(i) In extrinsic asthma, practices called kriyas helps in developing tolerance to external agents. In a practice called jalaneti one washes the nose with luke-warm saline water and in Sutraneti a thread or a rubber catheter is introduced into the nose. Here the water and the rubber tube being irritants for the nose, in a person with nasal allergy, the hyper-responsive nasal mucosa would trigger off a whole chain of events including excessive sneezing, rhinorrhoea (running from the nose) and nasal blocking. But under the background of deep relaxation and use of his will power, the person learns to tolerate these irritants without any of these reactions. In other words, these kriyas have taught him how to tolerate the irritants entering the nose without reacting violently.
This yogic desensitization or stamina building (Titiksa) brought about by graded exposure to non-specific irritants in the background of deep relaxation is comparable to Immuno-therapy in which increasing doses of specific allergen are presented in the form of injections so that the system gets desensitized to that substance.
(ii) Yogic deep relaxation and rest decrease the overall activity of nervous system leading to remarkable reduction in discharge frequency and the trigger threshold. This can be very easily-recognized by practitioners of. Yoga at their emotional level. After the practice of yoga one feels so calm inside that the same situations which enraged him earlier would no longer trigger his anger. The duration and force of the anger or anxiety or any emotional reaction go on reducing with yoga practice. This effect on the nervous system is the one that can reduce the excitement of the parasympathetic centre so that intrinsic tube of asthma comes under control.
Yoga has stabilizing effect on the immune system of the body. It is known that yoga can increase the tolerance of the infection by increasing the overall health and also the local resistance to vira and other infections in the respiratory passages. It has been observed in the general population the frequency of flu infections in a year reduced significantly after regular practices of meditation. Thus in infection-induced asthma, the frequency of asthma would reduce remarkably if the infection frequency reduces. This has been observed by many of our young patients with infection-triggered asthma.
Various yogasanas help to correct the postural abnormalities and to improve the respiratory stamina. They may also help in drainage of secretion. The breathing exercises especially the chain breathing technique train in the use of abdominal muscles, which is a big help during attacks.
Step 3: Neck movements in vajrasana (sitting on heels with out chair support step)
Neck movement only (5 times)
Move the head forward and backward in a relaxed way.
Neck movement with breathing (5 times)
Inhale while moving the head backward and exhale while moving it forward
Neck movement with 'U-kara' (5 times)
Chant 'U-kara' in a low voice while bending the head forward.