Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi
Asthma is an extremely troublesome condition, leaving the person gasping for breath and in some cases it can have dangerous consequences as well. Most people who suffer from asthma are asked to use inhalers and may be prescribed bronchodilators. But just because you are an asthmatic doesn’t mean that you need to be on medication to survive. Yoga can help beat the symptoms and make your lungs stronger. Here are eight yoga asanas that can help you overcome the challenges of asthma.
Ujayee pranayam: This is a form of pranayam that is done while lying down and while standing. It improves lung function, expands your lungs, helps you hold breath for longer and gives your body essential oxygen. If you are trying this pranayam for the first time, make sure you do ujayee pranayam first in the lying position and once you have mastered it you can move on to the standing ujayee pranayam.
Steps to do this asana:
Lie down on the floor, with your legs outstretched and arms by your side. Now, relax your entire body and breathe out through your mouth. While breathing out, make sure your lungs are emptied and you purse your lips into a pout (like you would if you were to whistle). Once your lungs are emptied, inhale air through your nose. Make sure you fill in your lungs completely. Hold your breath and stretch out your legs (by pointing your toes towards the wall in front of you). Hold this position for as long as you can hold your breath, then breathe out as you relax your body.
Ekpada uttanasana: This asana is perfect for people with asthma because it helps the lungs to open up and oxygenates the entire respiratory system. This asana also makes your hips more flexible, improves digestion, tones the muscles around your abdomen and enhances the working of the glands related to libido. Ekpada uttan asana is also known to be very effective against menstrual disorders.
Steps to do this asana:
Lie down on the floor with your legs stretched out and your hands by your side. Make sure your entire body is relaxed at this stage. Now, stretch out and point the toes of your right leg and tighten the muscles of the entire leg. Next, inhale and raise the leg so that it is perpendicular to your body. Do not jerk up the leg since you may end up injuring your back. Hold this position for about six seconds while holding our breath. To go back to the starting position, slowly exhale and lower your leg simultaneously. Rest for six breaths and then do the same exercise with your left leg.
Tara asana: This asana is aimed at strengthening the muscles of the chest while strengthening your lungs. Due to the movement of your hands, while performing this asana, the muscles around the chest area become toned and your bronchioles and lungs strengthens. This asana also helps in the development of chest and relieves pain around the back and the shoulders.
Steps to perform this asana:
Stand up erect and keep your feet at a 45 degree angle to each other and your hands by your side. Now tighten the muscles of your hands, inhale and raise your hands so they are at an angle of 90 degrees to your body. Make sure your palms are facing the ceiling in this position. Hold your breath and keep your hands in this position for six seconds. Now, exhale and breathe normally. Turn your palms so that they are facing each other. Inhale, hold your breath and move your hands in the front so that they are at an angle of 90 degrees to your body. Hold this position for six seconds. In the last phase of this exercise, use the same breathing technique and move your hands above you. Finally bring your hands to the starting position and then relax.
This asana helps expand the chest and exercise the lungs. Because of the bending action of this asana, blood from the lower portions of the body rush upwards and helps massage the lower part of the lungs, bronchioles and nourishes the nerves of that area. This helps strengthen your lungs and overall respiratory system.
Steps to do this pose:
Sit comfortably in sukhasana. Now, move your hands behind your back and try to hold the wrist of one hand with the other. Make a fist with the hand that is being held at the wrist. Next, exhale slowly and simultaneously start lowering your head towards the ground. You will notice that your hands will start moving upwards. Try to touch the ground with your forehead and hold the position for a few breaths. To return to the starting position, gently raise your back upright and loosen the muscles of your hands and gently release your grip. Allow yourself to relax for a few seconds before you redo the asana.
Also known as the camel pose, this asana is exactly what the doctors recommend for asthma patients. This asana helps open up the chest and improves breathing. It activates the facial tissues, the nasal passage, the pharynx, and stimulates the nerves of the respiratory system. This asana also helps correct disorders of the neck, shoulders, spine, and helps the sensory organs function optimally.
This asana is known for its ability to help relieve throat problems, voice disruptions and tonsillitis. Simha asana also helps improve one’s respiratory system as it activates the larynx, trachea and lungs. It also activates the thyroid gland, allowing it to functions better and making your entire body healthy.
Steps to do this asana:
Start this asana by sitting in vajrasana. Relax and breath normally while in this pose. Now, bend forward while extending your back, so that it is parallel to the floor. Now start exhaling through both your nostrils and partially through your mouth while extending your tongue outwards. Making sure you exhale completely once your tongue is completely extended.
Now spread your finger tips, open your mouth wide, while keeping your tongue extended and eyes wide open. Hold this asana for a few seconds and then relax and inhale. Rest between before you try to practice the asana again.
This asana is known for its ability to activate and relieve thyroid problems. But apart from that it is a great for asthmatics. Sarvangasana is known to help improve the circulatory system, improves supply of blood to facial tissues, relieves constipation, gastrointestinal problems and strengthens the entire body.
Also known as the fish pose, this asana helps to improve circulation to the chest, face, neck and glands present in those areas. It also helps relieve symptoms of back pain and tones the muscles of the chest, back, neck and lengthens the spine. It also helps correct disorders of the respiratory system.