impurities of the blood, skin and mind. Activation of the feel-good hormones is an extra added bonus.
Follow the points procedure given below to carry out the Surya bhedana pranayama
- Sit straight in a comfortable asana, keeping the waist, back, neck and spine erect. Beginners can even sit on a chair.
- Inhale and exhale slowly, without stressing your mind or body
- Close the right nostril pressing it with the thumb of your right hand on it.
- Close the left right nostril pressing it with the ring finger of your right hand again. Place the other hand on your knee.
Practice it daily throughout the day for 5-7 mins each session to obtain maximum benefits.
6) Bhramari Mudra Pranayama (Humming Bee Breathing Technique)
Bhramari pranayama is extremely useful in making the mind quiet thus helping it get rid of frustration, anger and anxiety. As we all know, stress is one of the biggest contributing factors in weight gain, hence it’s important to keep our mind calm and happy.
It is popularly known as the humming bee breathing technique as the exhalation in this exercise resembles the humming of a bee.
Wondering how to carry out this exercise? If yes then replicate the steps given below
- Sit straight in a silent and airy corner of your room with your eyes closed.
- Keep your eyes shut to closely observe the sensations in your body.
- Place each of your index fingers on the cartilage of your ears.
- Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, gently press the cartilage. Press your cartilage with your fingers while making a loud humming sound like a bee.
- Hum loudly for the best possible results.
- Repeat 4-5 times daily.
7) Agnisar Pranayama
This exercise is best to reduce stomach gasses and bloating because of indigestion or poor digestion. This breathing exercise for weight loss helps in toning and slimming paunchy abdominal muscles led by the vigorous massage that happens to our internal organs while performing the same. It also reduces unwanted cravings and improves appetite in a good way.
Procedure to perform agnisar pranayama for weight loss
- Sit in Padmasana and place your hands on your knees. Make yourself comfortable, close your eyes and relax. Ensure to exercise mindful breathing and breath control.
- Stretch both the arms erect and keep them on the knees with slight pressure. Contract and expand the stomach trying to touch the navel deep inside the stomach. Exhale slow, deep and stable breaths simultaneously.
- Now inhale by taking deep, stable and slow breaths.
- In one particular cycle, try to contract and expand the stomach at least ten times. As a beginner try and practice it for 5 times and then slowly increase it up to 15 cycles.
8) Sitali Pranayama (Cool Down Breath)
The cool-down breathing exercise for weight loss really helps one have immense control over hunger and thirst, and also cools down our body and mind at the same time.
How to get there
- Get in a comfortable lotus position as you would while performing yoga/meditation.
- Stick your tongue out from your mouth and roll it.
- Then Inhale through your rolled tongue.
- Begin with a 4 second inhale and exhale for 6 seconds through your nostrils.
- Practice it for 5-7 minutes everyday.
Although this exercise sounds like a cakewalk, it isn’t. It requires mindfulness and breath control along with mind & body coordination. But there is nothing that cannot be perfected as long as you are dedicated enough to keep practicing without giving up.
Now that you are loaded with substantial information backed by science and research about the benefits of breathing exercise for weight loss, don’t wait any longer and just get going. Get shredded by making your breathing do all the hard work for you.
Also check: 6 Instant Relief Yoga Asanas For Back Pain