Strengthen Your Respiratory System with Yoga – #WATWB

During the 70s and 80s, teaching Hatha Yoga to community college students on Oahu made me a more limber, relaxed, and spiritually aware person. Together, the students and I practiced the asanas (yoga positions) while slowly breathing from the diaphragm, breathing in when extending the body backward, breathing out when folding forward, our lungs like bellows.

Afterward, we focused on a mandela or meditated (accompanied by a cassette tape of progressive relaxation I’d recorded for the class.) It must have worked, for some of them fell asleep, and many of them told me they experienced some much needed relaxation.

Recently, I read that several researchers find the techniques of pranayama (the practice of breath control in yoga) beneficial, treating a range of stress-related disorders. I wasn’t surprised. I’d seen it in my classes – students forgetting their cares, at least for the moment, while stretching, breathing, and relaxing. 

When I went looking for good news this week for June’s #WATWB (We Are The World Blogfest), my virtual ears perked up upon reading that the 6th International Yoga Day happened in New Delhi on June 21, 2020, and Prime Minister Modi spoke. Among the many benefits of yoga breathing exercises, he said, is the strengthening of our respiratory system – the very system of the body most adversely affected by the COVID-19 virus. A wonderful gift indeed!

Yoga gives practitioners many other benefits as well. Modi says anybody can do yoga. To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

We Are The World Blogfest - In Darkness, Be Light

At the end of each month, we bloggers are given an opportunity to post good news, offering an antidote to bad news in our feeds. The talented co-hosts for this month are: Susan Scott, Sylvia McGrath, Shilpa Garg, Belinda Witzenhausen, and Damyanti Biswas. Please check out the blogs and say hello.

Lizbeth Hartz is the author of the true crime, true love memoir Angel Hero, Murder in Hawaii, A True Story. Get it on Amazon or sign up to read the 1st chapter free.


  1. Ashlynn R. Waterstone on June 25, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    Thank you for sharing how Yoga, deep breathing, and meditation are good for the human body, Lizbeth. Thank you also for being a part of #WATWB

  2. susan scott on June 26, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Happy Birthday Ashlynn! Hope you have a glorious day 🙂 My late mother was a hatha yoga teacher and her relaxation classes also put many of her students in to a deep and healing sleep. I’ll listen later to PM Modi later – this is wonderful that he endorsed yoga! Thank you for co-hosting this month and for this lovely post. Have a lovely weekend.

    • Lizbeth Hartz on June 28, 2020 at 6:08 am

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Susan Scott, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. How interesting that your mom was a hatha yoga teacher, too. Yes, I agree, it’s fabulous that the prime minister endorsed yoga. You’re welcome. Wishing you a lovely Sunday 🙂

  3. Kalpana on June 26, 2020 at 9:18 am

    I love your article about yoga and it’s benefits. I’ve been able to return to my yoga practice because of work from home. The sense of utter peace that washes over one after the asanas and pranayama are worth it in themselves. Of course the ultimate goal of Yoga is meditation and isn’t it wonderful how one slides into the meditative space after a session ? Happy WATWB.

    • Lizbeth Hartz on June 28, 2020 at 10:32 am

      Thank you, Kalpana. I admire you continuing practice at home. I didn’t return to yoga until recently. Yes, I agree, wonderful, I love to slip into that space. With aloha from Hawai’i, Liz

  4. Catherine Green on June 26, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Wow, this is a timely message! I am currently having a personal crisis, and one of the core practices that I had done regularly before lockdown was deep breathing during my reiki meditations, but I had lapsed my practice. I used to do yoga during pregnancy, and made good use of breathing techniques during labour, causing my midwives to ask if I was a runner because I regulated my breath so well throughout the pain of birth! Now it seems I must return to the practice, and the universe is sending me prompts… 🙂

    • Lizbeth Hartz on June 28, 2020 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for commenting, Catherine, and that this comes at a good time for you. That’s neat, that you developed control of your breath, something I’m starting to get back into myself. Good luck on returning to the practice 🙂

  5. Deborah Weber on June 26, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    Love this, and it seems so timely to me. I just had a discussion last evening with friend, and we were imagining what an impact it might have on the world and the related stress levels if everyone practiced yoga. And now there seems to be even a greater reason to. Thanks for sharing this one!

    • Lizbeth Hartz on June 28, 2020 at 10:34 am

      You’re welcome, Deborah, and I’m glad you liked the post. Yes, wouldn’t it be great if everyone did, and I agree, there’s no better time than now to practice.

  6. Mary J Giese on June 26, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    The practice of yoga and pranayama is an extremely healthy endeavor. I recommend it highly to anyone willing to try its beneficial results. Thanks for bringing this to #WATWB and it reminds me that I’ve been away from my mat for far too long.

    • Lizbeth Hartz on June 28, 2020 at 8:46 am

      Thanks for commenting, Mary. I, too, had a similar reaction; the story had me returning to my yoga mat (and the meditation that naturally follows). I agree; yoga and pranayama are healthy and beneficial and never fail to put me in a better space. With aloha, Liz

  7. Damyanti on June 27, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Yoga is almost a lifestyle.

    • Lizbeth Hartz on June 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm

      I agree, Damyanti. I think it’s so much more than difficult postures and deep breathing. During those 13 years I taught beginning hatha yoga, my yoga practice brought me so much. Thanks for commenting, and cohosting, and co-creating this wonderful initiative.

  8. Lizbeth Hartz on June 28, 2020 at 8:58 am

    I agree, Damyanti. I think it’s so much more than difficult postures and deep breathing. During those 13 years I taught beginning hatha yoga, my yoga practice brought me so much. Thanks for commenting, and cohosting, and co-creating this wonderful initiative.

  9. Susan Scott on June 28, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Lizbeth, my apologies for calling you Ashlynn and for wishing you happy birthday – 🌺

  10. Belinda Witzenhausen on June 29, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    Love this post! I suffer from a heart defect and have since I was younger. A few years ago after routine testing I was told my heart function was dangerously low. I began practicing yoga and pranayama religiously. Yoga along with an adjustment to my meds, a grain free and sugar free diet has helped my heart function improve. Although I still have issues I find my practice makes a huge impact physically and mentally and I hope to make it a lifetime practice. Thanks so much for sharing and for being a part of #WATWB. Have a fantastic week! Stay safe and be well! 🙂

    • Lizbeth Hartz on June 30, 2020 at 4:33 am

      Hi Belinda,
      Thank you for your note. How great that yoga and pranayama is helping your heart! And thanks for the reminder to stay away from grain — I’d forgotten that, though I knew it years ago. And thank YOU for being one of the initiators of the wonderful #WATWB initiative. Just reading about the kind and generously giving acts people do lifts me up. Wishing you a fabulous week, too, and safety, and health 🙂 Did I ever tell you I love your Facebook page and website? Namaste 🙂