Yoga for Healthy Lungs

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Yoga is one of the most effective techniques to maintain your lungs and body healthy. It places a strong value on breathing. Breath, also known as ‘prana,' is the life force or primary energy of life. It is the fundamental life energy that governs our existence. Yoga for healthy lungs can help us increase our life energy and improve our health. Even the ongoing pandemic (COVID-19)  has been linked to the respiratory system, particularly the lungs, emphasising the importance of pulmonary health for everyone in preventing and managing these illnesses. Although we are all familiar with Pranayama and anuloma viloma, which are controlled breathing techniques in Yoga, the actual control of breathing begins with Yoga Asanas, or postures. 

 

What is the importance of healthy lungs? 

You might not realise how important lung health is until you have a breathing problem. It is our lungs that take in air from the atmosphere and deliver oxygen into the bloodstream. It then circulates throughout the rest of the body. By eliminating carbon dioxide from your body, your lungs deliver oxygen and keep all of your other organs running smoothly. The health of your lungs can be affected by genetics, disease, and the environment, resulting in respiratory difficulties. In order to breathe effectively, structures outside of the lungs must assist. Abdominal, thoracic, and clavicular breathing is used in yoga for the lungs to help acquire control of the breath, correct breathing habits, and boost oxygen intake. Try these asanas to maintain the health and strength of your lungs.

1. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

  • Sit with your back straight and shoulders relaxed in a comfortable position.
  • Place your left hand on your left knee, palms facing up.
  • Between the brows, place the tip of the index and middle fingers of the right hand, the ring and little fingers on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb and slowly exhale through your left nose.
  • Inhale via the left nostril while keeping the right nostril closed, then gently press the left nostril with the ring and little fingers. Breathe out from the right nostril after removing the right thumb from the right nostril.
  • Inhale via your right nostril and exhale via your left.
  • Continue to inhale and exhale with alternate nostrils. 

Benefits of Nadi Shodhan Pranayama: Nadi shodhan pranayama can help the body relax by releasing stored stress. It has been shown to be effective in treating most respiratory issues and improving lung function in asthma sufferers. This is one of the greatest for those who have problems breathing.

2.  Kapalbhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breath)

  • Place your palms on your knees in Prapthi Mudra.
  • Sit in a steady and comfortable stance.
  • Straighten your back and close your eyes.
  • Inhale normally and concentrate on exhaling quickly, rhythmically and forcefully.
  • By squeezing your stomach, you may force all the air out of your diaphragm and lungs.
  • Inhalation should happen automatically as you decompress your stomach.
  • Try to do 100 rounds of this technique for the best results.

Benefits of Kapalbhati: The words kapal and bhati imply "to shine" and "skull”, giving it the alternate title ‘skull cleansing breath’. Kapalbhati pranayama breathing can help alleviate workplace strain, relationship stress, other problems, and anxiety by calming your thoughts, making it the best pranayama for sleep. One of the most notable advantages of Kapalbhati pranayama is that it is one of those yoga breathing exercises to strengthen the lungs that also increases your lung capacity.

3. Bhastrika Pranayama (Breath of Fire)

Source: Amar Ujala

  • On a yoga mat or blanket, sit in the Lotus pose.
  • Close your eyes for a moment.
  • Deeply inhale, completely filling your lungs with air.
  • Slowly count to five while inhaling.
  • Take a deep breath in and softly exhale.
  • Count gently until you reach 5, then exhale.
  • Follow these steps for a total of 20 minutes.

Benefits of bhastrika pranayama: This is one of the most effective yoga poses for pneumonia patients. This stance helps in reducing disease-related pains and anxieties. It not only clears the mind but also aids in the treatment of breathing problems. It has a positive effect on the respiratory system and helps in draining excess phlegm from the lungs. It also increases the vitality of all organs and tissues by oxygenating the blood.

