Alleviate Respiratory Issues With This Lung-Expanding Yoga Practice
Alleviate your respiratory challenges with this gentle yoga practice that helps you expand your lungs.
A comical story in the Chandogya Upanishad, a sacred text dating back to 800 BC, depicts the senses as having a dispute about who among them is the most important. The ear left for a period of time, and upon its return, asked the others how they managed without him. Then the eye departed, and one by one, each of the senses left and came back asking this question. But when the breath gets ready to leave, all of them “come to their senses” immediately and concur that the breath is indeed most essential.
How true! Breathing easily is something we take for granted until, for whatever reason, our breath becomes laboured. As we move into our Zoomer years, many of us are challenged with breathing disoders such as COPD, asthma, allergies, etc.
How Yoga Helps
Yoga is a tremendous help for all respiritory challenges, because it helps us relax, and in so doing, we are releasing the main muscles of breathing, the diaphragm and the intercostals muscles in between the ribs.
The breath is a key component in a Gentle Yoga practice. In our asana practice, we engage our awareness of the breath while the poses help us expand the lungs, increasing our intake of oxygen. We are bringing breath down into the deepest parts of the lungs, where we find the highest density of air sacs which exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. In many poses we are lengthening and extending the spine, opening the front of the body, and creating more room for the lungs to expand fully.
We use various breath practices (pranayama) to bring awareness and healing energy into any area of the body that requires prana, or life-force.
When we meditate, we often use the breath as the focus of our awareness. We may be counting the breaths to 10 and then beginning again, or we may be using the breath as a mindfulness tool, as an object of our concentration, watching where it goes and how it interacts with the body.