Yogic Breathing for Stress Control

Science is now explaining how deep breathing can be a key factor in clearing emotional pain and stress. Yogic breathing can help access the governing system for the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems, positively affecting the whole psychology through physiological changes.

Dr. Candace Pert from Georgetown University has published a book about her research, which shows how deep breathing can change physiology, both clearing old emotions and balancing the systems.

Neuropeptides are small molecules that brain neurons use to communicate with each other. The brain releases the neuropeptides in order to regulate physiological systems by communicating with receptor sites throughout the body. They carry emotion inducing chemicals to the receptor sites. When old emotions block the receptor sites, the flow of information is altered, resulting in stress, disease, and inappropriate behaviors.

Deepening or changing the rate of breathing is effective because the respiratory system is a concentrated location for receptor sites, including receptors for every kind of peptide the body uses. When we change the rate or depth of breath, according to Dr. Pert, research shows that it triggers the release of emotion carrying peptides from the base of the brain. The peptides flow through the cerebral spinal fluid, releasing old emotions and balancing the system.

Neuropeptides include natural endorphins and opiates, which, aside from enhancing happiness, can relieve pain. That’s why attention to breathing during yoga practice or the breathing techniques associated with natural childbirth courses are effective. That’s also why yogis have been able to use breathing exercises to manipulate bodily functions like blood pressure, and heart rate. This research shows how breathing techniques clear and regulate hormonal, psychological, nervous, and immune system information networks. Breathing techniques can balance the body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

John Douillard, D.C., of Boulder, Colorado’s LifeSpa teaches a simple one-minute meditation designed to make use of the emotion-clearing mechanism explained by Dr. Pert’s research. It involves 30 seconds of deep breathing followed by 30 seconds of silence:

Breathe Away Emotional Stress and Pain, Posted by LifeSpa, Dr. John Douillard, DC, November 27, 2012, from source: Pert, Candace.  Molecules of Emotion. 1999. Touchstone Books

Recent articles


Upcoming courses

Yoga for
every body

How to Avoid the Top 3 Pitfalls of Forward Bends

With Julie Gudmedstad

Recent articles


Sorry, You have reached your
monthly limit of views

To access, join us for a free 7-day membership trial to support expanding the Pose Library resources to the yoga community.

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial