With the increase of a huge amount of pollutants and adulterants in the air, asthma has taken over almost every household. This is extremely unfortunate that the number of asthma patients is increasing largely since the last decade. If you seek the help of yoga for asthma, we can assure you that you will definitely get relief from your breathing troubles.
Asthma is a chronic ailment. It affects the breathing organ, lungs, and restricts the air to pass through the airway and reach the lungs. The main reason behind this is the constriction of the bronchi, which leads to breathing difficulty. In addition, a person wheezes frequently due to inflammation and the presence of mucous.
Asthma does not have a single source. Apart from the environmental irritants like dust and smoke, other factors like mites, pollens, food allergies can trigger breathing troubles. Studies have shown that even stress can trigger asthma in some cases.
However, the reason will not be the same for everyone. It is important to know if you are susceptible to asthma, because, the asanas are for everyone who wants to stay healthy and prevent breathing troubles.
The most susceptible person are those who are overweight, smokes in n uncontrolled way, are passive smokers, allergic to synthetic food additives. Additionally, if asthma history prevails in your family, you are already pre-disposed to asthma.
The most common symptoms that you will find in asthma patients are continuous breathing trouble and coughing especially after fast walks, laughing, or exercise. Shortness of breath, feeling a sort of tightness in the chest, wheezing is also preeminent symptoms of asthma.
There is no particular cure for asthma in medical science. Treatments are necessary to keep the troubles at a bay for sometimes only. Yoga for asthma plays a role in opening up the airway for easy breathing. In this way, by performing regular yoga, you can get relief from asthma for a longer period of time.
Effective Yoga for Asthma
1. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama
This is popularly known as the ‘Anulom Vilom’ Pranayam. The breathing exercise clears (‘Sodhan’) the subtle energy channels or ‘Nadi’ that may be blocked for various reasons. This yoga for asthma should be the first thing to do in the morning because it calms the mind and keeps us stress-free.
For asthma, it acts therapeutically on the respiratory system and the circulatory system. The total inhalation and exhalation process clears the breathing passage for easy movement of air. Apart from asthma, Nadi Shodhan has shown immense benefits on increasing positive vibes and energy to the body.
How to Perform
- Select an airy space.
- Sit in a comfortable position with shoulders relaxed and spine erect.
- Now keep your left hand on the left knee. You can either keep your palms open or by touching the tips of thumb and index popularly known as the Chin Mudra.
- It is the right hand now. Place your index and middle fingers gently in the area between the eyebrows.
- The ring finger and the little fingers will be placed on the left nostril now. On the contrary, the thumb needs to be placed on the right nostril.
- The opening and closing of nostrils will be organized by the ring finger, little finger, and thumb.
- With the help of the thumb, press the right nostril.
- Breathe out through the left nostril.
- In the same position, breathe in through the left nostril.
- After inhalation and before exhalation, close the left nostril with the ring and little fingers.
- Release the thumb from the right nostril and exhale out.
- Similarly, breathe in through the right nostril while the left nostrils are closed.
- Release the left nostril and allow exhalation.
- Thus, one complete cycle of Nadi Shodhan Pranayam is completed.
- To start with, 9 cycles is good. Remember to close your eyes throughout the session and breathe effortlessly. There is no hurry, no pressure, and no stress.
The best thing about this yoga for asthma is it is good for everyone. It is slow and calming in nature. There are no side effects, no adversity for Nadi Sodhan Pranayam.
Baddhakonasana is an effective yoga for asthma especially for those who are suffering for a long time. The main science behind this is the pressure created on the thorax region. When you regularly practice this asana, the thoracic region expands giving more space to the lungs. Therefore, you can get relief from breathing troubles.
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It is also known as the Bound Angle Pose. Baddha means Bound and Kone means angle. It is considered the best variation of the butterfly pose. Apart from Asthma, it has other benefits like improvement of kidney and liver function, reducing fat from thigh area, relieving anxiety and stress and lastly improving the circulation a lot.
How to Perform
- Sit on your yoga mat in the Dandasana pose.
- Gradually fold the legs from knees.
- Bring the feet closer until one sole touches the other.
- Now, with the help of hands, hold the ankles or feet, whichever you are comfortable with.
- Push the heel inwards towards the groin as much as you can. Move it till you feel comfortable. Do not pressurize or you may end up getting cramps.
- Exhale and try keeping the knees on the ground.
- Make sure your arms and shoulders are relaxed.
- Stay in this position for about a minute. Breathe normally during this span.
- Release from the position. Exhale and come back to the original position.
- Move the hands to two sides of the body.
- Keep your legs straight, take a deep breath, and relax.
- Repeat the same procedure. Doing yoga for asthma cure 10 times will make you feel better.
If you are not very flexible, initially you may feel slight stretch or pain around hips, thighs, and abdomen. It is very natural and you should continue to do it regularly.
