Combat Asthma With Yoga
BY DR RITA KHANNA
Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways, which involves a severe narrowing of the bronchial tubes (bronchi). These tubes lead from the windpipe called the trachea into the lungs and carry the oxygen we breathe in to all parts of the lungs and provide a path for the carbon dioxide to escape up the trachea when we breathe out. This narrowing of the bronchi causes attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. Many things trigger asthma. The main amongst those are stress, anxiety, allergies, sedentary life style and genetics.
Our respiratory system is the system we use to breathe. It supplies the blood with oxygen to all parts of the body through breathing. It is divided into the upper and lower respiratory tracts. The upper respiratory tract includes the nose or nostrils, nasal cavity, mouth, throat (pharynx), and voice box (larynx). The lower respiratory tract include the windpipe (trachea) and within the lungs, the bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle, which is located below the lungs, is the major muscle of respiration. Upon inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and creates a vacuum, which pulls air into the lungs. Upon exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes and air is forced out of the lungs. The intercostals (between the ribs) and abdominal muscles are other important respiratory muscles
Asthma is not a permanent disease. It can be cured by self-management. If you include Yogasanas, Pranayamas, Relaxation techniques & Shuddhi Kriyas in your daily life, you’ll have corrective, curative and strengthening effects on the condition of the lungs and the bronchial linings as these increase the lung’s airflow, air capacity, stamina and efficiency & balance the immune system.
Suryanamaskara, Matsyasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Ushtrasana & Shavasana are some of the Yoga poses that keep Asthma in check. By practicing these Asanas lungs become wider, thereby the bronchial tubes, breathing system and air vessels gain more capacity and become active. Below is a technique for Shavasana.
Gently lie down on your back in Shavasana posture, keep the legs apart about three to four inches, turn the toes in the outer direction, arms are a little away from the body, palms up. Close the eyes & keep the whole body relaxed.
Begin by listening to the heartbeats, remain a witness of the surrounding atmosphere and finally remain a witness only of the breath, which you inhale and exhale. Witness its speed and condi tion. Try not to be hasty at all and inhale as well as exhale very gradually. Be as slow as possible in your exhalation and inhalation. Now begin to deepen your breath consciously. While inhaling let the abdomen rise to its limit and while exhaling let it fall completely. Notice each breath. Practice 27 times. One inhalation & one exhalation is counted as one time. After that just visualize your whole body becoming healthy, happy, relaxed & you will feel peace all around. Whenever you feel like, turn to left side & sit up as slow as possible.
Pranayama does the internal purification. Asthma is defined as shortness of breath but by consistent practice of Pranayama, you can lengthen the breath, & relax the chest muscles, which contract and remain tense during and after asthma attacks. Not only that, you can reduce the intensity of attacks as well as decrease medication. Ujjai, Kapalbhatti, Bhastrika, Omkar, Anulome – Vilome are some of the breathing exercises that could ease you during an attack.
Benefits Of Pranayama
- By chanting of Omkar, circulation of blood increases thereby increasing the capacity of lungs. One can chant Omkar any time for 5 -15 minutes. It has no side effects.
- By the practice of Ujjai Pranayama, breathing capacity is increased right from entry to the mouth, down to the breathing pipe till it subdivides on both sides in both lungs. Ujjai Pranayama is like doing gargle with salt and hot water for the sore throat. Do twenty repetitions of Ujjai Pranayama, 3 to 4 times in a day & it will make us free of the disease.
- Kapalbhati is not a Pranayama but it is a process ( Kriya ). This process is meant only for the cleaning of the body and hence its efficacy is wonderful. Whenever the proportion of esnophils count increases in the blood, Ujjai and Kapalbhati help the patient in a wonderful manner.
- Bhastrika Pranayama increases the working capacity of lungs and provides energy to a great extent. Complete system, starting from the nose, complete trachea and deep upto the end of lungs right upto diaphragm becomes stronger & diseaseless. To start with, you can begin with breathing in and breathing out 20 to 40 times. Gradually you can increase and take it to 150 to 200 breaths at a time.
