Articles

Asthma treatment at yoga

Author: Chan/Chak Fong Yvonne

Chan/Chak Fong Yvonne

More and more people are getting asthma nowadays in many places of the world, especially in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a very small place but with more than 7 million people living in it. There are many reasons for people getting asthma especially children. They are increased air pollution, people worry about their life and they feel no hope to live in Hong Kong, mainland China is controlling everything, lots of people are still smoking.

Talking about asthma, I have it since I was four years old. I have tried many different kind of medicine, Chinese styles, western styles, any method may help to cure my asthma, I also tried them. But nothing is successful. My childhood was not so happy because I could not do any exercises or sports like other kids. Moreover, I have to take medicine which made me so tired and could not concentrate on my study in school. I had missed many days of school when I go asthma attacks. My parents also suffered from my asthma because they had to bring me to the hospital all the time. The asthma was still bothering me after I turned to adult. I need to carry inhaler with me all the time. I had the chance to take a yoga class when I was in USA few years ago. Something has been changed in my life or for my future too. My breathing system has been stronger and I can go to learn some other exercises such as swimming and dance classes. That is one of the reasons I came to India to learn more about yoga. I learned that yoga is not an exercise but a life style. Also, it helps to balance body and mind. The body is stronger and the mind has more positive thoughts. We can easy to handle many things in our life such as stress, diseases, worry.

Asthma attack is caused by the contraction of the breathing tubes. Sometimes, excess mucus may block the airway. Asthma attack has many internal and external causes. The causes for asthma attack are stress, unstable emotions, depression, worry, anxiety and other psychological problems. The external causes for asthma attack are allergy from dust, smog, sudden cold or weather changes, pet’s hair, flower pollens. Moreover, the life style of many people may/cannot change the situation if someone has asthma. For example, stressful work, lack of rest, imbalanced diet, lack of exercises, stay indoor often with computer or playing games, lack of sun and fresh air. Those are the reasons the asthmatics cannot cure asthma and have to rely on medicine all the time.

The asthmatic suffers from asthma attack which increases breathlessness, poor lung function and cause anxiety and depression. Also the weakness of breathing mechanism causes the autonomic nervous syste, become imbalanced. The asthmatic may have possibility to get bronchitis or pneumonia.

The chinese medical treatment uses herbs and acupuncture technique, it takes a long time to see the improvement but not sure it can cure asthma. The western style of treatment suggests to use alternative medicine / drugs to ease the asthma attack. The usual medical treatment divides into four categories: broncho-dilators, decongestants, anti-inflammatory agents and locally active substances. However, it cannot cure the asthma but only treat the symptoms. Furthermore, many drugs have side effects and the asthmatic starts to rely on using drugs.

Many researchers find that yoga and pranayama can treat many diseases including asthma. If a person with asthma starts to practice yoga and pranayama techniques, he will see the result with his own eyes very soon in the future.

The yoga experts suggest to use the cleansing techniques to remove the mucus and the toxins from the medicine from the body. The techniques are powerful and effective. They will improve the asthmatic’s breathing system. For example, kunjal kriga, jala neti, vastra dhouti and shankhaprakshalana. 

Asanas provide both strength and relaxation to the body, to help wash out the toxins of the joints, cavities, tissues, and improve the functioning of internal organs such as the heart, the lungs, the livers, digestive system and the breathing system. Some asanas can increase the oxygen and reduce CO2 in the blood. The blood circulation has improved. For the people with asthma, asanas helps to reshape the chest, improve posture, strengthen the spinal cord, aid the flow of nervous energy and rebalance the whole body. The most effective asanas are surya namaskara (sun salutation), marjari-asana (cat pose), shashankasana (pose of the moon), shashank bhujangasana (straight cobra pose), bhujangasana (cobra pose), pranamasana (prayer pose), dhanurasana (bow pose), shavasana (corpse pose) and ardha matsyendrasana (half spinal twist).

Pranayama is best practiced regularly after asanas. The techniques includes nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), bhastrika (bellows breath), hasta utthanasana, utthita lolasona, kapalbhati, ujjayi pranayama, bhramari (humming bee breath). They are helping to improve the breathing system. For relaxation or pranayama techniques, we can practice yoga nidra. Yoga nidra can help to relax the whole body but the mind is still in control. OM chanting is another simple and powerful practice for calming the body and mind. The process is natural and relaxed. Meditation also can help people to relax and stay calm. Pranayama is designed to allow us to master the body’s energy systems. It lead to increase self-confident and mastery of mind.

If a person with asthma for many years and still take medicine for controlling it, when he starts to practice yoga and pranayama, who should not stop to use the medicine immediately. He should use the medicine as first aid and reduce to use them slowly if the body gets stronger and healthier. He will not need the medicine anymore in the future.

Moreover, people with asthma should take care on the diet. The best food for an asthmatic are fresh vegetarian food, such as boiled, stemmed or raw vegetables, fruit, honey, home made whole meal bread, beans, nuts and chappati. The asthmatics should avoid heavy wind-producing foods like cabbage, red pumpking and lentils, starchy food such as rice and bread from bakery, especially white or sandwich bread. Dead, processed, artificially coloured and flavoured foods are also avoided. White sugar, cakes and pastries, processed milk products such as cheese, butter and yoghurt, fried or heavy food need to be avoided. 

Yoga is a life style. We should keep to live with it. The person with asthmatic wants to cure the attack of asthma, requires commitment, sincerity, self-responsibility and intelligent effort.

“The views above are solely those of the author. Yogapoint.com may or may not agree with all statements.”

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