Get Relief from COPD with Yoga & Pranayama

By Patricia | January 5, 2009
Yoga For COPD Effects

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious lung disease and there isn’t any permanent cure for this. Emphysema, chronic asthma and chronic bronchitis are categorized under COPD. Many times, one disease leads to the other, making the condition extremely serious. The symptoms of COPD include excessive mucus, chronic cough, bronchitis and breathlessness. These, over the years, obstruct the airflow.

Yoga For COPD: While there isn’t any cure for COPD, yoga postures and pranayama techniques can provide relief to COPD patients. Certain breathing patterns, stretches, spinal exercises and diaphragm breathing help to develop the breathing muscles and the muscles of the body. Yoga also calms and soothes the body as well as the mind; thus, helping COPD patients to cope with the increased stress and anxiety that the disease causes. Yoga relaxes, soothes and stabilizes as well as increases exercise tolerance. Breath retaining exercises help people to help themselves during the times when they become breathless and face respiration problems.

Belly Breathing Exercises: In belly breathing, when you inhale, you let the abdomen expand and when you exhale, you press your belly in. The focus while breathing in should be on the expanding abdomen and lower ribs.

Pursed-Lip Breathing Exercises: Breathlessness can be controlled through pursed-lip breathing. This technique is done by leaning forward and blowing out through pursed lips. For this you can breathe in through your nose and exhale through your lips. This technique works the abdomen muscles.

Diaphragm Breathing Exercises: This exercise helps to cope with breathing problems that you experience while lying down. For this you need to lie down on your back with a bag of rice or a heavy book on your abdomen and practice diaphragm breathing.

Yoga Asanas To Cope With COPD: It s advisable to work with a yoga expert to work out a yoga program to help you with your breathing problems. The right set of postures will help you in every way – improve your breathing, work on your body posture, strengthen your muscles and make you healthier.

  • You may want to breathe in and breathe out continuously as you do your postures.
  • Forward bends are good for strengthening the expiratory muscles.
  • Back bends that are done while standing open up the chest muscles.
  • Mountain pose or Tadasana helps to open up the chest.
  • The Warrior I pose strengthens the breathing muscles.
  • Standing side bends strengthen and improve the flexibility of the rib cage. It also helps in diaphragm breathing.
  • The Cat pose and Cobra posture improve the respiratory muscles and help with breathing.
  • While yoga is beneficial for COPD, it is a must to consult a doctor and work with a yoga expert.
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