Asthma is a respiratory condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow, swell, and produce extra mucus, making it difficult to breathe. It is characterised by breathing difficulties, chest pain, cough and wheezing, among other symptoms. To spread awareness about the condition and call for improvement in the lives of people with asthma, May is observed as Asthma Awareness Month, every year.
In addition to following preventative measures such as avoiding exposure to inciting agents, smoke, dust, strong perfumes and wearing a mask you can also perform a few simple yoga asanas to find relief from asthma.
If you are looking for some asthma-relieving yoga poses, look no further as Deepika Chauhan, certified yoga teacher, recently shared five such asanas and also, how to perform them.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
*Lie down on your abdomen and keep the forehead on the floor. Extend the legs and keep your feet together.
*Rest the palms beneath your shoulders, palms facing downwards and fingertips in line with the top of your shoulders.
*Inhale, press the palms firmly on the floor and lift the head and chest up, and elbows closer to the body.
*Stay in this position as long as you can, or up to 1 minute, and make sure that you use your neck and upper back muscles to lift your head and chest up keeping very less weight on the palms. Keep breathing.
*Exhale and bring your forehead and chest down on the floor.
According to the expert, this asana “strengthens the spine and relieves backache. Due to chest expansions, lungs capacity increases”.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
*Lie down on your abdomen with your forehead on the floor and extend the legs.
*Bend your knees and hold your right ankle with your right hand and your left ankle with your left hand.
*Take a deep inhalation, exhale and lift your legs, chest and forehead up simultaneously. Weight should be on the abdomen.
*Stay in this position as long as you can up to 1 minute. Keep breathing.
*Exhale and release the ankles and bring your chest and legs down.
It “increases spine flexibility and tones the abdominal organs. It also opens up your chest, hence, increases ling capacity,” Chauhan said.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist)
*Sit in Vajrasana, then drop your buttocks to the floor, to the right of your heels, and place your left foot outside of your right thigh keeping your right leg bent.
*Place your left palm on the floor behind your back.
*Raise the right arm up and lengthen your spine, bring the right arm over the left side of the left knee and catch hold of your left ankle. Look over the left shoulder.
*Hold the pose for as long as possible up to 1 minute. Repeat the same on the opposite side.
This asana “keeps the spine elastic, massages the abdominal muscles, and is good for digestion.”
Setubandhasana (Bridge Pose)
*Lie down on your back, arms by your sides, palms facing downwards.
*Bend your knees, feet resting on the floor hips-width apart.
*Inhale lift your hips up by exerting pressure on the floor with your palms.
*Hold the position as long as possible, exhale hips down on the floor.
She mentioned that this asana “stretches the neck, spine, chest and hips. It also stimulates the lungs, thyroid gland and abdominal organs.”
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
*Lie down on your back, feet together, and knees straight.
*Place both arms under your body and palms facing downwards under your thighs.
*Inhale, lift head and chest up, exhale drop your head back so that the top of the head touches the floor with the chest expanded.
*Make sure the weight is on the elbows. Keep breathing and keep your legs relaxed.
*Lift the head up and lower the back to the floor.
This asana “helps tone the nerves, relieves stiffness in the neck and shoulders, expands the rib cage and lungs, hence, breathing and lung capacity is improved.”