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justwannabe2010-07-05 07:30:40 +0000 #1
anyone have any insight into asthma and ways of easing it, eliminating it? I have a coworker who is open to trying something to get rid of it, or easing it. that person may not want to do yoga for an hour a day, but if she starts to see some results with it, she may want to expand. any questions I need to answer and fill in more details, please let me know.


sarahy2010-07-05 07:34:02 +0000 #2
hi, i have asthma and i do yoga so maybe i can offer some information about my situation that could help. i've had asthma since childhood and it can be brought on by animals, odd smells, running, cold air, pollen, pollution, etc. i think what i'm trying to say is that there are many forms and causes of asthma and probably not one panacaea.

the first thing about asthma is that one needs to take it very seriously; it is an obstructive airway disease, the result of inflammation, and an asthma attack is a serious thing. so the first suggestion, as an asthmatic, is that your friend (if they haven't already) see a doctor or specialist. i'm not sure how old your friend is, but they've probably figured out how to manage their condition by now.

i have read about yoga and specific asanas easing asthma (iyengar has a section in light on yoga) and i was very enthusiastic about this, however in my own experience i have not seen any benefits yet. this is because as i would practice yoga in my environment, my breathing would deepen and increase, bringing more of the mold, dander and pollution into my lungs. i did have a few practices that i had to stop in order to take my inhaler. I finally agreed (with myself) to go on a steroid inhaler as my condition was worsening and i was getting up 4-5 times at night to take my regular inhaler.

that being said, i am moving soon and to a completely different climate (high desert)! when this happens i will attempt to go off the inhaler and see if my practice has, over time, increased my lung health and capacity. i think that i will find it has. however, i will always from now on keep my emergency inhaler on me. a good place for your friend to start is with the pranayamas- learning to focus on and control the breath.

as for easing asthma, i believe that yoga can offer a benefit. i think there are places (like light on yoga) that you can go to get more information. since i decided to beat my condition into submission with western medicine i haven't investigated further, though i intend to.

in the event of an asthmatic attack there is something called pursed-lipped breathing that can offer some relief. this consists of filling the lungs with air on the inhale (which will be difficult) and then exhaling (long exhale) through pursed (tightly compressed) lips. this creates back pressure in the lungs and the next inhale will be easier. It is not a cure and must be continuously, though not on each inhale, done until the attack passes. I'm not sure if this is a type of yogic breathing or not and would like to hear what others think. in addition, an asthma attack is a very scary experience and one thing i used to do as a child was mentally force a slowing of the heartbeat and a relaxation (lenthening) of the breath, as well as trying to still the muscles-essentially use as little oxygen as possible! this can also be learned/practiced through yoga.

as for eliminating asthma, it is the things that cause the inflammation that must be eliminated. in any case, there's certainly never any harm in beginning to practice yoga for any issue.



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