Yoga offers a variety of health benefits and one of those benefits is asthma relief. The promotion of expanding lung capacity makes it easier to breathe. Yoga also relaxes the body which helps alleviate asthmatic symptoms. When we feel tense, we hold the breath instinctively which isn’t great for someone with asthma.
Exercise is really important for those with asthma but it’s also challenging. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction might deter those with asthma to pursue activities. This is what is making yoga perhaps even more appealing. It relieves stress in a gentle way because it’s a slower paced workout. It does allow a person to gain strength.
Asthma Specific Benefits
An 8 week study found that adults with asthma experienced a significant improvement of how their lungs functioned. Asthmatic symptoms were reduced in comparison to the other controlled group that took part in the study. Any activity matters for those with asthma but some of the yoga poses really stand out for helping people with their symptoms.
Here are some yoga poses recommended by yoga instructors to help relieve asthma symptoms.
This pose will help to open up your lungs which gives you relief of asthma symptoms.
How to do a Forward Bend
Start with your legs hip-width distance.
With straight legs, consciously micro bend at the knees.
Fold your body forward with your head leading.
Grab hold of your elbows with the opposing hand.
Hang here and take some deep relaxing breaths.
When you come back up, slowly bring your body up one vertebrae at a time with your head coming up last.
Butterfly pose is very relaxing which helps bring relief to asthma sufferers.
How to do Butterfly pose
Sitting up, put the soles of your feet together.
Let your knees drop to the sides.
Hold your ankles and bring your heels as close to your hips as possible.
Inhale in and as you exhale, forward fold aiming for your head to touch your feet.
You can use your elbows to press into your knees, this will allow you to bend further into the pose.
Hold the pose for a few breaths and relax deeply into it.
Bridge pose will help to open up the lungs which allows you full capacity to breathe.
How to do Bridge Pose
Lie flat on your back with your arms out to the side.
With bent knees, slide your feet toward your butt.
Left your butt off the floor and think of yourself as reaching for the ceiling from your hips.
Bring thighs parallel to the floor if you can.
Focus on pressing your shoulder blades toward your back to expand your chest.
Hold this pose for up to 1 minute and breathe deeply into it.
When you want to come out of the pose, exhale slowly and lower your spine to the ground one vertebrae at a time.
Supportive Fish Pose
This pose will help keep the bronchial tube in good health.
How to do Supportive Fish Pose
Use a block or a rolled up towel to support your mid-back.
Put your legs out straight in front of you and rest on the towels of block.
The head should be slightly back so your chin is reaching for the ceiling.
Rest your arms at a 45 degree angle from hips.
Breathe deeply and allow yourself to sink into the pose. Five minutes is suggested.
Savasana helps us to manage stress through the pose and through the breathing you do in the pose.
How to do Savasana
Lie on your back with arms out slightly.
Let your feet drop open.
Close your eyes and fall into this pose.
Soften the jaw and focus on what’s happening within you.
Focus on your breath and slow it down. Let the breath relax your muscles and your body as a while.
Remain in this pose for at least 15 minutes. Focus on slow, intentional breathing to fully relax the whole body.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your feet and palms dropped open. Close your eyes and soften your jaw, taking your focus inward. Start to focus your attention on your breath and slow it down, making it deep and rhythmic, relaxing every part of your body. Stay in the pose for 5 to 10 minutes, maintaining slow, even breathing.
Breathing Exercises to Help Relieve Asthma Symptoms
This pose naturally relieves asthma symptoms. Through the act of focusing on your breath, you have greater control of stress factors. Through deep breathing, you help the lung function more effectively.
How to do Sukasana
Start in a seated position with your legs crossed.
Place your right hand over your heart and the left hand on the belly.
Engage your stomach and draw it in while lifting your chest. The goal is to achieve good posture so the lungs have a clear path to breathe their fullest.
All you have to do now is slowly breathe in and slowly breathe out. Try to do this for 5 minutes.
Deep breathing in yoga helps to open up the lungs to their maximum capacity. It also teaches the mind and body to breathe properly. When this is practiced enough, it will start to occur naturally.
How to do Pranayama Breathing
Sit cross legged and focus on correct posture.
Close your eyes and breathe with your lower belly.
Try breathing rapidly and then slowly.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali)
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