Of the many alternative natural remedies that can be used to minimize asthma symptoms, yoga has gained considerable popularity and emerged as a promising complementary treatment for asthma, which afflicts both adults and children.
About 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Backention.
Asthma is an inflammatory disease in which the airways become narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This leads to breathing difficulties and triggers symptoms like coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath.
These symptoms vary from person to person and range from minor to serious and even life-threatening in severity.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma. However, there are many effective treatments that can reduce asthma symptoms and improve your quality of life. When it comes to alternative therapies, the age-old science of yoga has proven to be quite effective in mitigating the debilitating effects of asthma.
This is no surprise, given the fact that yoga derives much of its therapeutic efficacy from the facilitation of proper breathing and building the capacity of the lungs.
Several studies stand to attest the numerous respiratory benefits of yoga. For instance, a 2009 study published in the International Journal of Yoga reports that breathing exercises (pranayama), mainly expiratory exercises, help improve lung functioning and should be a regular part of asthma treatment.
In the same vein, another 2010 study published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Science reports that yoga exercise among asthmatic patients resulted in a reduced frequency of daytime and nightly attacks as well as a decreased use of drugs. It also shows significant improvement in the peak expiratory flow rate. However, the study also pointed to the need for further large-scale research to conclusively establish these effects.
Furthermore, a 2016 study published in the Cochrane Library suggests that yoga may have a beneficial effect on the symptoms and quality of life of people with asthma, but the effects on lung functioning and medication use are still uncertain.
Thus, yoga has emerged as a cost-effective, convenient, and completely safe technique for the management and alleviation of asthma symptoms as it helps de-stress your chest muscles, facilitates mucus depletion from your lungs, promotes centered breathing, and helps you gain better control over your nervous reflexes.
It is, however, important to bear in mind that asthma medication is indispensable for the treatment of this life-jeopardizing condition, and thus yoga alone cannot be entrusted with the responsibility of combating this problem.
Here are some of the yoga poses you can do for asthma relief.
This simple yoga pose is best suited for meditation for both beginners as well as advanced practitioners. By focusing on breathing and stress control, this relaxing pose works to provide natural asthma relief and improve lung function.
For optimal results, practice this yoga pose in the morning.
Beautiful to look at, this particular pose requires the body to form a bridge-like structure. The bridge pose is also very effective for asthma patients as it helps open up the chest and lungs. It is further credited with a number of merits, including keeping a check on your thyroid gland, improving your digestion, strengthening your bones, and boosting your immunity.
If these weren’t enough, the bridge pose also builds up and relieves tired muscles, thus inducing a feeling of relaxation throughout the body.
This stimulating backbend pose got its name from its resemblance with the raised head of a cobra. Often recommended for asthma patients, this pose also figures as part of the sequence of yoga postures in Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation.
The cobra pose helps ease asthma symptoms by improving oxygen and blood circulation throughout the body, as well as by expanding the chest and lungs.
This is another very relaxing yoga pose that will stretch your body and bring asthma relief. It works by stimulating the heart and thereby improving circulation in the entire body, including the lungs. Furthermore, the butterfly pose is an excellent fatigue reliever as well.
Practice this pose to culminate your yoga session. It is recommended for asthma relief because of the breath and stress management it provides. This pose brings the body into a meditative state, helps reduce anxiety and stress, and thus rejuvenates the entire body. A calm and relaxed body is one of the keys to preventing asthma attacks.
Some other yoga poses suitable for asthma patients are:
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