According to recent statistics, Black Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with asthma than other ethnicities. To make matters worse, our symptoms tend to be more severe. This means that it’s helpful to develop techniques that will help you breathe more easily and complement your treatment program. If you’re dealing with asthma, certain yoga poses might help you to breathe a lot better.
Why Yoga May Help
While all yoga poses aren’t created equally, there are specific practices that focus on breathing and movement. Based on this, some experts recommend using yoga as a part of a comprehensive asthma management program.
If you do it, you may benefit from deeper breathing and expanded chest capacity. Of course, yoga isn’t meant to replace your doctor’s prescribed medical regimen.
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Six Poses You Should Try
- Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your feet and palms open.
- Close your eyes and soften your jaw, focusing inward.
- Start to focus on your breath and slow it down, making it deep and relaxing every part of your body.
- Stay in the pose for 5 to 10 minutes, maintaining slow, even breathing.
- If you can’t lie on the floor, any other flat surface will work.
2. Bridge Pose
- Lie on your back. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent. Place your hands on the floor, palms facing down.
- Inhale and move your pelvis up, keeping your shoulders and head flat. Take a few deep breaths.
- Slowly lower your pelvis to the floor.
- If this exercise is hard for you, a yoga block or another type of accessory can make it easier.
3. Forward Bend
- Stand with your legs hip-width apart, fold your body forward, and bend the knees to relieve any strain in the lower back.
- Fold your arms, holding each elbow with the opposite hand, and let your body hang as you take five deep breaths with your eyes closed.
- While this pose is great for stretching your back, it can be hard for those with physical limitations or who have low blood pressure. In that case, sit on a comfortable chair instead of standing.
4. Cobra Pose
- Start on your stomach. Place your palms on the floor beneath your shoulders, fingers spread wide and facing forward. Straighten your legs behind you, hip-width apart.
- Press your pelvis into the floor. Press into your hands and lift your upper body, keeping your hips still. Roll your shoulders back and keep your chin parallel to the floor so that the back of your neck stays elongated. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Lower your upper body to starting position.
- This pose can also be hard for those with physical limitations so consider doing this stretch while seated on a sturdy chair instead.
5. Seated Spiral Twist
- While seated on the floor or forward on the seat of a chair, place your right hand on the floor or seat of the chair.
- Then slowly bring your left hand to the outside of your right knee and lengthen your spine, gently twisting your torso as you move.
- Gently look over your right shoulder. Breathe in and out slowly, inhaling as you picture your spine lengthening and relaxing.
- Hold for a breath or two and return to the center. Repeat on the other side.
- It’s also possible to use a modification of this pose while lying on the floor if being seated is too much for you.
6. Side Bend
- Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Gently pull in your belly but make sure it’s relaxed enough so that your diaphragm does the work as you breathe.
- Put your right hand on your right hip, turn your left palm out, and lift your left arm over your head as you