3. Kapalbhati Pranayama
It is a popular yoga for asthma. As it includes the thorax region, it is very effective in enhancing lung capacity. When your lungs expand, it allows more oxygen to enter. Indirectly, it works great for relieving asthma.
However, as this includes a forceful exhalation, you should be careful about doing this. This yoga for asthma can definitely prevent the consequences. But, if have severe breathing troubles, always consult a doctor or yoga teacher before performing Kapalbhati.
Other major benefits include weight loss, trimming the abdominal area, and energizing the total body. The best part of Kapalbhati is that it is very effective for diabetic persons. Performing this yoga will bring a special radiance to the face.
How to Perform
- Sit on the yoga mat with spines straight.
- Keep both hands on the subsequent knees.
- Palms should face upwards towards the sky.
- Inhale deeply.
- While exhaling, let the air come out forcefully.
- Simultaneously, your naval region should pull back towards the spine. In other words, you should feel the abdominal muscles contracting.
- When you release and relax near the abdominal area, let the air enter the lungs again automatically.
- This is not a very slow process. 20 rounds of this inhalation and exhalation make up one complete cycle for Kapalbhati.
- Relax with closed eyes. You can feel the sensations in the body while relaxing.
- Follow the same steps again. To start with, you can go for one or two more rounds to get positive results.
You do not have to worry about the process of inhalation here, as it will be done automatically. However, be careful while breathing out. Although it is forceful breathing, exhale it normally as far as you can. Do not overdo it.
4. Setu Bandhasana
The best yoga for asthma will always allow the chest to open up so that it can give more space to the lungs. When the lungs expand, breathing becomes easier. That is the main concept of Setu Bandhasana. It creates pressure on the lungs and thereby gives effective relief for asthma patients.
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It also makes the body flexible. It perfectly stretches the spine, neck, hips. One worth mentioning fact about yoga is its capability to stimulate the thyroid glands. This means it can prevent thyroid-related disorders too.
How to Perform
- Lie on the yoga mat with legs straight and hands on either side of the body.
- Now fold your knees in such a way that your feet and hip are in distance, 10-12 inches from the pelvis.
- Make sure your ankle and knees are in the same line.
- Your hands are still on either side with palms facing upwards.
- Next, with inhalation, lift your back gradually from the floor.
- Roll on your shoulders to keep the balance.
- Focus on your chest. It should touch the chin upwards. This means your chin should not come down.
- You will feel your weight being concentrated on shoulders, arms, and feet.
- The thighs must be parallel to each other.
- Stay in this position and breathe normally for 2 to 3 breathes initially.
- Take a deep breath and slowly come to the initial position with the help of the spine. Make the legs straight and relax.
- To start with, 10 repetitions are required to see results.
Although this yoga for asthma is very effective for flexibility also, make sure you are doing it in case you have backache, neck pain, or spinal issues.
Shav means dead body. This yoga for asthma looks similar to a corpse lying down. Although it may look very easy, this is not a simple sleeping pose on the back. When you do Shavasana, you get full relief from stress and anxiety. Apart from that, it helps you to breathe smoothly and hence the chances of an asthma attack reduce a lot.
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Shavasana is the last step of every asana as it relaxes the body parts. In other words, this asana gives you a state of rejuvenation.
How to Perform
- Lie flat on your back without any cushion or pillow.
- Relax and keep the legs comfortably at a distance.
- The toes should face to the sides.
- Keep your arms on either side of the body, a little away from the body.
- The palms should be open and facing upwards.
- Now completely focus on relaxing body parts. You can start with the right foot, right knee, and then the left one. Gradually move upwards till you relax your head.
- Take slow and deep breathes. Stay calm, away from all stress.
- Surrender your body to the ground.
- Stay in this position for about 10 minutes.
- Roll down on the right side. Stay in that condition for another one minute.
- Then sit by taking support of the right hand and perform Sukhasana.
There are no adverse effects of Shavasana. It is the most relaxing yoga for asthma that you can try after any other yoga pose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can asthma be cured permanently by Yoga?
Although there is no such proof that asthma can be completely cured by Yoga, it is definitely effective in reducing symptoms. Yoga for asthma will give you a healthy life for sure.
Can asthma patients do Kapalbhati?
Kapalbhati is yoga for asthma. However, as it involves a forced exhalation, locking of breath can still happen. We recommend consulting a doctor before doing Kapalbhati.
Is meditation good for asthma?
Meditation is very effective to reduce stress levels. As stress is an unavoidable factor for asthma, meditation is quite effective for asthma. Furthermore, when you do meditation, you are performing deep and slow breathing. This is extremely beneficial to treat or prevent asthma.
The End Note
Apart from the yoga for asthma mentioned above, there are other asanas like Sukhasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Bhujangasana which we have discussed in our earlier articles. It is always better not to get asthma than to fight with it.
These yoga poses are preventive and should be a part of the daily regime. A day started with yoga and pranayam can never be better than anything else for mental and physical well-being. So, make it a habit of doing yoga and wait for our next article on yoga!