Fire Life

Yoga for Asthma

By Claire Diab and Dennis Boyle

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder that results in symptoms of wheezing, shortness of breath, a feeling of tightness in and around the chest area, or coughing. Asthmatics have described an asthma attack as being similar to the feeling of suffocation. No cure exists for asthma; however, certain activities or medications can help relieve the symptoms. Yoga is one of these remedies and can be used to strengthen the lungs.

A common misconception is that yoga is simply about moving the body, when in reality it is about learning how to breathe fully and deeply. Dr. Russell A. Faust said, “Yoga helps increase flexibility of thoracic respiration and increases lung capacity.”

The triangle pose focuses on opening the chest and is great for people who have asthma.

 

TRIANGLE POSE INSTRUCTIONS:

Start with your legs more than hip-width apart and your arms straight out to the side parallel to the floor. Exhale and bring the right arm toward the floor, placing it on the thigh, with your left arm reaching up toward the ceiling (avoid locking the knees). Gaze toward your left arm, breathe deep for 2-4 breaths, and slowly come back to center, feet apart, arms parallel to the floor. Repeat posture on the opposite side–return to center, repeat each side 2-4 times.

   

 

Benefits:

  • Rejuvenates spinal nerves, veins, and tissues.
  • Invigorates the whole body.
  • Aids digestion, respiration, and circulation.
  • Energizes and decongests the nervous system.
  • Strengthens the chest, back, arms, feet, neck, shoulders, and joints. 

 

Contraindications:

Do not perform this yoga position if you have the following:

  • Cardiac condition
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • High blood pressure

 

Claire Diab is an internationally recognized Yoga therapist. She is the director of the Yoga Program for the Chopra Center founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon. She is an adjunct professor of Asian Studies at Seton Hall University. She is the author of several books and DVDs on Yoga including “Yoga For Firefighters.”

 

Dennis Boyle is a retired fire director and acting chief with the West Orange (NJ) Fire Department. He was the recipient of the 1999 New Jersey Deputy Fire Chiefs “Fire Officer of the Year” award.