I always thought that breathing is an autonomous process – but while I was doing some research, I learnt that breathing is the only autonomous system of the body that we CAN control, through conscious breathing practices such as pranayama.
In addition, I found out that there are MANY ways of pranayama, each with its own benefits. The more I know, the more I want to find out – I never imagined I would find breathing interesting.
Anyway, just for fun – I decided to test out some of the things I read about Pranayama/ breathing and below are my results:
|S/N||What I Read/ Heard||My Test Results*|
|1||Pranayama helps with weight loss – the practice of breathing techniques is an effective way to reduce body fat.||TRUE that pranayama reduces body fat but FALSE that it helps to lose weight. I practised Kapalbhati everyday for a week and found that my abdominal muscles became more defined.|
|2||Pranayama improves sense of well-being and immunity, among other numerous health benefits.||TRUE.
I find that my rhinitis did not act up for the period that I was practising pranayama, and I did not have to use my nasal spray for that week!
|3||According to some studies, breathing more slowly and taking longer breaths can reduce one’s appetite.||FALSE.
I tried this before meals and even in between my meals but it did not work for me.
|4||Some clinical studies have shown that Bhramari pranayama slows down breathing and heart rate and this may help calm our body for sleep.||TRUE for Ujjayi breathing, not for Bhramari pranayama. I practised ujjayi breathing for about 5 minutes and it helped cure my insomnia.|
|5||When we breathe, we are either right nostril or left nostril dominant. It is believed that the right nostril is more open or breathing more smoothly when we are more fired up/ active/ aroused. Dominance in the left nostril tends to happen when we are relaxed and at ease.||FALSE.
I tried this for more than 10 times over three days but my right nose was almost always more dominant. However, I think this could be because of my rhinitis that blocked one of my nostrils.
*These results are not conclusive as they were not done in a controlled environment and there could be several other factors affecting the outcome. They are meant for sharing purposes only, please feel free to conduct your own experiments as the results could vary for different individuals.
Lastly, it is said that we only have so many breaths in our life. If we could extend our life span a little longer just by taking as many slow, deep breaths as possible, why not? Start your daily 10mins pranayama practice today!