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Yoga for Bronchial Asthma

Bronchial asthma is a common disease of both children and adults. The word "Asthma" is of Greek derivation and it means panting or gasping. Not all difficulty in breathing is asthma. The prefix bronchial to refer to the fact that the basic problem is in the bronchi, the lower air conducts within the lungs.

Bronchial asthma is characterized by recurrent attacks of difficulty in exhalation due to wide - spread reversible narrowing of airways in the lungs, which varies in severity over a short period of time either spontaneously or as a result of treatment.

The characteristic feature of asthma is that it is only a temporary functional narrowing which is completely reversible.

The most important feature in bronchial asthma is the hyper reactivity of bronchial tree. The air passages show excessive response by spasm and inflammation to all sorts of stimuli, not only to antigen or chemical like histamine but also to cold air, atmospheric irritants like dust, kitchen fumes, sprays, gases, extreme exercise etc.,

Hay fever and allergic rhinitis are the other names for nasal allergies. The three cardinal symptoms of this condition are sneezing, running nose and blocked or stuffy nose. This may occur seasonally as in Hay fever or personality almost all year round. You may also have itching of nose, ears, eyes, throat and post nasal discharge. At times, the inner lining (mucous membrane) of the Para nasal sinuses may get involved in this allergic inflammation leading to pain and discomfort in the forehead and cheeks. Although not a fatal condition, it could lead to much discomfort, loss of interest at work and psychological depression.

Exposure to cold wind, sunlight, dust and fumes, etc., may precipitate the onset of the symptoms. Exactly like in bronchial asthma the inner lining of the nose has turned hyper - reactive.

How does the narrowing of airway occur?

The airway narrowing in asthma occurs due to:

  1. Tightening the circular strip of muscle that surrounds the bronchus is irritated to cause this narrowing.

  2. Swelling of the inner lining of the bronchus which gets engorged and swollen contributing partly to the reduction in the airway caliber.

  3. Secretions are poured out from the swollen mucosa into the bronchi, further decreasing the effective lumen. Characteristically the secretion in asthma is sticky and is expectorated with great difficulty towards the end of an attack. similarly changes of excessive secretion and swelling of the inner lining occurs in the lining of the nose leading to symptoms of nasal allergy.


Step 1:(I.R.T i.e., Relaxation using a chair as support)

  • Sit on the floor with legs stretched under the chair. Pull the chair towards the chest and hold onto it with your arms.

  • Start I.R.T. Stretch and tighten the entire body from toes to the head.

  • Start tightening from the toes, ankle joints, calf muscles.

  • Pull up the kneecaps.

  • Tighten the thigh muscles.

  • Compress and squeeze the buttocks.

  • Breathe out and suck the abdomen inside.

  • Form the fists and tighten the arms.

  • Inhale and expand the chest.

  • Tighten and shoulders, neck muscled, compress the face,

  • Tighten the whole body from the toes to the head

  • Tighten............ tighten.............tighten...............

  • Release and relax. Collapse the whole body. Legs go apart.

  • Relax the whole body at once, and rest the head and the arm on the seat of the chair as in Makarasana or simply relax the arms forward head on the chair.

This article has been written by Dr. R. Nagarathna, Dean, Division of Yoga & Life-sciences, SVYASA
This article is published online courtesy
and Arogyadhama

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