Asthma – Causes, Treatment, Yoga for Asthma
The presence of mucous in nasal passageways gives rise to wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath which is called asthma. Asthma signs and symptoms ranges from minor to severe. Symptoms include:
(a)Shortness of breath.
(b)Chest tightness or pain.
(c)Trouble in sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing
(d)A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling.
Causes of Asthma:
Asthma is caused due to combination of environmental factors and genetic factors. The causes for asthma can include:
(a)Airborne allergens such as pollen, animal dander, cockroaches and dust mites
(b)Respiratory infections such as common cold.
(c)Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma).
(d)Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke.
(f)Strong emotions and stress.
Treatment of Asthma:
To stop asthma attacks before they start prevention is the long term control. Treatment usually involves learning to recognize your triggers, taking steps to avoid them and tracking your breathing to make sure your daily dosage of medication is keeping symptoms under control. Use a quick relief inhaler such as albuterol in case of severe asthma.
Yoga for Asthma
We will present asanas (postures), kriya (cleansing technique) and pranayama (breathing techniques) that strengthen, stretch and relax the body physically and re-balance internal systems at a deeper level. We will begin with asanas that will focus on increasing capacity of the lungs and relaxing the chest muscles which contract and remain tense during and after asthma attacks.
Caution: Those with high blood pressure or heart ailments should not hold their breath. Those with cervical spondlytis should keep their chin up and not press it downwards.
1. Singhasana: The technique is as follows:
(a)Sit in Padmasana, or any comfortable posture, with your back straight. Keep your palms resting on your knees and fingers facing outwards.
(b)Breathe, sucking the breath in through clenched teeth.
(c)Exhale forcibly making a ‘hah’ sound while taking the tongue out towards the chin. Spread the fingers out and open the eyes wide.
2. Ardha Chakrasana: The technique is as follows:
(a)Stand straight, feet together, arms by your side.
(b)Raise your right arm up to shoulder level.
(c)Turn palm upwards, raise your right hand over the head and stretch it upwards.
(d)Exhale and bend body to the left side.
(e)Inhale and come back to the standing posture.
(f)Repeat with the other side.
The above mentioned exercise helps in curing asthma, as the capacity of the lung gets enhanced when you bend to the side and the other lung gets closed. Shifting the load of the two lungs to one, clears the blockages in the lungs, thus improving the functional capacity of the breathing system.
Pranayama is a breathing technique that helps strengthen your lungs, nervous system, and also relaxes the body and mind. For desired results, both kriya and pranayama need to be done regularly.
Caution: Those with high blood pressure, gynaecological problems, stomach ailments or who have undergone a surgery, should consult their doctor before doing the first two exercises.
3. Kapalbhati Kriya: The technique is as follows:
(a)Sit in Vajrasana, or any other comfortable posture, with your back straight. Close your eyes.
(b)Exhale forcefully and rapidly through the nose.You will inhale automatically.
(c)Try to do at least 50 exhalations.
4. Bhramri Pranayama: The technique is as follows:
(a)Close your eyes and inhale deeply as you count 1 to 5.
(b)Hold your breath, press chin down on jugular notch (mid-point of the two collar bones under the chin).
(c)Raise chin up four fingers above the jugular notch and make a humming sound, from your throat, like a bee. Slowly exhale as you hum.
(d)Listen to the sound vibrations as they travel up and spread through the head.
(e)Repeat three times.
5. Bhastrika Pranayama: The technique is as follows:
(a)Bend arms at waist, elbows close to the body. Make fists.
(b)Raise both fists up, a bit higher than head, keep elbows close too body.
(c)Exhale forcefully through mouth (cheeks puffed out) as you pull arms down, taking elbows behind the waist.
(d)Repeat 20 times.
(e)Inhale deeply and slowly.