When dealing with asthma, it might be hard to find a way to stay active. While exercise does decrease asthma symptoms and improve lung health, some aerobic workouts can trigger and make your asthma worse. That’s why it’s important to choose the right kind of workout at the right intensity.
Exercising has two benefits for those who have asthma. It reduces the inflammation of the airways which are usually swollen due to the condition. It also increases your lung capacity, so you can take in more oxygen with each breath. This will give your body an easier time getting the oxygen it needs.
Although Yoga cannot be a treatment for asthma, it can supplement an existing therapy. A study by the National Library of Medicine showed that breath work, asanas and meditation in Yoga can improve asthma symptoms.
With Vinyasa yoga, you can develop control over your breathing as well as reduce your stress levels. The key is to focus on relaxing poses that open up your chest and let you breathe deeper. Scroll below to see some of the poses you can try at home!
You may either sit up or lay down but keep one hand on your stomach. Inhale for slow counts of three and feel the air filling up your belly. Make sure to keep your chest still and let your diaphragm fill up with air. Then exhale for six slow counts.
In a sitting position, place both soles of your feet together before you. Clasp your toes in your joined hands and if you can, lean forward slightly. Move your legs in a flapping motion as you breathe in and out for five counts.
Lay down flat on your mat with your arms at the sides and palms open. Close your eyes and release the tension from your jaw and let yourself relax. Focus on your breathing, maintaining a steady rhythm as you relax the rest of your body. You may stay in this pose for five to ten minutes.
Lay on your back but this time, bend your knees. Your feet should be flat on the floor, with your arms on either side of you. Then lift your hips. As you do, keep your core engaged and make sure you align your feet such that it’s directly under your knees. While lifting, make sure your shoulders are pulled back and your chest is kept open. Take a deep breath and slowly lower back down.
Supine Spinal Twist
While lying on the ground, stretch your arms out on either side of you like a T. As you inhale, draw your right knee to the chest. Exhale and cross your knee over to the left side of your body, feeling a stretch along your right side. Turn your head to the right to feel a stretch for your neck and shoulders. Hold this pose as long as it feels good for you. Afterward, release the pose then switch sides.
Turn over to your stomach and lay flat on the floor. Place your hands underneath your shoulders and keep your legs straight, hip-distance apart. Push yourself up while keeping your pelvis pressed to the floor, and turn your face slightly towards the ceiling. Keep your chest open and roll your shoulders back as you take deep breaths.
The cat-cow combines two poses.
First, the cat pose begins on your hands and knees. Align your body such that your hands are underneath your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. When you exhale, round your back and draw your belly button to your spine and your gaze inward to your navel.
Upon exhale, do the cow pose. Arch your back and look up, opening up your chest and elongating the neck.
In a plank position, step your leg forward and plant your foot between your hands. Lower the back knee to the mat. As you inhale, lift your torso and extend your arms as you stretch backward. As you look up to the ceiling, make sure to open up your chest. Stay in the pose for a few breaths. To release the pose, slowly lean forward and place both hands firmly on the ground for balance. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.
Seated Spinal Twist
When you are seated on a chair, keep your spine straight and make sure both feet touch the ground. Twist your torso to the right and place your right hand on your left knee. Feel the stretch at your lower back as you breathe deeper into the stretch.
In a standing position, keep feet hip-width apart. Pull your belly button to your spine and extend both arms on either side of you. Bend to the right and feel a stretch at the opposite side of your body. You can close your eyes or look up to the ceiling. Breathe in and out slowly and when ready to release, gently lift yourself until you are upright. Repeat the same motion on the other side.
Yoga is a great way to stay active for those who have asthma as it is low impact with plenty of respiratory benefits. Through Vinyasa yoga poses and meditation, you can learn how to reduce your anxiety and stress as well as learn how to control your breath. You can also ask any yoga studio within your community about the yoga classes that will fit your needs.