If you’ve ever experienced asthma or know a relative or friend who suffers from the same, you’ll be completely aware of just how much pain and discomfort it can cause. That is quite understandable, given the fact that it directly affects the ability to breathe. Can you imagine what it can do to a person? Not being able to breathe well-enough? How disturbing and scary the experience must be of strained breathing? If you aren’t already aware, asthma is a condition that results in the narrowing and inflammation of the airway of the lungs, giving rise to several symptoms like shortness of breath, strained breathing because of tightness in the chest, coughing – which can get violent at times, wheezing sounds while breathing and a general feeling of swelling and soreness in the lungs. While this condition can be brought under control by using medication, there are certain specialized breathing exercises that can be brought into action. In this following section we will take a look at some of these exercises and understand how to undertake them.
Asthma as a condition is not restricted to a particular age. It can even be diagnosed in early childhood and affect the very quality of life. In that direction, it helps to have certain exercises handy that help control asthma. There are several exercises that help in the treatment of this condition.
These include yoga (which focuses on several relaxation techniques that combine exercise and breathing), Buteyko (which focuses on breathing solely through the nose and prevents hyperventilation in patients during an asthma attack) and the Papworth method (which focuses on the depth of breath). While the Papworth method and the Buteyko method need to be studied through a class, there are several such yoga poses and breathing techniques that can be practiced by oneself, given how simple and easy they are to follow.
P.S. – This in no way means that one should not learn under a professional trainer. It only means that there are certain simple exercises which can benefit this condition and which can be undertaken without professional help.
- Sit on the edge of a chair, bend your knees at a 90 degree angle and place your feet firmly on the ground.
- Make sure your back is erect.
- Take your arms behind you, holding the back of the chair.
- Breathe deeply so that your chest expands fully.
- Concentrate on this action and expand the chest, spreading it out as much as you can.
- Now lean back into the chair with your head resting as far back as possible (Make sure the neck is not strained)
- Continue breathing deeply.
Dirgha Pranayama (Deep Breathing)
- Sit on a comfortable chair and make sure that your back and spine are absolutely straight.
- Take deep and long breaths through your nose.
- Concentrate on how you’re breathing. The air should completely fill the stomach and extend it. Feel it traveling to the lowest chambers of the lungs.
- Exhale and feel your stomach deflate.
- Continue doing this a couple of times.
- Now inhale deeply again and feel the air filling the middle portion of the lungs.
- Do this a couple of times. Then exhale.
- Then take in the last portion of breathing. Inhale deeply and notice the air fill the upper most section of the lungs. Carry through in the same way and breathe deeply a couple of times, then exhale.
- Try to find a balance by using all three steps such that they form one continuous breathing flow.
- Take a stiff bolster and place it on the floor.
- Next, sit on the edge of the bolster and slowly lower your butt to the ground.
- Now push back and rest your back completely on the bolster.
- Place your hands on the sides, facing the ceiling.
- You’ll notice that your chest has opened up completely.
- Concentrate on your breathing. Inhale and exhale deeply, each time concentrating on the way you breathe and how your stomach expands and deflates.
- Sit on the floor and place a chair in front of you. Then let your arms, head and the chest rest on the seat of the chair.
- Inhale deeply and let your head fall back.
- Then exhale just as deeply and bring your head forward.
- Repeat this exercise 5 times.
These were some of the breathing exercises that can be used by asthma patients to improve their breathing styles and techniques. Try to inculcate these exercises in your daily routine and you’ll notice that over time, your lung capacity has increased and that the asthma attacks don’t come as easily or as severely.