Right breathing is an essential for life. It ensures the circulation of pranvayu and proper functioning of all vital organs of our body. Any obstruction or inflammation in the respiratory passage limits the supply of oxygen causing numerous diseases. Present lifestyle, stress and contaminated air are alarmingly taking people in the ambit of incurable diseases like cancer, asthma, COPD and a long list of diseases that become chronic and acute with time.

People suffering from respiratory issues require exercise that works well for both mental and physical health. Yoga is a panacea for lung problems, strengthening the respiratory system and working holistically on health. There are asanas and pranayama to increase the strength and elasticity of lungs that ensure proper functioning of respiratory and other systems of our body.

Yoga icon Chandana Bhowmick is quintessential of how yoga can pave way for healthy life. Chandana once worked in corporate who somehow managed to break free from the shackles of stress and chain smoking and took up yoga to discover life of her choice. She is a multi-talented personality and a qualified Level II Ashtanga yoga trainer from Sharath Jois in Mysuru. She now travels widely to spread the yogic light enlightening many lives with her programs in Pune.

hellomyyoga got an opportunity to chat on the mat with Chandana Bhowmick & discover her journey from corporate to yoga professional. 

hmy : What drew you towards yoga from corporate life?

Chandana : I started practicing Yoga in 2000, encouraged by my football coach in school. Till 2009 Yoga was a form of recreational daily classes. But I guess it nurtured the deep seeded want of being healthy, taking care of the body and wanting to do something more than just crunching number targets and late night work hours. I quit my job in 2009 after being subjected to inequality of payment and I realized that the rat race of designations and salaries was not contributing towards my self development.

hmy : What health issues you encountered due to chain smoking?

Chandana : By God's grace nothing major but my immunity was low, I had bad skin - highly pigmented, and of course I wasn't  breathing properly.

hmy : What is the most evident transformation you felt through yoga both in terms of physical and mental health?

Chandana : 2010 I started my Yoga studies. It was in 2011 ( I was in Mysore studying with Guruji in the Shala) I made the best decision for my life. I finally had the strength to ask for divorce from my abusive husband. So what I gained immediately was the mental strength. In fact this is what kept me strong and fight for myself after I was sexually bused by my ex husband . I was strong enough to fight my battle, give strength to my family and also get to help men and women in the same situation.

Physically or lets say externally, my skin is much better, I look younger than before. Immunity is high, even if I fall sick due to a viral, my body heals in maximum two days with no medicines ( kitchen is my medicine cabinet, I follow Ayurveda ) . And yes I am stronger than before. 

Yoga is about holistic living. Everyday you see a change in yourself (svadhyaya ) . You are more tuned to yourself, you know what is right and wrong for you. You learn to control over your cravings, get rid of sloth that might hamper your progress, increase your will power, overcome your fear, imbibe childlike attitude to try more new things than fall prey to uncomfortable feelings.

The bodies self healing capacity also increases. I have had two ankle surgeries ( fractured and had plates and screws inside ) . The recovery after the first surgery to be ready for the second one usually takes 2 years. Even to my surgeon's surprise, mine happened in 6 months. Second surgery and I was back to my routine in 3 weeks. 

hmy : What challenges you faced while switching to Yoga and quit smoking?

Chandana : I didn't face any challenge, I got up one day and decided to quit smoking and drinking and that was it. I knew what I wanted. I guess you just have to be stronger than your vices and stand for the future you want.

Switching to Yoga... yes there was a financial struggle in the beginning. But apart from that I love what I do now. There are small hurdles sometimes, but the gains are humongous.

hmy : What message you want to give to people in order to avoid lifestyle and respiratory problems?

Chandana : You know, deep down we all know whats good and bad for us. So listen to that meek little voice and let it grow stronger to stop you from taking up bad habits or indulging in wrong food ( yes yes be human, indulge, but only once in a blue moon ;) ) .

Its never too late to start a fresh, happy, healthy chapter, so start now.

Chandana Bhowmick,  is an Ashtanga Yoga teacher based in Pune, Maharastra, India. Chandana has an experience of over seventeen years. You can write her at :