Yoga and respiratory muscle function go together, and it may be hard to decipher which benefits the other. Yogic breathing increases oxygen in your blood and nourishes and repairs your body’s cells, maintaining, and even improving, your health. There is much discussion surrounding “yogic breathing,” and many Yogis assert that the idea of full, deep breathing is unique to their culture. There is even a name given to the deep breathing yogis practice: Pranayama. The practice of Pranayama is the focus and control of breathing to attain a relaxed state, and is translated as “regulated breathing.” However, one cannot ignore how deep breathing is encouraged in any type of exercise, not to mention for relaxation, meditation, and anxiety relief.
So, the act of training the respiratory muscles improves yoga performance, and the act of practicing yoga improves respiratory muscle strength. Studies of yogic breathing have mainly investigated the effects of yoga training on vital capacity and peak expiratory flow rate, which mimics those studies surrounding respiratory muscle training. There are benefits to be found by the combination of the two for a variety of people, including athletes, those in professions which require breathing strength (like firefighters), and those suffering from respiratory-related illness and aging.
Why Respiratory Muscle Training (RMT)?
There was a time when RMT was considered useful only for those suffering from any number of respiratory-involved diseases (COPD, asthma, emphysema, etc.). However, athletes looking to improve their endurance began to see the benefits of improving their breathing abilities and looked to RMT as an additional tool in their training schedules. By improving vital lung capacity and strengthening the muscles involved in breathing (diaphragm and intercostals), more oxygen is available to other working muscles (increasing speed or strength), and less energy is expended (increasing endurance). If you improve your heart and lungs’ access to oxygenated blood, there will be more oxygenated blood available for the muscles for your activity, putting off the fatigue of those muscles. A recent study supported this fact, finding that, along with strength and performance improvements, dyspnea symptoms were reduced in cancer survivors when using an RMT device.
This is where we get to the “which came first, the chicken or the egg” theory. Yoga utilizes deep breathing techniques, which have already been shown to improve respiratory function. The use of an RMT device improves those techniques, increasing the benefits gained. Therefore, the practice of yogic breathing improves abilities, and the use of an RMT device improves yoga! Yogi Rodolfo Mari described his experience after eight months of using a PowerLung device, and noted how it complemented the practice of yoga:
“The greatest benefit of Power Lung for Yoga and Pilates is the awareness It gives one as to where the core muscles are in the body and how they function. The core muscles are very much connected to the breathing muscles. In Vinyasa Yoga the focus is on linking breath to movement, the goal is to initiate that movement from the core and to let go of all other muscles.
The connection of the core to breathing cannot be over emphasized. The Power Lung allowed me to feel the supportive, core breathing muscles in my lower back. Most people may not think that they have core muscles that help to power their breathing in the lower back, but guess what? It’s all connected. The Power Lung allows you to feel if your lower back is tight or limiting your breathing capacity and it lets you feel when the breath is expansive and relaxed. Once the deepest, subtle low back muscles are connected and integrated to the musculature in the front of the spine, all new levels of balance and performance are attainable.
It does not take long to expand one’s breathing capacity with Power Lung. It’s so ridiculously simple to use that you will forget to do it. The average person may take up to 28,800 breaths a day… you only need to take 10 to 30 breaths a day with the Power Lung to see great results!
I started with the [Active Series Sport] model but at first I felt like the big bad wolf trying to huff and puff to blow down a brick house… it didn’t happen. I ended up getting the [Active Series BreatheAir] and the [Active Series Trainer] models and the [Performer Series P617B] model…so I had four models to play with. Each model has a different personality so I was really glad to try them all. Now I basically cross-train with all of them, in one sitting I’ll do 5 reps with the [Active Series Sport] (the hardest one) then 10 with the [Active Series Trainer] and then 5-6 fast breaths with the [Active Series BreatheAir]. For all-around usage, I would recommend the [Active Series Trainer] model, if you are healthy and active… if not try the [Active Series BreatheAir] one first.
Power Lung seemed and proved to be the most professional product of its kind with a wide range of applications. And great customer support.”
By improving the ability of the respiratory system and increasing the strength of the muscles surrounding it, not only will yogic breathing improve, but flexibility and strength throughout the core will increase.
The PowerLung RMT Device
The PowerLung uses techniques similar to those athletes use to strengthen skeletal muscle: progressive threshold resistance. This helps muscles maintain flexibility for activity for extended periods of time, and to improve strength for added load bearing. The use of both inhalation and exhalation techniques means that both parts of the act of breathing are focused on and improved.
The special design of the PowerLung includes control dials for both inhalation and exhalation, providing the user with non-technical results to monitor performance and results. In this manner, improvements can be tracked and adjustments made (like increasing weights as strength improves).
PowerLung use is a short program, requiring less than 10 minutes a day, which can be added effortlessly to your existing training schedule. Since the device is small and requires no power source, it can be taken anywhere….to be used at home, at the gym or yoga studio, and even while traveling.
Add another layer to your yoga schedule and improve your breathing skills—and respiratory muscle strength—with the PowerLung device.