6 Yoga Breathing Techniques For Weight Loss

Because breathing right, apart from lifestyle changes, can help you achieve your ideal weight.

Medically reviewed by Vandana GujadhurVandana Gujadhur, RD & Yoga Expert
By Shirin MehdiShirin Mehdi  • 

You can shed your unwanted fat by merely doing some breathing exercises. Yes! You have probably never heard of yoga breathing techniques for weight loss, but they are quite effective. It is high time you put on your research hat and explore this age-old practice. To make your quest easier, we have come up with a list of some of the best yoga breathing techniques that will help you look lean and fit. Let us get started!

Yoga Breathing for Weight Loss

Yoga breathing can fix what expensive exercise equipment and weight-loss workouts can’t. Deep breathing increases oxidation in your body leading to weight loss. The oxygen intake of the blood increases giving more energy for you to exercise. Breathing boosts metabolism which indirectly leads to weight loss. Some breathing techniques help massage your abdomen resulting in faster burning of your body fat. Now, let’s have a look at some of them.

Some studies have shown that pranayama, or yogic breathing techniques, reduces stress and may also curb the appetite, aiding weight loss.

Weight Reducing Breathing Techniques

  1. Kapalbhati
  2. Bhastrika
  3. Anulom Vilom
  4. Bhramari
  5. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
  6. Seated Spinal Twist

1. Kapalbhati

Benefits: Kapalbhati is an excellent way to lose weight naturally and control obesity.

Procedure: To do Kapalbhati, sit on the floor with folded legs, keeping your neck and back straight. Keep both your palms on your knees. Close your eyes. Now, inhale slowly and exhale forcefully. While exhaling, you will feel your abdomen go inwards. Vandana Gujadhur, Yoga Expert, says, “Start by practicing for 15 seconds, rest for around 15 seconds, and then repeat alternately for a few times. After a day or two, try for 30 seconds in one stretch, rest a bit and repeat. After 4-5 days, stretch for one minute.”
Note: People with epilepsy, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat should not practice yoga that involves fast breathing.

2. Bhastrika

Benefits: Bhastrika Pranayama gives energy and power. It raises your metabolic function and burns fat faster.

Procedure: To do Bhastrika Pranayama, sit comfortably with your back and neck straight. Relax your stomach muscles and close your eyes. Place your palms on your knees. Start breathing forcefully with equal emphasis on inhaling and exhaling. The breathing should be in-depth and powerful following a rhythm with a pace of one second for inhalation and exhalation. Your diaphragm should expand and contract in tandem with your breathing. Repeat the procedure for 5-10 minutes.

Note: People with epilepsy, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat should not practice yoga that involves fast breathing.

3. Anulom Vilom

Benefits: Anulom Vilom improves the working of your digestive system and cures constipation. It balances your hormones and increases energy.

Procedure: To do Anulom Vilom, sit in the lotus position. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale gently through your left nostril. Now, close your left nostril with your index or middle finger and breathe out through your right nostril. Repeat the same, vice versa. Do this for a good 5 minutes.

4. Bhramari

Benefits: Bhramari improves your metabolism, increases your oxygen intake and balances hormone secretion. It improves memory and reduces mental stress.

Procedure: To do Bhramari, sit down in Vajrasana or Padmasana at a peaceful place. Your shoulders must be stretched out and your spine straight. Now, open up your palms and close your ears with your thumbs. Place your index fingers on the forehead, right above your eyebrows. Let your middle and ring fingers rest on your closed eyes. Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly, keeping your mouth closed. While breathing out, make a little humming sound.Your fingers should feel the vibrations of the sound. Remove the fingers gently from your face and rest them on your knees. One round is complete. Repeat the procedure 5-10 times.

5. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)

Benefits: Provides a wholesome set of exercises with breathing patterns which are great for weight loss and regulate the body’s rhythm. To maximize the benefit, lie down in savasana for 5 minutes after the cycle.

Procedure: There are twelve steps in Surya Namaskar. Each of these poses is accompanied with sequenced breathing which if done with concentration and accuracy promotes weight loss toning up your entire body.

6. Seated Spinal Twist

Benefits: Good for your abdomen and back. It also helps individuals with diabetes and improves bowel issues.

Procedure: Sit on the yoga mat with your legs extended before you. Breathe and relax. Bend your right knee and bring the heels as much close to your buttocks as possible. Now fold your left knee and cross it over your right knee. Your left foot ankle should be just by the side of your right knee. Take your left arm and place it behind you with the palm on the floor. Your right arm should be touching the toes of your left foot. Now that you have positioned yourself, take in a deep breath and elongate your spine. Twist your torso to your left and look over your left shoulder. As you twist exhale. Inhale and straighten your spine; exhale and twist. Hold the position for 1.5 minutes and breath normally. Now twist to the other side too.

Quick Tip
For a well-rounded yogic breathing session for weight loss, you could do 30-45 minutes of sun salutations. Or combine the remaining 5 breathing techniques into a 45-minute session.

Yoga breathing techniques for weight loss are highly effective; all you need to do is perform yogic techniques like kapalbhati, bhastrika, anulom vilom, bhramari, Surya Namaskar, and seated spinal twist with immense focus and consistency. These poses help increase metabolism, leading to faster fat burning. In addition, some of these breathing techniques also aid in balancing hormones, easing constipation, and improving digestion – and may boost your overall health. Start practicing these techniques today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does holding your stomach burn calories?

Anecdotal evidence indicates that stomach vacuuming while deep breathing can help burn belly fat. However, there is no scientific data to support this.

How many breaths does it take to lose a pound?

No scientific research has been conducted to test how many breaths it takes to lose a pound of fat.

How does breathing speed up your metabolism?

Research suggests that diaphragm breathing exercises can influence the resting metabolic rate of your body (1). Deep breathing boosts the amount of oxygen your body receives, which helps break down the fat molecules more effectively and enhances metabolism.

Does breathing through the nose burn more calories?

Possibly not. However, some believe that breathing through the nose may aid in weight loss since it has an impact on one’s digestive system. But there is no scientific data to support this theory.

Key Takeaways

  • Yoga breathing uses deep breathing exercises to increase oxidation in the body to aid weight loss.
  • Kapalbhati helps you lose weight naturally. Bhastrika boosts your metabolism to burn fat.
  • Anulom Vilom improves digestive functioning and boosts energy levels to reduce weight.
  • Bhramari increases your oxygen intake and metabolism rate. Surya Namaskar regulates the body’s rhythm and aids weight loss.
  • The seated spinal twist improves bowel movement and tones the abdomen and back.


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  1. Effects of breathing exercises on resting metabolic rate and maximal oxygen uptake
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