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Breathing during exercise may be harder for women than men: Boost your lung power with yoga asanas

This yoga asana opens up the chest cavity and allows better flow of air to the lungs. @Shutterstock

A new study says that women have smaller airways that makes them breath harder while exercising. Here we reveal a few yoga asanas to boost lung power.

Written by Jahnavi Sarma |Updated : April 30, 2020 8:34 AM IST

Have you ever wondered why it is difficult for you to breath during heavy exercises as compared to your male counterparts? Apparently, while both men and women have the capacity for outstanding athletic achievements, lung capacity of both may be different. According to a new study from the University of Waterloo in Canada, the amount of work the respiratory muscles have to do to breathe a given volume is greater in women. It is thought that this is due to women having smaller airways than men, which causes the airflow resistance to be higher. This suggests one possible way sex could affect exercise dynamics and potentially also contribute to differences in how men and women experience airway disorders such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The FASEB Journal published this study.

But luckily, you can improve lung your capacity by doing certain things. Yoga is one method by which you can not only detoxify our lungs but also improve its capacity. The best thing about yoga is that anyone can practice the asanas. But, of course, if you have any breathing disorders, you need to check with your doctor first. Here, let us look at a few yoga asanas that can boost lung power.

Cat Cow Breathing or Marjariasana

This opens up your chest and allows lungs to function better.

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Direction: Get down on all fours. Spread your knees as wide as your hips and keep your shoulders, elbows and wrists in a straight line. Spread your fingers and press your palms to the floor.

Now, inhale while lifting your back. Roll open your shoulders, expand your abdomen muscles and squeeze your buttocks while lifting your head to look up. Hold this pose for a few seconds.

Then, while exhaling, round your back, suck your abdomen to the spine and tuck your chin to the chest to look at the floor. Hold your breath for a count of 10 and release. Repeat 15 times.

Triangle Pose or Trikonasana

This opens up the chest cavity and allows better flow of air to the lungs.

Direction: Stand with your feet at shoulder-width. Keep your spine straight and arms by your side. Roll shoulders back.

Now, inhale and place your right leg about three feet away sideways from the left one. Turn the right foot out to your right.

Slide your left foot slightly inward, making a 45-degree angle with the leg. Exhale.

Inhale and bring your arms to shoulder level. Palms must face the floor. Slowly, lean your torso to your right.

Exhale and bend sideways to your right. Bring your right arm down till your fingertips touch the floor inside the right foot. Push your shoulders back so that your chest opens up.

Inhale and lift your left arm to the ceiling. At the same time, look up to the ceiling. Tuck the pelvis inward, tighten the core muscles and hold the posture for a few seconds. Inhale while releasing. Repeat 15 times.

Corpse Pose or Shavasana

This allows deep abdominal breathing, which improves lung capacity. It also rejuvenates the nervous system and cleans the abdominal area

Direction: Lie on your back and spread your legs wider than your hips. Stretch your hands away a little from your body and keep your palms facing up. Relax. Close your eyes and breathe normally through your nose.

Now, place one hand on your upper chest and the other over your navel area. After a couple of normal breaths, take slow, gentle but deep inhalations. Feel your belly expanding and rising with each inhalation.

Exhale slowly and feel your belly contracting or coming back to normal. Relax and allow the chest to expand. This is cause toxins to be eliminated from the lungs and stimulate the release of carbon dioxide from the body, which is often accumulated due to excess stress. Do this for about 10 minutes. Release this position and breathe normally for about 5 minutes.

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