The deteriorating air quality due to stubble and cracker burning during Diwali has put us at grave risk of several health problems. Our lungs are affected most by the toxic pollutants that irritate airways and cause symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath apart from risk of other respiratory ailments.
Yoga, the thousands year old practice, has several asanas and pranayama techniques that can improve lung capacity. Studies have vouched for the many benefits of yoga for lungs and said the controlled breathing during Yoga can ease anxiety, promote relaxation and provide more oxygen to the blood stream.
Yoga can help open blocked airways caused by bronchitis or emphysema, which are linked to COPD (chronic inflammatory lung disease), and improve the function of air circulation. Simple yoga techniques are known to help even in cases of advanced COPD.
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“Make a few simple changes in your lifestyle and habits, like keeping yourself hydrated, having nutritious diet and doing yoga for better lung health,” says renowned Yoga guru Grand Master Akshar.
Here are Yoga asanas for healthy lungs:
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
* Kneel on the yoga mat and place your hands on the hips.
* Simultaneously, arch your back and slide your palms over your feet till the arms are straight.
* Do not strain or flex your neck but keep it in a neutral position.
* Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths.
* Breathe out and slowly come back to the initial pose. Withdraw your hands and bring them back to your hips as you straighten up.
Chakrasana (Wheel Pose)
* Lie down on your back
* Fold your legs at your knees and ensure that your feet are placed firmly on the floor
* Bend your arms at the elbows with your palms facing the sky. Rotate your arms at the shoulders and place your palms on the floor on either side beside your head
* Inhale, put pressure on your palms and legs and lift your entire body up to form an arch
* Relax your neck and allow your head to fall gently behind
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
* Lie down flat on your stomach with palms placed under your shoulders
* Keep your feet together, with toes on the ground
* Inhale completely (Purak), hold your breath (Kumbakh) and then lift your head, shoulders and torso up at a 30-degree angle
* Ensure that your navel remains on the floor, your shoulders are broad and head slightly raised upwards
* Pressure on your toes– This activates the Sun (Right) and Moon (Left) channels which are connected to your lower back
* Hold the posture for 10 seconds
* Slowly bring your torso down and then exhale breath (Rechak) – This breathing technique is therapeutic
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
* Lie flat on the ground with your stomach on the floor.
* Your feet must face downwards, and your arms must be placed beside your body.
* Gently fold your elbows.
* Place your palms under your shoulders and closer to your floating ribs.
* Inhale and press your palms firmly on the floor and gently lift your knees, hips, and torso off the mat.
* Keep your arms firm and your elbows straight
* Broaden your shoulders and look up
* Ensure that your knees don’t touch the floor
* Put pressure on your toes by curling them inwards and press them on the floor before extending them outward
* Hold the pose for a few seconds. Exhale and release.
“Along with these poses, you can also include Pranayama techniques like Kapal Bhati. Yoga is a powerful tool which can increase the power of our lungs and remove toxins from your body,” says the yoga expert.