What is yoga for asthma?
Before we talk about yoga for asthma and its benefits, let us understand asthma and how it affects us.
Asthma is a condition that causes a small airway in your lungs to get inflamed and narrow, which leads to breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing. It is usually caused by pollution & fumes, tobacco smoke, dust, exercising, cold air, respiratory infections, medications, strong emotional outbursts, chronic stress, etc., and affects almost 300 million around the world.
Asthma is treated through medications that include long-term asthma control medicines and quick-relief medicines along with allergy shots. Asthma cannot be cured and its treatment is aimed at preventing and reducing its symptoms. Besides the medications that may have side effects in the long run, one of the best ways to manage this condition is yoga for asthma patients.
Though asanas for asthma don’t cure this condition, they serve as an excellent complementary treatment that helps people manage and prevent their symptoms by opening up the chest muscles.
Which are some of the best asanas of yoga for asthma?
Here are some of the best yoga asanas for asthma that you can include in your daily routine to help with your breathing:
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose): This is an excellent asana of yoga for asthma patients that opens up the chest and prevents asthma flare-ups.
- Lie on your back and place your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees bent.
- Your hands should be on the floor with the palms facing down.
- Inhale and move your pelvis up and hold the pose for 10-12 seconds.
- Come back to the starting position.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Amongst the best asanas for asthma, the cobra pose helps by improving the circulation of blood to your chest muscles, helping in breathing better.
- Lie on your stomach and place your palms beneath your shoulders.
- Your legs should be hip-width apart.
- Press your pelvis onto the floor and lift your upper body slowly by balancing it on your hands.
- Keep your shoulders back and chin parallel to the floor.
- Hold the pose for 20-25 seconds.
- Return to the starting position.
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist): One of the best asanas for preventing asthma, it improves the blood and oxygen supply to your lungs helping you breathe better.
- Sit with your legs stretched in the front. Your spine should be erect and feet together.
- Now bend your left leg and place its heel beside the right hip.
- Take your right leg over the left knee and place your left hand on the right knee.
- Twist your waist, neck, and shoulders and look over to the right while keeping your spine straight.
- Hold the pose for 15-20 seconds.
- Return to the starting position.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose): One of the best poses of yoga to cure asthma, it fills your lungs with air and improves your breathing capacity.
- To start this pose of yoga for asthma, make the position with both your hands and knees on the ground.
- Breathe in and gently lift your hips while straightening your knees and elbows. Your body should be in an inverted ‘V’ shape.
- Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and parallel to your feet.
- Your ears must be touching your inner arms.
- Hold the pose for 20-25 seconds and return to the starting position.
- Kapal Bhati: This pranayama for asthma is an effective deep breathing exercise that clears your airways and promotes obstruction-free breathing.
- Sit in a comfortable position and place your hands on the knees with your palms facing the sky.
- Inhale deeply and as you exhale, pull your navel towards your spine.
- Expel the breath with a powerful contraction of your abdominal muscles.
- This is one cycle of Kapalbhati.
- Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing): This is one of the best pranayama for asthma that releases tension from your chest muscles allowing them to expand.
- Sit in a comfortable position while keeping your spine straight.
- Place your left hand on your left knee.
- Exhale and use your right thumb to close your right nostril.
- Inhale through your left nostril and close it with your index finger.
- Open your right nostril and exhale.
- Inhale through the right side and exhale from the left.
- This completes one cycle.
What is the benefit of yoga for asthma?
There are amazing benefits of asanas to prevent asthma. These yoga asanas for asthma not just reduce your symptoms but also help you breathe better.
Here are some of the most important benefits of asanas for preventing asthma:
- Asthma constricts your airways causing difficulties in breathing. Yoga asanas for asthma, especially pranayama, help in opening up your airways through deep breathing and let you breathe better.
- In asthma, your muscles get tight and stretched which causes breathing problems. Asanas of yoga to cure asthma conditions, stretch, and strengthen these muscles that help you breathe normally.
- Anxiety about an impending attack affects almost all asthma patients. The best yoga for asthma benefits is that its gentle poses by relaxing your muscles and releasing endorphins have a calming effect on your brain thereby reducing stress related to your breathing issue.
- One of the best pranayama for asthma benefits is that it reduces sleep disturbances, fatigue, and exhaustion in asthma patients.
- The best pranayama for asthma benefits is that it makes your lungs stronger and prevents asthmatic triggers.
How to do yoga for asthma safely and avoid injuries?
Here is some best yoga for asthma tips to follow for gaining its benefits:
- Always learn the techniques of yoga for asthma from an experienced yoga practitioner or by joining an online yoga class. This helps prevent injuries.
- If you feel dizzy or nauseous anytime during your practice, stop immediately.
- Never give yourself unrealistic targets. Start slow and build up your practice gradually.
- Alternate between different asanas and couple your practice with yoga for sinus.
Asanas to prevent asthma not just relieve your symptoms but offer a host of other health benefits also. They keep your body functioning healthily and are also great stress busters that improve your quality of life.