20 Dec Importance of holding breath
Breath-hold has a lot of significant health benefits. The eventual goal of Pranayama is “Kevala Kumbhaka.” More details here. The breath-hold results in carbon dioxide production in the body resulting in acidosis, which stimulates the respiratory center. With practice, you can resist the stimulus to breathe for longer, but it remains carbon dioxide accumulation that causes the breath-hold release.
There are multiple health benefits of doing “breath-hold.” An average healthy person with no special training can hold his (or her) breath for about half a minute. Increasing the hold time gives more opportunity for the inhaled air to pass through the thin lining of the alveolus (air cell) and into the blood vessels, improving oxygen saturation and helping the brain stimulate our breathing.
Some claim that breath heals most diseases leading to healthier living. Disturbances within the pranic energies in the body and mind lead to multiple conditions in the body. Nadi shodhana pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) with the breath’s retention brings harmony to our body. Therefore, Pranayama’s practice and a kumbhaka (like kevala kumbhaka) will prevent skin orders, diabetes, and treat a wide variety of diseases. If you can hold your breath longer, you become healthy from inside. Also, specific Pranayamas like Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and Ujjayi breathing (Oceaning breathing) prevent any lung infection.
The other health benefits associated with breath-hold are
- Increasing in lifespan by preserving the life of stem cells: Breath training places a lot of emphasis on breath control. Controlling your heartbeat and breath allows control of the nervous system and the emotional center of the brain.
- Increasing the resistance to infection: Through the guided mental focus of training your breath, your body will experience a ‘healing state’, decreasing your breathing to 1-5 cycles/minute with complete comfort.
- Regeneration of new tissue in the brain helps reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s disease: Many respiratory-related conditions help kill viruses and bacteria from our body. Even cancer will not survive in a highly oxygenated body. Holding breath activates a reflex within the body known as the ‘mammalian diving reflex’. Holding breath creates a physical change that decreases oxygen consumption through reduced heart rate. Over time, once this reflex will activate, you will find it one of your best assets to extend your breath whenever the need arises.
- Increase your cardio strength: Breath Training will expand your Diaphragm, leading to better breathing control ability when under any stress.
- Decrease Stress reduces anxiety and unclear thinking, ineffective memory recall, disruptive behavior, and a gradual decline in hormonal balance.
The breath-hold can be extended further by breathing faster (hyperventilation) immediately beforehand. Hyperventilation has little effect on the body’s oxygen content but blows off carbon dioxide so that you start with a higher cerebrospinal fluid pH. Hyperventilation does not alter the rates of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production. Still, the lower initial carbon dioxide content means that the hypoxic stimulus triggers respiration before the pH of the cerebrospinal fluid falls enough to do so. It may be possible to hold a breath for over 5 minutes by hyperventilation on 100% oxygen. The hyperventilation reduces the body’s carbon dioxide content but does not affect oxygen content much, but the Fio2 of 100 kPa considerably increases the total oxygen content.