As a Pranayama (breathing) facilitator, I believe conscious breathing could help people through COVID-19, and may even prevent the condition becoming more serious. Breathing exercises are proven to help people who suffer from asthma, recovering from pneumonia and other breathing conditions. Sitting and taking deep breaths will help nearly all respiratory conditions.
One of the dangers of CV-19 is the build up of mucus in the lungs. People literally drown as their lungs block. By breathing with the whole volume of the lungs we encourage mucus to release. Holding the breath briefly forces the alveoli (balloon shaped air sacs in our lungs) to open fully, helping them from becoming clogged.
As this CV-19 threat is so new, nothing here is proven and must be taken as a view of common sense rather than scientific advice. Immediately seek medical advice if you are having trouble breathing. If you don’t need to be in hospital, and are safe at home, maybe try my “Corona Breath” exercise below. It will bring vital energy to your wellness systems within the body and calm your mind from stress at the very least.
Corona Breath Pranayama
I have adapted ancient breathing techniques that might help improve COVID-19 symptoms by opening the lungs and encouraging mucus to drain.
- Breathe in through the nose half a breath. Pause briefly, then breathe in fully, spreading the ribs out and lifting the collar bones. So the lungs feel 110% full.
- Hold the breath in for a comfortable amount of time. This will differ from person to person, aim for 5-10 seconds to start. If you do not have a headache engage your pelvic floor and squeeze your belly muscles to intensify.
- Breathe out through the nose, slowly and completely for a count of 3-4 seconds.
- Repeat for 3 full breaths. On the last breath exhale completely and do 15-30 belly pumps (Breath of Fire or Kapalabhati) again breathing through the nose if you can.
This is one cycle. Repeat 3 more times, more if it feels good.
Afterwards, lay down on your belly to encourage mucus to drain, letting gravity pull mucus out of the lungs. If it’s difficult to lay on your front or pregnant, prop yourself up with pillows, or lean forward onto the back of a chair. Laying on your back can make symptoms worse as this can restrict the airways encouraging a shallow breath.
If you think you have COVID-19 repeat this as often as is practical, aim for at least four times a day.
What happens to the body?
As well as opening the lungs and helping to clear mucus, this Pranayama will help build energy. So simply teaching this breathing exercise will help carers energise. If you do not have CV19 just skip the last part, laying on the belly, to keep active and alert.
The main function of breathing is to bring oxygen into the blood as well as release carbon dioxide. Breathing deeply, keeps oxygen levels high but releases relatively more CO2. It also changes the PH level of the blood, making it more alkaline. This breathing technique, builds oxygen and then starves the body of oxygen regulating our bodies acidity/alkaline blood level.
This active Pranayama increases muscle excitability, you may experience lightheadedness or tingling, as the arteries and veins change in reaction to oxygen building and reducing in your cells. Triggering our sympathetic nervous system allowing the body to absorb more oxygen. Making our body to wake up and strengthen. We finish calmly laying on our belly switching back to our parasympathetic nervous system and calmness.
I teach Corona Breath, along with many other breathing and meditations, every morning during lockdown Mon-Sat 7:40-8am BST (GMT+1). Please join me for free on zoom, see online classes for more info.