Breathing Exercises

How to Increase Lung Capacity with Easy Breathing Exercises

how to increase lung capacity

Are you feeling short of breath too often? Maybe you’ve noticed you just aren’t able to breathe as deeply as you used to.

In this article, you will learn how to increase your lung capacity with breathing exercises that are easy to do and super-effective. 

A closer look at lung health and lung function

belly breathing

Human beings can go without food for up to 40 days, and without sleep for 3 days, but how long can we go without breathing? Mere minutes! 

Breathing is one of the most fundamental functions to our lives, but most of us rarely pay any attention to the essential organs that make it possible, our lungs.

Let’s take a deeper look at our lungs and breath.  

Did you know that we breathe over 2,000 gallons (11,000 liters) of air every day?!? That’s enough to almost fill a swimming pool!

How many cycles of breath do you think we go through each minute? 12-15 cycles!

Did you know that we have lower, middle, and upper lobes of our lungs? Typically, only athletes and breath yogis use the upper lobes!

Any guesses on how many miles of airways are inside each of us? 1500 miles! 

Our lungs and pulmonary systems are a marvel of nature and deserve to be kept in great shape just like the rest of our bodies.  Read on to learn how lung health can impact our lives.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, better known as COPD, is the third leading cause of death worldwide as of 2019. The recent Coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread pulmonary issues like shortness of breath and damage to lung tissue.  Because of this, we could soon see an uptick in COPD numbers across the globe. As it stands now, the two main causes of COPD are smoking (including exposure to second-hand smoke) and exposure to pollutants. 

Since there is no cure for COPD, we need to do everything we can to avoid the disease in the first place. Of course, it’s better not to start smoking at all, but if you are a smoker, it’s never too late to improve your lung health.  You can quit now and learn breathing exercises to keep your lungs in tip-top shape.

Breathing exercises to increase lung capacity

practice pursed-lip breathing

The diaphragm is a muscle located just below the lungs in the belly area.  It controls the flow of breath in our bodies, and just like any other muscle, it can be strengthened through exercise.

This diaphragmatic breathing exercise, aka belly breathing, can strengthen your diaphragm, increase lung capacity, and make your inhalations smoother and easier. 

Here are step-by-step instructions: 

  1. Lie down on your back on a comfortable flat surface. If your lower back feels strained, keep your knees bent. 

  2. Consciously relax your body, then put one hand on your upper chest and the other hand on your belly.

  3. Take a long, deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs completely.

  4. As the lungs fill up, the diaphragm moves down, expanding your abdomen. Your chest should remain relatively still, while the hand on your belly gently rises.

  5. Exhale slowly through pursed lips (as if your lips are holding an invisible straw) for the count of four or six. Feel the abdomen fall and get gently pulled towards your spine.

  6. For best results, repeat these steps 10-15 times once daily.

A breathing exercise that is especially helpful for anyone with COPD or shortness of breath is pursed-lip breathing, aka straw breathing. Here’s a link to learn how to do it from the American Lung Association.

Two more excellent deep breathing exercises, bellows breath and three-stage breathing (which exercises all three lobes of the lungs) are taught through the Art of Living’s SKY Breath Meditation course.

The art of breathing

breathe deeply

If you want to get the most out of your lungs, you will want to learn SKY Breath Meditation! SKY is more than just a breathing exercise.  It combines powerful guided breath patterns and deep meditation. It’s also very easy to practice. 

Research has shown that SKY practitioners experience improved respiratory function along with healthier blood pressure, enhanced sleep, improved immunity, and so much more.

You can learn more about SKY Breath Meditation by attending a free breath and meditation session online. A SKY instructor will teach you how to do bellows breath, an amazing, lung enhancing breathing exercise during the free session. To learn the three-stage breathing mentioned earlier, you can take the SKY course. 

In the meantime, click on the image below to pick your day and time and start breathing more fully!

free breath and meditation

Art of Living Part 1 course: Discover Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s ancient secret to modern well-being.

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