Yoga is an incredible form of exercise for those who suffer from asthma. Yoga is a low impact, stress-relieving workout that is safe for people who have breathing difficulties. Yoga also incorporates many gentle stretches that open up the lungs and help expand lung capacity and function.
When I was in my teenage years I used to get exercise-induced asthma when I played vigorous tennis. I had a case of bronchitis, which turned in to a lingering asthmatic-type response when I worked out intensely. It eventually went away, but I still remember how scary it would be to hear the wheezing and feel like my lungs were on fire and I couldn’t catch my breath.
Yoga is such a wonderful tool for relieving anxiety and stress. When someone is suffering from breathing issues, one of the best things to do is stop, slow down, and work on taking a deep, full breath. Over time and with practice of slow, controlled breathing and movements, the symptoms can lessen and asthmatic sufferers can find relief.
Here are five of my favorite poses for those who suffer from asthma or have trouble breathing.
1. Crescent Lunge
Crescent Lunge is an excellent way to open up the front body and lungs. It is especially good to stretch the entire front body and open up the hip flexors, psoas, chest, and shoulders. I find tight psoas can interfere with proper deep, full breathing.
From all fours, step your right foot forward between your hands and lift your chest. You may need to slide your left knee back a little further, and feel free to pad it if you need to. Stretch your arms up to the ceiling and turn your palms to face each other. Hold and breathe for five to eight full breaths. Repeat on the left side.
2. Bridge Pose
Bridges are great for opening up the lungs and also stretching the chest and shoulders to create more room for oxygen.
Start lying on your back with your feet flat on the mat, hip width apart. Press into your feet and lift your hips up. Interlace your hands under your back and open up the chest as much as you can.
Hold and breathe for eight to ten breaths.
3. Fish Pose
Fish Pose is one of the best postures for opening up the upper body, chest, head, and neck region.
Lie on your back with your hands by your hips. Press into your elbows to lift you head and prop the top of the head on the floor. Hold for five to eight breaths.
Savasana is the ultimate relaxation pose, and a great place to relax and let the breath breathe for us. For those who suffer from asthma, Savasana can be especially important.
Lie down on your back with your palms facing the ceiling. Close your eyes and let your entire body relax. Stay for five to ten minutes.
5. Alternate Nostril Breathing
Sit comfortably, cross-legged or in any seat that supports the spine. Press your right thumb in to your right nostril and breathe in through the left side. Close the left side with your pointer finger and breathe out through the right side.
Repeat breathing in through the right and exhaling out the left. Continue going from side to side for eight to twelve cycles. Notice how it opens up both airways and helps you breathe evenly through both sides.
Alternate nostril is great for slowing down the breath, focusing the mind, and calming the nervous system. Alternate nostril also helps expand lung capacity and even out our right and left side nasal passages.
Whether you suffer from asthma or not, these postures will help you breathe deeper and more fully. You will get stress relief and an opening in the lung region, upper and lower back, shoulders and chest.
Do you suffer from asthma? Have you tried yoga for asthma and found some relief? Share your experiences with us below!