The sun breathing is meant to relax and at the same time activate you and increase your energy level. Here you can find out how the breathing technique works and what it really does.
Sun breathing is also known in yoga as Surya bhedana pranayama. It should wake you up and activate your body and mind. Therefore, it is best to do them in the morning. But breathing in the sun also has healing effects at other times of the day.
Sun breathing: Here’s how
All you need for sun breathing is a comfortable place to sit or lie down and comfortable clothing. Then you can start:
- Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Now close your left nostril with your ring finger.
- Inhale deeply and slowly through the right nostril.
- Hold your breath for a few seconds. You can count to five or eight.
- Now close your right nostril with your thumb.
- Exhale slowly through the left nostril.
- Repeat the breathing exercise about five times.
Sun respiration is similar in its conception to so-called alternating respiration. But be careful: When breathing in the sun, you always breathe in through the right nostril and only breathe out through the left. With alternating breathing, you switch between the two nostrils with the inhalation and exhalation. According to the yoga teachings, however, the activating solar energy flows through the right nostril. Therefore, when doing sun breathing, you should only concentrate on this side.
Sun breathing: what does the science say?
There is no scientific evidence that activating breathing air actually flows through the right nostril. But a lot of research shows that deep breathing exercises have a number of positive effects on the body and mind:
- According to the magazine Spektrum, we can consciously control our autonomic nervous system through breathing. When we breathe in and out deeply, areas in the brain are activated that have a calming effect on us. This lowers our heart rate and blood pressure. Even tense muscles relax and our well-being increases.
- In a study review from 2018, researchers summarized 68 studies on yoga breathing exercises. According to the results of the studies, the breathing techniques have a positive effect on the heart and lungs and help to reduce stress. Yoga breathing exercises can also improve mood. Even with some diseases and as an accompanying measure of chemotherapy, the breathing techniques have proven to be healing.
- For more on how our breathing affects the whole body, see this article: Breathing Correctly: Why It’s So Important.
Properly performed, sun breathing is usually harmless. NetDoktor also confirms that breathing exercises can benefit everyone. In particular, people who are under a lot of stress would benefit from calming breathing techniques. However, if you have a cold and can’t breathe through one nostril, sun breathing is not for you, at least for a short time. Then you should better resort to breathing exercises in which you breathe in and out through both nostrils.
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