Lungs perform one of the most basic and important activities. Yet in these polluted times our lungs have been at the receiving due to the increasing levels of pollution. Our busy and stressful lives only add to the problem as we find it difficult to take care of our health. However, with the help of some very basic yoga exercises called aasanas we can take care of our lungs and also increase their capacity.

Updated Jun 11, 2023 | 09:18 AM IST

Breathing Yoga exercises to help improve your lung capacity

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The rising levels of pollution and our stressful lives means that we have very little time to take care of our health. Our lungs are particularly affected adversely and there seems to be no escape from this. But some basic yoga aasanas can help you take care of your lungs and also help improve their capacity so that you can live a healthy life. Let us find out some very simple yoga aasanas that can help strengthen your lungs.


Bhujangasana is a great exercise to increase lung capacity. It aids in opening the lungs, chest and abdomen. It is also good yoga for lungs infection and those who have asthma.


  • Place the palms flat on the ground in such a way that it is under your shoulders. Keep the elbows straight.
  • Look down at the mat with the neck neutral.
  • Lift the chest from the floor while inhaling and keep the elbows close to the sides.
  • Exhale to release and get back to the floor.

Marjariasana or Cat/Cow Pose

This yoga for the lungs is useful to improve flexibility and also ease the tension starting from the neck to the hips. It gives the chest and abdomen muscles a stretch along with moving the spine and connecting the breathing .


  • Place your hands and knees on the mat and the wrists under your shoulders. The abdomen should be in a tabletop position. The knees should be hip-width apart.
  • Inhale and drop the abdomen towards the mat. Lift the gaze towards the ceiling and lift your chin and chest.
  • The shoulder blades should be away from the ears for this yoga for the lungs.
  • Move into the cat pose from there by exhaling and drawing the stomach towards the spine and back toward the ceiling. It should look like a cat stretching itself.
  • Bring the crown of your head towards the floor.
  • Inhale and come to cow pose and exhale and go to cat pose.
  • Repeat this yoga for lung cleansing about 15 to 20 times.

Brahmari Pranayama

It is called so as the breathing during the asana sounds like bee humming. It is a great yoga to increase lung capacity and also promotes mindfulness and reduces insomnia. It is also an exercise to clean your lungs and deal with chest congestion as it removes toxins from the lungs.


  • Sit in a quiet place with eyes closed to do this yoga for lungs.
  • Place index fingers on the ears so that it is closed.
  • Take a deep breath to do this yoga for breathing problems and make a humming sound like a bee.
  • The higher the pitch, the better and is good yoga for pneumonia.
  • Breathe in and do these breathing exercises as many times as possible.

Matsyasana or Fish Pose

This is one of the best yoga for breathing problems and also the best yoga for lung cleaning. It is said to destroy all ailments as it boosts breathing by strengthening and stretching the lung muscles. Therefore, it is said to be good for pneumonia. It also promotes blood circulation and distribution throughout the body.


  • Lie flat on your back and slowly bring your arms underneath the body to start this exercise for your lungs.
  • Breathe in and lift your chest and head up and rest the crown on the ground while making the back arch.
  • Use the elbows to maintain body balance.
  • Inhale and exhale while opening the chest and maintain this Hatha Yoga position as long as possible.
  • Slowly come back to the start position and repeat this yoga for lungs and heart.

Nadi shodhana or Alternate Nostril Breathing

It is among the best yoga exercises to deal with breathing problems as it is therapeutic for the lungs. It is also ideal yoga for lungs cleaning and a great yoga to increase lung capacity. This asana also helps release stress and relaxes the body.


  • Sit with your spine erect and shoulders relaxed.
  • Keep the left hand on the left knee and the palms pointing to the sky.
  • Bring the index and the middle finger of your right hand between the eyebrows. On the left nostril place the little and the ring finger. The thumb should be on the right nostril.
  • The right nostril should be closed using the right thumb and exhale through the left nostril.
  • Inhale through the left nostril and keep the right nostril closed. Remove the right thumb and breathe out.
  • Breathe in from the right nostril and breathe out from the left.
  • Alternate this yoga for breathing problems between nostrils and continue inhaling and exhaling.

Victorious Pranayama

This exercise helps deal with breathing problems and also to increase lung capacity and is also good for your heart. It is a pose where deep breathing is practiced and is also known as yoga for pneumonia, asthma, and COPD.


  • Sit in a comfortable seating position. Keep your shoulders away from the ears while relaxing completely.
  • Place the palms on the thighs with palms facing up.
  • The tip of the index finger and the thumb should be in contact.
  • Take 7 to 8 normal breaths and prepare for practice.
  • Contract the throat and take long and deep breaths through the nose.
  • Exhale slowly making an Aah sound and relax.
  • Do this 15 times. Once you know how to do this, contract your throat while inhaling as well as exhaling to get more benefits.


Benefits: Improves blood circulation. Increases oxygenation. Strengthens lungs.


  • Sit up straight in a relaxed posture.
  • Resting both hands on the knees, bring together the thumb and forefinger.
  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  • Inhale deeply (only when you begin) and contract the abdominal muscles, exhale through both nostrils, forcing the air out.
  • Inhalation should take place passively. There should be automatic relaxation of the abdominal muscles.
  • After completing 20 rapid breaths, resume normal breathing pace. This is one complete round.

Anulom Vilom

Benefit: Clears nasal passages. Increases oxygenation. Helps in a relaxing mind.


  • Sit straight with legs crossed.
  • Rest your wrists on your knees.
  • Fold the middle and index fingers of your right hand toward your palm.
  • Place your right thumb on the right nostril and your ring finger on the left.
  • Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale slowly and deeply with your left nostril until your lungs are full. Keep your attention on your breathing.
  • Release your thumb and use your ring finger to seal your left nostril.
  • Slowly exhale through your right nostril.
  • Reverse the procedure, breathing through the right nostril and exhaling through the left.


This pose's name comes from the Sanskrit pada which means "foot," hasta meaning "hand" and asana meaning a "seat" or "posture." The English name for padahastasana is gorilla pose or hand under foot pose.


Benefit: Improves blood circulation. Relaxes neck and spine.

  • Inhale and raise the arms over the head.
  • Exhale and fold forward. Allow the arms to hang.
  • Grab the opposite elbow and form a square with the arms.
  • Allow the head and neck to hang and breathe deeply, relaxing in the pose.

Breathing is impossible without healthy lungs. We may correct any lung-related issues and ailments, as well as strengthen our lungs, with yoga positions.

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