Asthma and Yoga
Abra cadabra alla cabon, yoga makes asthma be gone! It’s hard to believe that asthma effects over 22 million Americans. It’s also considered the most common chronic illness in children and can start when children are born or even later in life. It’s been around for over 2,500 years, yet there’s no cure.
However, the good news is that yoga can help. There are many benefits in yoga for people with asthma or other breathing disorders. For one, yoga incorporates a lot of breathing techniques to help people gain a bit more control of their asthma. Meditation helps in relaxation, and certain poses open up the airways and help strengthen the lungs.
Here are 8 poses which help open up the airways and are great for helping stave off asthma attacks.
Easy Pose: Start by sitting “criss-cross apple sauce” or in Easy Pose. Breath in through the nose, and out through the mouth, pressing lips close together as if you are going to whistle or give a kiss. Inhale for the count of 5 and exhale for the count of 6. Remember to sit up straight while breathing.
Cat/Cow Pose: Start by getting on your hands and knees. Inhale as you drop your belly towards the floor. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling (Cow Pose). As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back (Cat Pose). Your head should be down, almost between your arms. Inhale again, coming back into Cow Pose. Do this 5-10 times (inhale cow, exhale cat)
Downward Dog: While on hands and knees, lift your booty up as if you are going to stand up, keeping your hands and feet on the floor. Create a triangle with your body, where your arms and back are one side of the triangle, your booty be an angle at top, and your legs be another side of the triangle, feet an angle, and floor the third side of the triangle. Make sure the palms of your hands are shoulder width apart and flat on the floor. Your toes should be curled under facing your arms.
Upward Dog: While in Downward Dog, drop your belly to the ground and stick your head out from your neck. Your arms should be straight, legs straight, and belly arched and hanging. Take some deep doggie breaths as if you are sniffing the air for some clues on where a hidden bone may be.
Fish Pose: Lie down on your back, feet straight and legs straight out in front of you on the floor. Keep your heels together and “fan” out your toes and feet like a fish tail. Now slide your elbows back towards your shoulders, keeping your lower arm and hands touching the ground and your upper arms lifting off the floor. Then, lift your chest up off the ground like a puffer fish and drop your head back. Spread your chest out as much as you can to feel a good stretch. This stretch opens up the air passageways.
Forward Bend/Fold Pose: After Downward Dog, walk feet towards hands and lift hands/arms off the floor. Your legs should be straight and your torso should be hanging from your hips. Let your arms and head sway and just relax. If possible, with every inhale, lift the body a bit up and then with an exhale, extend your arms and hands closer to the floor. Stretch as much as you can without it hurting. This stretch should also be done very slowly. When finished, slowly come up, stacking the vertebrae one at a time until you are standing tall in mountain pose.
Eagle Pose: From a standing position, cross one ankle over the other. Extend your arms out in front of you and cross them over your wrists. Turn your thumbs down to the floor, so your palms are facing each other and interlace your fingers. Bring your clasped hands toward your body, resting them on your sternum. Breath deeply. For an added challenge, try crossing your front leg over and wrapping it around the calf of your other leg. You should be balancing on one leg. Also, bend forward and try to touch your legs with your arms.
Other poses to try are bridge pose, snake pose, camel pose, plank pose, butterfly pose, and triangle pose. Add a few yoga minutes to your daily routine and enjoy your life to its fullest!