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What is vital capacity?
Maximum amount of air a person can expel from the lung after maximum inspiration.
How to increase vital capacity?
Respiratory exercise increases vital capacity, it includes: pranayama
• Pranayama – The science of pranayama is based on the retention of prana called ‘kumbhaka’.
PRAN = breath life or life force
AAYAM = development or control over it.
• Pranayama is the process by which Prana is controlled by regulating the breathing, voluntarily.

Characteristics of pranayama –
• Pranayama essentially consists of a voluntary control on the breathing.
• One remains fully aware of what he is doing during different phases of pranayama.
• In other words, pranayama is never done mechanically.
• Awareness of breathing is most important while practicing pranayama.
• No other bodily action is associated with pranayamic phases.
• Each cycle of pranayama is a complex voluntary act, consists of purak, kumbhak and rechak i.e. inspiration, breath holding and expiration.
• The technique of pranayama includes specific rules regarding the method of breathing, in terms of force of breathing, the duration of each phase of breathing, the number of rounds of pranayama and attention on breathing.

Anulom-vilom pranayama = Nadi shodhan
Considered as one of the basic form. Alternate nostril breathing.
Nadi (channel/flow of energy) + shodhana (purification)
It means that practice which purifies the body. This idea is to maintain a slow rhythmic pattern of breathing using both nostrils alternately. It produces a balancing effect on ANS.

Effects of Pranayama
• Decrease the work of breathing.
• Strengthens and trains the diaphragm, other respiration and abdominal muscles.
• Improve gas exchange and oxygenation
• Provide good breathing control
• Provide effective coughing
• Reduce stress
• Gives more relaxation
• Give energy and vitality
• Improve overall health and wellbeing

Pranayama is best respiratory exercise to improve vital capacity.

Contributed by: Dr.Priyanka Borole

Aarti Borole

Gold's gym certified personal trainer with years of health and wellness experience. Possess proven track record in helping clients achieve fitness goals through customized exercises programs and diet plans. All the recipes here are personally tried and tested.

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