Asthma is a common problem of shortness of breath due to the chronic lung condition. Asthma attack occurs when the muscles around the bronchi go into spasm and become narrow, swelling of the lining, which increases mucous leading to blockage of the air tubes. Symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and heaviness in the chest cause blockage in the lungs. During asthma attack, lack of oxygen can lead to death. Stress and severe anxiety can trigger attacks, and stress generally aggravates asthma symptoms
By Dr Vedamurthachar A
Yoga betters asthma
However, all the discomforts of cold or allergy can be prevented through the regular practice of some yoga postures and a few simple breathing techniques (pranayamas), which helps to open up your airways, and breathe better.
Yoga betters your asthma condition due to the free flow of air through the bronchial tubes and air sacs in the lungs. You can leave your medications at bay and asthma attacks become lesser with regular yoga practice.
Yoga therapy at present form is a new discipline, created by combining the traditional yoga with modern medicine, to address the individual needs. It is more effective and safe means of treating medical conditions and also applies equal focus on mind, body and spirit to manage specific disorders. Regular yoga practice can increases lungs capacity, purifies blood, rise up energy levels, increases vitality and improves overall health. It also improves self-confidence.
Its gentle stretches and poses help one to gain flexibility and strength. Back bending asanas are good to open the chest and helps to improve the condition of the heart and lungs. Practising upper back- bending and chest- opening postures helps in inhaling, whereas forward and lower back bending postures help in exhaling during asthma attacks. Mucus can be helped to flush out with inverted postures. Breathing exercises or pranayama help to focus on proper breathing. The relaxation aspects in yoga help in calming the nerves. Thus, the practice of yoga helps to combat stress, reduce physical tension and muscle tightness. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system and feelings of wellbeing are produced.
It opens up the lungs for fresh air and is an excellent way to have a controlled breath to avoid asthma attacks.
Nadi sodhana can help you to control stress and emotional turmoil.
Asthma triggered by cold can be helped by Ujjayi pranayama.
Allergic trigger patterns can be controlled by Shit Kari or Shitali pranayama.
It is very good to reduce mucus congestion. These techniques relax the lungs, increase oxygen boosts and improve the immune system and energy level thereby alleviating chronic cold, asthma, sinus congestion, allergies, emphysema, snoring, and other lung ailments. These breathing exercises are very good to strengthen and relax the muscles of lungs thereby helping to absorb more oxygen. During an asthma attack, this proves to be very useful to reduce the nerve activity in the airways causing fewer bottlenecks and helps in stabilizing the autonomous nervous system which in turn helps cleanse the air passage ways. Pranayama, if practised regularly, can make a tremendous difference to your health. Deep, regulated, relaxed breathing helps to soothe the lining of the bronchial tree and prevents irritation from external allergens. Some asanas such as Dandasana, Baddhakonasana, Upavista konasana, Virasana, Supta baddhakonasana, Supta virasana, Setubandha sarvangasana, Adhomukha svanasana, Uttanasana and Tadasana samasthithi will relieve asthma.
(The writer is Director, Living Well Programs, Art of Living International Foundation, Bengaluru)
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