Asthma is a chronic disease which causes inflammation of the respiratory tract. It is a surprisingly common disease that affects a large portion of the population, which is around 300 million people. Asthma is often considered to hinder people’s ability to exercise and perform workouts properly, due to consistent shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing that can affect a person’s ability to exercise to their full potential.
However, yoga is a fantastic way of exercising and moving your body. It assists in building muscle strength, flexibility and improving your connection to your breathing. Therefore, for those who struggle with regular asthmatic episodes, yoga can be extremely helpful in improving your quality of life in addition to your ability to work with your breath.
Here are five yoga poses for people who have asthma:
Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique (Nadi Shodhan Pranayama)
This pose is the perfect way to start a yoga practice and can assist with connecting to your breath and respiratory system.
Directions: Sitting comfortably in a crossed-legged position, keep your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Rest your right hand on your thigh. Fold your middle and index fingers on your left hand and bring them to your face. Utilise your left thumb to close your left nostril. Breathe deeply in through your right nostril and then close that nostril with your right ring and little finger. Open up the left nostril and exhale. Repeat for 10 counts.
Butterfly Pose (Badhakonasa)
This pose helps to improve your blood circulation and stimulates breathing.
Directions: Sit comfortably with your back straight and keep your knees bent outwards, with the soles of your feet pressed together. Clasp both of your ankles and slowly bend your body forward towards your feet. Hold the position for as long as is comfortable for you. (Ensure to keep your abs engaged while holding).
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Though it looks very simple, this pose is useful for relaxing your muscles and giving you time to connect to your breathing.
Directions: Lie on your back. Your arms and legs must be relaxed and laid out flat on the floor. If necessary, cushion your head or neck for comfort. Keep your eyes closed. Concentrate on your breathing. Use this time to concentrate on areas of your body that are particularly tense and focus on breathing into those areas. Maintain this pose for the amount of time that you wish.
Seated Spinal Twist
This pose focuses on your spine, back, and respiratory muscles that assist in breathing.
Directions: Seated on the floor with your legs crossed, place one hand on the floor behind you. Bring your other hand towards the opposite knee and gently grasp the outside of it. Breathe into your side, twisting your torso. Maintain for a few seconds before repeating on the other side.
This pose stretches your back and spine, as well as helping to open your chest and airways.
Directions: Lying on your stomach, with your feet pointed, place your hands underneath your shoulders. Keeping your elbows at your sides, slowly raise your head and torso off the ground keeping your legs and hips grounded on the floor. Breathe deeply and hold for a few breaths before slowly lowering yourself back down.
In addition to possibly alleviating asthma, yoga offers many health advantages. These include physical and mental benefits, for example:
- Improved respiration
- Better cardio and circulatory health
- Enhanced breathing awareness
- Increased flexibility
- Improved range of motion
- Better balance
- Enhanced muscle strength
- Muscles which are toned
- Stress management
- Relief of anxiety
- Increased focus
While you could experience some of these benefits after only one session, it’s best to practise yoga regularly. A routine practice will help you to enjoy these benefits consistently.
Yoga has so many health benefits for those who practice this ancient exercise form. Find out what these are on our Yoga Instructor Course. Follow this link to read more.