A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicinefound that yoga breathing for just 20 minutes was able to lower stress-related markers of inflammation measured in the saliva.
Researchers examined levels of biomolecules in the body called cytokines in the saliva of twenty participants. Half of the group read text for 20 minutes while the other half did specific yoga breathing exercises: 10 minutes of Om chanting and 10 minutes of rhythmic breathing. Om chanting is an ancient practice that repeats the sound or vibration “Aum.” Rhythmic breathing is a simple breathing exercise that regulates the breath based on specific counts. In this study, yoga instructors taught participants to inhale for two counts, hold for eight counts, and exhale for four counts. The notation for this breathing exercise is 2-8-4, which based on inhalation-hold-exhalation. (Note: There can also be a pause at the end of your breath cycle after exhalation, which is a more advanced technique).
Researchers measured samples from the beginning of the exercise in five-minute intervals up to 20 minutes and found that, at the end of 20 minutes, three stress-related biomarkers significantly decreased in those who did the yoga breathing exercise but not in people who were just reading.