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Understanding the role of yoga in increasing lung capacity, respiratory health, and handling asthma

Yoga asanas and techniques are well-known for their ability to reduce stress and improve lung efficiency, making them stronger and more resilient. Alongside asanas, pranayama or breathing exercises in Yoga, such as Bhastrika pranayama, Anulom Vilom pranayama, and Kapal Bhati, can strengthen lung capacity and clear airways and nasal passages, aiding in the healing of respiratory issues like bronchitis. The early morning, at the crack of dawn, is considered the ideal time to practice yoga as it keeps you active, energetic, positive, and focused for the rest of the day.

Yogic Warm-up:

To prepare your body for the practice and prevent injuries, begin with Sukshma Vyayam or subtle exercises. These exercises involve gentle rotations of the neck, arms, wrists, hips, and ankles, gradually warming up the joints. Engage in brisk walking, and stretch and mobilize your muscles. This warm-up routine will effectively prepare your body for the practice and protect you from any practice-related injuries. It is crucial to warm up sufficiently before attempting any back-bending poses.

Yoga Poses:

Hastha Uthanasana (Hand-Raising Pose):

thumbnail_Hastha Utanasana

· Start by standing straight in Samasthithi.

· Raise your arms over your head and stretch upward, ensuring that your palms face each other.

· Keep your head between your arms and gently bend backward.

· Keep your knees straight, and keep your eyes open.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose):


· Begin by lying down on your stomach.

· Bend your knees and hold your ankles with your palms, maintaining a strong grip.

· Lift your legs and arms as high as you can while looking up.

· Hold the posture for a while.

Ustrasana (Camel Pose):


· Kneel on the yoga mat and place your hands on your hips.

· Arch your back and slide your palms over your feet until your arms are straight.

· Avoid straining or flexing your neck; instead, keep it in a neutral position.

· Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths, then breathe out and slowly return to the initial pose, bringing your hands back to your hips as you straighten up.

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose):


· Begin in Padahasathasana.

· Extend your left leg back, drop your knee, and extend your toes outward.

· Stretch your arms over your head and look upward.

· Ensure that your right knee is aligned with your ankle.

· Bend your upper body backward, forming an arch resembling half a moon.

· Hold the pose for a while, then repeat the same with the other leg.

Chakrasana (Wheel Pose):


· Lie down on your back and fold your legs at the knees, placing your feet firmly on the floor.

· Bend your arms at the elbows, with your palms facing the sky.

· Rotate your arms at the shoulders and place your palms on the floor on either side beside your head.

· Inhale, exert pressure on your palms and legs, and lift your entire body up to form an arch.

· Relax your neck and allow your head to gently fall behind.

In addition to these yoga poses, lung cleansing techniques involving asanas and breathing exercises can aid in dislodging mucus from the lungs and airways. Ayurveda suggests drinking hot water with turmeric, honey, and ginger for better lung health. Steam therapy can also be beneficial for individuals suffering from bronchitis or chronic respiratory conditions.

By incorporating these yoga poses and techniques into your routine, along with implementing Ayurvedic recommendations, you can support the healing and strengthening of your lungs, promoting better respiratory health and overall well-being.

(This article has been written by Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, Founder Akshar Yoga Institutions, Yoga and Spiritual Leader)

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