4. Shashankasana (Rabbit Pose) 

Source: Health Ambition

  • Sit in Vajrasana.
  • Inhale and slowly raise both arms straight above your head, raising your abdomen and chest cavity while keeping your spine erect. 
  • Slowly exhale and bend forward while keeping your spine erect.
  • Allow your stomach to rest on your knees.
  • Above the head, one hand was stretched straight and rested on the floor.
  • While breathing normally, hold this position for a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • Exhale and slowly raise the forehead, arms to the vertical position, then lower the arms, palms on the thighs, to return to the starting position.
  • Perform three times, progressively increasing the duration.

Benefits of shashankasana: A great pranayama for relaxation, this pose relieves all stress and tension. Shashankasana breathing extends the rear region of the lungs, improves lung capacity, and relieves upper and lower back pain as well as spinal problems.

5. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Source: YogaClassPlan

  • Lie down on your stomach.
  • Bend your knees towards your hips and hold your ankles with your hands, this makes you form the position of a bow.
  • Lift your legs and arms as high as you can, make sure only your pelvic area and abdomen should be touching the ground. 
  • Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds and then relax with deep breaths. 
  • Repeat this about three to four times. 

Benefits of dhanurasana: This is one of the many yoga exercises to increase lung capacity as it expands your chest. All abdominal organs, as well as the ankle, chest, groins, and thighs, are strengthened with this pose. This is an asthma yoga exercise that can help people suffering from other respiratory problems. 

6. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Source: firstcry

  • Stand with your feet 2 inches apart and your back straight.
  • Deeply inhale and extend both arms over your head, interlocking fingers with palms facing up.
  • Slowly, raise your entire body upwards while lifting both heels.
  • Standing on your toes, balance your entire body.
  • Holding the stance for a few seconds while breathing properly in and out.
  • Exhale slowly as you lower your hands and heals.
  • Repeat this three to four times. 

Benefits of tadasana: This lung strengthening yoga technique stretches the rib cage and abdomen, filling the lungs with plenty of fresh oxygen. It improves posture and can help alleviate back discomfort if done regularly. The thighs, knees, ankles, tummy, and buttocks are all strengthened in this stance. This position improves the overall lungs' function because all of the alveoli in the lungs are filled with additional oxygen.

7. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) 

  • Place your legs three feet apart and stand straight.
  • Put your right foot at a 90-degree angle and your left foot at a 15-degree angle.
  • Align the center of your right heel with the arch of your left foot's arch.
  • Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground and that your body weight is evenly distributed between both feet.
  • Take a deep inhale and, as you exhale, bend your body to the right from below your hips, lift your left hand to the sky, and place your right hand on the ground. 
  • Make sure you have a straight line with both arms.
  • Depending on your comfort, place your right hand on your shin, ankle, or outside the right foot on the floor.
  • Your body must be twisted to the side and make sure your chest and pelvis are completely exposed.
  • Stretch to your limit and concentrate on body stabilisation.
  • Take a deep breath and rise. Straighten your feet and drop your arms to your sides.
  • Carry on with the left leg in the same manner.

Benefits of trikonasana: It is a basic yoga stance that has both physical and mental health benefits. This is one of the yoga poses for chest congestion as it facilitates the passage of air to the lungs and aids in the opening and expansion of the chest cavity. The twisting of the body in Trikonasana massages the internal organs, improving their ability to eliminate toxins and ensuring appropriate functioning.

8. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

  • Place your head on the ground while lying flat on your stomach. 
  • Both hands should be on either side of your shoulders. 
  • Slowly raise your body from the torso by pressing your palms together and stretching your back and belly muscles. 
  • Keep your arms straight and your shoulder blades firmly towards your back. 
  • Focus on a point on the ceiling and hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Exhale and return to the beginning position.

Benefits of bhujangasana: It improves lung capacity by expanding the chest and lungs. The bhujangasana breathing technique enhances mental serenity while also strengthening the mind and stretching the chest and lungs. It also relieves sciatica pain, strengthens the spine, and relieves asthmatic symptoms.

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