PSA: Breathing Like a Dog Will Boost Your Immunity

Dog panting with tongue out.

We’ve heard plenty of advice about how to keep our immune systems in tip-top shape in the face of flu-prone, bitter cold months. (We’re talking everything from loading up on turmeric and oregano to going for a run.) But one trick that you may have yet to employ is changing up how you breathe. More specifically, changing your breathing to match that of your pup. That’s right – breathing like a dog might actually help boost your immunity this winter.

Here’s the deal: the practice of channeling your favorite pooch as you regulate your breathe is actually part of a yoga form known as pranayam, which consists of a variety of breathing techniques aimed at promoting relaxation and (thankfully, given this winter’s especially frigid temperatures) boosting immunity. Among those breathing techniques is one known as “dog breath” (not to be confused with the kind of dog breath that calls for minty treats). Basically, by mimicking the breath of a dog, you’re able to clear out some of the mucus and toxins in your body. That in turn helps you feel more revitalized and clear-headed in the near term, and may fend off disease and infection in the longterm.

To practice dog breath yourself, all you need to do is follow these two simple steps:

1. While seated in easy pose (sukhasana) with your chest out and your chin tilted in, stick your tongue all the way out and breathe rapidly in and out of your mouth. Continue this panting breath for 3-5 minutes.

2. Once you’ve completed step one, finish off by taking a deep inhale and holding that breathe for 15 seconds with your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth. Repeat the sequence twice more.