Ailments

Bronchial Asthma

asthma-bronchitis-yoga

Asthma – Types, Causes & Its Yogic Treatment  

Asthma is a disease of lower respiratory tract brought on by obstruction due to the parasympathetic nervous system being overactive, which in acute attacks, causes narrowing of the bronchioles and outpouring of excessive mucus into the lumen of the bronchioles.

Asthma Definition

Asthma can be defined as a respiratory condition marked by attacks of spasm in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing.

In a person with asthma, the inside walls of the airways, called bronchial tubes, become swollen. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways extremely sensitive to irritations and increases their susceptibility to an allergic reaction. In the allergic reaction, the airways swell, and the muscles around the airway tighten, causing difficulty for air to move in and out of the lungs.

 Causes of Asthma

  1. Emotional disturbances
  2. Allergy
  3. Heredity

Predisposing Factors Of Asthma

  1. Respiratory tract infection
  2. Exertion

Types of Asthma

Allergic Asthma

Allergic Asthma generally occurs in early age and especially in males. It is sudden in onset and may come at any time. It is associated with a feeling of tightness in the chest zone. The other symptoms include expiration becoming exhausting and the inspiration becoming short and gasping. Wheezing expiratory sound can be heard. Unproductive coughing occurs and the pulse become rapid.

Chronic Asthma

Chronic asthma occurs in the later stages of life and generally in females. The cause of this type may be hereditary. It is associated with continuous wheezing and breathlessness on exertion. A cough and recurrence of respiratory infection are other common features.

Yoga For Asthma

The yogic view of the cause of Asthma is that it is caused by emotional factors. Once the root cause, which results in a patient’s emotional stress, is removed, the disease is cured. This is a general and a primary statement. For the yogic treatment or yogic management of bronchial asthma, the following Yogic Kriyas can be adopted –

Shatkarma

Laghu Shankhpraskshlana

The practice of Laghu Shankhpraskshlana cleanses all the unwanted elements from the intestine and should be done under the guidance of a Yoga expert. This cleansing effect gives great relief to a patient suffering from Asthma.

Kunjal (Jal Dhouti) 

Depending on the patient’s age and strength, the practice of Jal Dhouti can be recommended once a week, thrice a fortnight and in some cases continuously for seven days. Kunjal also removes unwanted elements from the elementary canal, relieving the one greatly from Asthma.

Jal Neti

The practice of Jal Neti every day. Neti cleanses the nasal passage, releasing constricted upper airways and increasing the flow of breath. It should be done every day by an asthma patient.

The above three practices purify and detoxify the body and its internal systems. Imbalances in the body, which are due to irregular lifestyle, including irregularity in eating habits, are overcome with the detoxification of the body. The internal systems of the body are also regulated. The above three practices play a great role to balance the three ‘doshas’ or in the body: ‘Kapha’, the mucous; ‘Pitta’, the bile; and ‘Vata’, the wind. Both Ayurveda and Hatha Yoga says that imbalance in the above stated three doshas results in illness.

Yoga Asanas For Asthma

In general, all forward and backward bending asanas are useful for a patient suffering from asthma. The following Yoga Asanas can be best and tried by him –

Suryanamaskar

Surya Namaskar is said to be a complete sadhana and its benefits include the revitalization of the whole body as it exercises the entire body in twelve movements. All the twelve poses are basically a combination of forward and backward bends and make the best series for Asthma treatment.

Shashankasana

In Shashankasana, the adrenal glands are reactivated to secrete more adrenaline. The excess secretion of adrenaline hormone helps the asthmatic patient at the time of the asthmatic attack. The asana encourages deep inhalation and complete exhalation helping people suffering from asthma.

Paschimottanasana

It one of the most powerful abdominal exercises which massages and stimulates the abdominal viscera including adrenal gland, encouraging secretion of adrenaline. The asana is a forward bending asana and contracts the lungs allowing the practitioner with an increased flow of breath.

Sarvangasana

Sarvangasana is an inversion and is very good for people suffering from asthma and other respiratory problems.

Bhujangasana

The asana improves and deepens the breathing of the practitioner as it opens up the chest giving a stretching effect to the lungs, thus helping a patient of Asthma.

Dhanurasana

Dhanurassana also stretches the lungs and hence again deepens the breath of the practitioner and thus is very good asana for asthma treatment.

Chakrasana (Wheel Pose) 

Chakrasana too stretches the lungs and further stimulates and influences all the hormonal secretions including the one that of the adrenal gland. It is also a great asana for asthmatic patients.

Breathing Exercises For Asthma

Pranayama directly influences the respiratory centers of the brain. This result in patient gaining higher control over the movement of respiratory muscles and the pattern of thought, feeling and general behavior. This is fundamental in the Yogic management of asthma.

Kapal Bhati

Kapal Bhati has a cleansing effect on the lungs and is a good practice for respiratory disorders. How to do Kapal Bhati and to know further details, the post on Kapal Bhati will help – Kapal Bhati Pranayama (The Frontal Brain Cleansing Breath)

Ujjayi Pranayama

By the practice of Ujjayi, the efficiency of the lungs is enhanced. Respiratory tract and throat are freed from phlegm by the practice of Ujjayi Breathing. The complete detail of Ujjayi has been given in the post – Three Techniques Of Ujjayi Breath (Ocean or Psychic Breath) and its Benefits.

Bhastrika Pranayama 

Bhastrika involves forceful exhalation and abdominal movement, produces a strong current of expelled air, helping to expel bronchial secretions and strengthen the expiratory phase of the breathing cycle.

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

The practitioner gets a higher concentration, get rid of anxiety and stress, gets clarity of thoughts, and tranquility of mind. Details of the pranayama can be had in the post – Nadi Shodhana Pranayama – Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique and Benefits.

Meditation For Asthma

The deep state of relaxation achieved through meditation helps the body processes recuperate to their normal level of activity.

Yoga Nidra

Relaxation removes the tension in the respiratory muscles helping the patient of Asthma to breathe more efficiently. This is reflected in increased breath holding time.

Other important findings

Uddiyan bandh and some asanas push the abdominal wall inside so that the diaphragm rises further into the chest and helps the lungs to be empty efficiently.

If the above stated Yogic practices are incorporated into a daily lifestyle, the severity and frequency of asthma attacks diminish progressively and cure may possible in certain cases.

Doctors say that there is no cure for asthma. However, there are medical treatments that can prevent allergic reactions as well as treat asthma symptoms.

Doctors may also prescribe treatments to reduce airway irritation if a person experiences an asthma attack, and to prevent asthma symptoms and airway inflammation over the long term.

About the author

Mahendra Kumar Vyas

Mahendra Vyas, with parental home at Jodhpur and born to Late Shri Goverdhan Lal Vyas and Shrimati Sharda Vyas, did Civil Engineering from M.B.M.Engineering College, Jodhpur. Shifted to Mumbai after completing engineering and worked with Sanjay Narang's Mars Group and Aditya Birla Group. With an inclination to spirituality and service, joined the Yoga stream and became a part of Yoga Niketan, Goregaon (west) in 2002 and since then practicing and imparting Yoga knowledge at Yoga Niketan and different corporates.

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