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Combat Asthma With Yoga

Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways, which involves a severe narrowing of the bronchial tubes (bronchi). These tubes lead from the windpipe called the trachea into the lungs and carry the oxygen we breathe in to all parts of the lungs and provide a path for the carbon dioxide to escape up the trachea when we breathe out. This narrowing of the bronchi causes attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. Many things trigger asthma. The main amongst those are stress, anxiety, allergies, sed­entary life style and genetics.


Our respiratory system is the system we use to breathe. It supplies the blood with oxygen to all parts of the body through breathing. It is divided into the upper and lower respiratory tracts. The upper respiratory tract includes the nose or nostrils, nasal cavity, mouth, throat (pharynx), and voice box (larynx). The lower respiratory tract include the windpipe (trachea) and within the lungs, the bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle, which is located below the lungs, is the major muscle of respiration. Upon inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and creates a vacuum, which pulls air into the lungs. Upon exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes and air is forced out of the lungs. The intercostals (between the ribs) and abdominal muscles are other important respiratory muscles


Asthma is not a permanent disease. It can be cured by self-management. If you include Yogasanas, Pranayamas, Relaxation techniques & Shuddhi Kriyas in your daily life, you’ll have corrective, curative and strengthening effects on the condition of the lungs and the bronchial linings as these increase the lung’s airflow, air capacity, stamina and efficiency & balance the immune system.


Suryanamaskara, Matsyasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Ushtrasana & Shavasana are some of the Yoga poses that keep Asthma in check. By practicing these Asanas lungs become wider, thereby the bronchial tubes, breathing system and air vessels gain more capacity and become active. Below is a technique for Shavasna.


Gently lie down on your back in Shavasana posture, keep the legs apart about three to four inches, turn the toes in the outer direction, arms are a little away from the body, palms up. Close the eyes & keep the whole body relaxed.

Begin by listening to the heartbeats, remain a witness of the surrounding atmosphere and finally remain a witness only of the breath, which you inhale and exhale. Witness its speed and condi­tion. Try not to be hasty at all and inhale as well as exhale very gradually. Be as slow as possible in your exhalation and inhalation. Now begin to deepen your breath consciously. While inhaling let the abdomen rise to its limit and while exhaling let it fall completely. Notice each breath. Practice 27 times. One inhalation & one exhalation is counted as one time. After that just visualize your whole body becoming healthy, happy, relaxed & you will feel peace all around. Whenever you feel like, turn to left side & sit up as slow as possible.


Pranayama does the internal purification. Asthma is defined as shortness of breath but by consistent practice of Pranayama, you can lengthen the breath, & relax the chest muscles, which contract and remain tense during and after asthma attacks. Not only that, you can reduce the intensity of attacks as well as decrease medication. Ujjai, Kapalbhatti, Bhastrika, Omkar,Anulome- Vilome are some of the breathing exercises that could ease you during an attack.


  • By chanting of Omkar, circulation of blood increases thereby increasing the capacity of lungs. One can chant Omkar any time for 5 -15 minutes. It has no side effects.
  • By the practice of Ujjai Pranayama, breathing capacity is increased right from entry to the mouth, down to the breathing pipe till it subdivides on both sides in both lungs. Ujjai Pranayama is like doing gargle with salt and hot water for the sore throat. Do twenty repetitions of Ujjai Pranayama, 3 to 4 times in a day & it will make us free of the disease.
  • Kapalbhati is not a Pranayama but it is a process ( Kriya ). This process is meant only for the cleaning of the body and hence its efficacy is wonderful. Whenever the proportion of esnophils count increases in the blood, Ujjai and Kapalbhati help the patient in a wonderful manner.
  • Bhastrika Pranayama increases the working capacity of lungs and provides energy to a great extent. Complete system, starting from the nose, complete trachea and deep upto the end of lungs right upto diaphragm becomes stronger & diseaseless. To start with, you can begin with breathing in and breathing out 20 to 40 times. Gradually you can increase and take it to 150 to 200 breaths at a time.
  • Anulome-Vilome brings relaxation & balance in the flow of the breath.


Jalaneti, Sutraneti and Kunjal Kriyas are for cleanliness and efficiency of the passages of the nose, of the upper digestive system (pharynx, esophagus, stomach) as well as the respiratory system (pharynx, trachea, bronchi). The act of contractions opens up the thorax area and improves the blood supply to the entire stomach area as well as the upper respiratory tract.

Have light & easily digestible diet. Avoid milk, milk products, rice, curd, banana, sour fruits & fried items. Avoid cold drinks & sudden exposure to cold weather. Drink warm water instead of tea & coffee. The evening meals should be taken at least two hours before going to bed.

NOTE: If you are not sure about the techniques of Yogasanas, Pranayamas & Kriyas, please practise under an expert

Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti


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