- Anulome-Vilome brings relaxation & balance in the flow of the breath.
Jalaneti, Sutraneti and Kunjal Kriyas are for cleanliness and efficiency of the passages of the nose, of the upper digestive system (pharynx, esophagus, stomach) as well as the respiratory system (pharynx, trachea, bronchi). The act of contractions opens up the thorax area and improves the blood supply to the entire stomach area as well as the upper respiratory tract.
Have light & easily digestible diet. Avoid milk, milk products, rice, curd, banana, sour fruits & fried items. Avoid cold drinks & sudden exposure to cold weather. Drink warm water instead of tea & coffee. The evening meals should be taken at least two hours before going to bed.
NOTE: If you are not sure about the techniques of Yogasanas, Pranayamas & Kriyas, please practise under an expert
In case of any query, contact:
Dr Rita Khanna
Mobile: 09849772485 Ph:-040-65173344
Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into his discipline over two decades ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh.
She believes firmly that Yoga is a scientific process, which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succour to several chronic and terminally ill patients.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is teaching Yoga in Secunderabad. She has been treating and curing various diseases and disorders through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy and has been achieving tremendous satisfaction in disseminating this virtue.
Teaching Hatha Yoga – How to Teach Students about Non-judgment
BY DR. PAUL JERARD, E-RYT 500
Recently, I received an enlightening phone call from a website visitor who had a few suggestions about changing my appearance. It seems we cannot all live up to our own expectations, or those expectations that are imposed upon us. The following is part of a conversation about Yoga, Santosha, and judging others.
Q: Why do you dress in western sports casual clothing? You do not look like an authentic Yogi. Orange or white robes would be more appropriate for a “true Yoga teacher.” Your usual clothes make you look like a gym teacher or a greedy businessman.
A: Firstly, I am an American just like you and was raised as a child within this culture. Although I will continue to study Yoga’s many facets, and Eastern martial arts for life, my identity is still somewhat culturally based. Therefore, I will not be changing wardrobes any time soon. However, I had a question for you – “How many years have you been studying Yoga?”
Q: You’re very clever trying to answer a question with a question. I have been practicing Yoga for over ten years. So, what does the number of years I practiced Yoga have to do with anything?
A: I was curious to know, in your ten years of practice, if any of your past Yoga teachers had taught you about a specific Niyama, which is called, “Santosha.” Do you know the meaning of Santosha, and how we can apply it toward our daily life?
Q: I am the one asking the questions, and I don’t see what this has to do with anything. No, I have never heard of Santosha or Niyama, but I suppose you want to tell me all about it. So, what is Santosha, and what does it have to do with this conversation?
A: Niyama or Niyamas are a fundamental part of any foundational Hatha Yoga training program. Among the Niyamas, mentioned by Maharishi Patanjali, within the Yoga Sutras is Santosha. Santosha is a state of contentment and non-judgment.
In Yoga, we learn how to appreciate what we have, which will result in happiness (sukha). Non-judgment will also bring about states of inner harmony, contentment, joy, and bliss. We can enjoy life so much by carrying Yoga out into our daily lives.
Shortly afterward, the phone line went dead, but I had hoped to convince her to research Yama and Niyama, as described by Maharishi Patanjali. Also, I hoped she would appreciate what Yoga does for each of us off the Yoga mat. Judging others, over their differences, from what we consider normal, is a waste of time and it depletes our happiness.
While it is true that good judgment can save your life, it is also true that we spend too much time thinking about our little differences. If we truly want peace and happiness, it is much easier to notice what we have in common with each other.
When we judge another person, we risk becoming intolerant. Yoga teaches us that non-judgment is the key to inner peace and world peace. If we do not carry our practice beyond asanas on a Yoga mat, we have missed out on the most valuable part of the lesson.
© Copyright 2009 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications