Pranayama is the term that signifies conscious awareness of breath. It is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘prana,’ which means ‘life force’, and ‘ayama’ meaning ‘extension.’ Pranayama breathing methods are constantly integral part of yoga, improving the constructive effect of asanas. Include these breathing practices to your exercises and you’ll see how it enhances the result of your exercise.
In addition, if you can’t discover how to accomplish a flat stomach without doing conventional crunches and ab workouts in the gym, you’ll be astounded to know that breathing practices can be really effective when it comes to eliminating these unwanted belly fats.
Here’s a set of breathing exercises that will surely help you tone your abdominal muscles;
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
This method of deep breathing enhances your metabolism and helps you to burn fat situated on the top of abdominal muscles.
- Begin by lying on your back using a mat. In case you’re a novice, position your hands on your belly so that you can have better control of your breathing.
- Gradually inhale using your nose so that your stomach inflates under your hands.
- Exhale using your pursed lips so that your stomach falls under your hands. Ensure that your chest remains motionless.
- Do this for 5-10 minutes and later on you can increase the time and perform this exercise while you’re either sitting or standing.
2. Stomach Vacuum
This workout targets at firming your inner abdominal muscles.
- Lie down on your back using a mat with your knees bent and feet flat. Inhale as much air as you can gradually.
- Begin exhaling as much air as you can while bringing your stomach near to your spine as possible.
- Hold this pose for 15 to 20 seconds. Afterward, try to breathe normally while you’re holding the pose.
- Release the pose through an inhale. You can repeat this workout for several times.
Note: As you perform the exercise, inhale using your nose and exhale using your mouth.
3. Skull Shining Breath
This method is consists of interchanging short explosive exhales and long passive inhales.
- Sit on a mat with your knees or your legs crossed. Position your hands on your knees.
- Take a deep breath. Afterward, perform a series of strong short exhales, driving your navel toward your spine with each exhale.
- Feel your lungs open routinely for a long inhale after a sequence of short exhales.
- Perform this exercise for 30 to 60 seconds.
4. Alternating Nostril Breathing
- Sit on your heels or with your legs crossed. You have to make sure that your spine is straight and shoulders are relaxed.
- Position your left hand on your left knee with your palm up. Take the tips of the thumb and the index finger touching with each other.
- Position your index and the middle fingers of your right hand on your forehead between your eyebrows. Position your small finger and your ring finger on you left nostril, and your thumb on your right nostril.
- Mildly press your right nostril using your thumb and exhale using your left nostril. Then inhale through the left nostril.
- Press the left nostril using your ring finger and exhale through the right nostril. Then inhale through the right nostril again. These actions make one sequence of the exercise.
- Perform 5 to 10 cycles.
5. Bellows Breath (Bhastrika Pranayama)
- Sit on a mat in an at ease pose with your spine and neck straight and your palms placed on your knees.
- Relax the stomach muscles and shut your eyes. Start inhaling and exhaling powerfully.
- Ensure that your breathing is deep, powerful, and rhythmic. Take about one second for each inhale and exhale.
- Perform the exercise for 5 minutes.
6. Humming Bee Breathing (Bhramari Pranayama)
- Sit on a mat with your legs crossed. Ensure that your shoulders are relaxed and your spine is straight.
- Shut your ears using the thumbs and position your index fingers on your forehead, above your eyebrows. Allow your ring and middle fingers rest on your closed eyes.
- Gradually inhale and exhale using your mouth closed. Create a humming sound as you breathe out. Feel the vibrations of the sound with your fingers.
- Perform several inhales and exhales and then rest your hands on your knees. You have now finished one cycle of the exercise.
- Perform 5 to 10 cycles of this exercise.
7. Deep Breathing
- You can sit in a chair, on the floor or even on a cushion. Make sure your spine and neck straight. Position your hands on your thighs or on your knees. Cross your ankles if you’re sitting on the floor.
- Shut your eyes. Breathe normally using your nose for about a minute. Relax your facial muscles.
- Exhale to an unhurried count of 4 and pull your navel toward your spine. Inhale gradually. Make your inhales and exhales the same span. Allow all your thoughts go and bring your concentration your breath.
- Perform this exercise for 5 to 10 minutes.
Note: You can also begin with 3-5 minutes of deep breathing in case you’re a beginner.
8. Abdominal Lock (Uddiyana Bandha)
- You can perform this workout even if you’re standing or on your knees on a mat.
- Completely exhale pressing in your chest and abdomen. Perform a mock inhalation with your chest, locking your glottis and stopping air from entering your lungs. Relax your abdomen.
- Hold your breath and try to inhale while keeping your abdomen relaxed. Your upper abdomen will now form a deep concavity that extends up under your rib cage.
- Release your simulated inhalation and allow your chest and abdomen drop and release. Balance the air pressure on the inside and outside of your body with your chest and abdomen while you inhale.
- Perform 3 to 5 cycles of the exercise.
Here are the risks:
You must remember that the pranayama techniques, similar to any other workouts, have their own risks. Seek advice to your doctor before exercising in case you have any health complications.
Moreover, these breathing exercises have demonstrated themselves to be very effective in eliminating belly fat. However, keep in mind that combining exercises with a healthy diet will surely enhance the results.
Do you know other breathing exercises that can help you eliminate belly fat? Please do share them with us in the comment section! Also don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends who wanted to ditch those belly fat!
Based on materials from Brightside
Illustrated by Germielyn Balondo for Meow Gag