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Breathe Better Using These Yoga Poses!

[Roxanne is helping her friends demo the Nadi Shodden Pranayama-Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. This pose helps to relieve stress and has a healing effect on circulatory and respiratory problems; Clawdie & Niki aren't so sure! Plug or hold one nostril while slowly and deeply breathing through the other]

Those of us who live with asthma know all too well the feeling of being unsure of participating in an activity, or going someplace 'lung challenging' [ like humid Florida- like places :D ]. Many times we contemplate holding back with activities for fear of being breath-less, tired and all the other drama that comes along with asthma and 'droopy lungs. :{}

Most of us diligently take our asthma meds and treatments as necessary, [ if you do not, please remember to do so, remember asthma is a Chronic condition and uncontrolled asthma cal lead to damaged lungs and other issues we don't

want! ], and hopefully, if possible work at keeping our lungs fit through some form of exercise. Exercise is important for asthma suffers because consistent physical activity serves to strengthen the lungs and immune system, and even reduce the severity of asthma attacks, it also increases the oxygen intake that allows for better breathing overall. Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise as he hay have to adjust your medications to suit your new habit and other recommendations.

In a past blog post titled Tai Chi Quigong & Yoga for Asthma Health, I discuss the benefits for asthma of these practices. Today, some of the LivingThruGrace crew are demonstrating specific Breath Practices through yoga to enhance breathing ability. I myself practice Pranayama Breath control through an app on my phone called Pranayama [ It's for IOS but I'm sure there's one for Android as well :) ]. Lately, I have been getting into a few of these poses during the evenings, that is the ones I can safely do while protecting my injured limbs [ Tennis Elbow and Tendonitis ]!! Never be concerned about not performing these poses exactly that way they are pictured, always go by what your body is capable of doing. :D

[ Nikita used to be really flexible, but due to her days as...[Well, if you've seen the tv show Nikita, you know what she was :D Le'ts call her an ex freedom fighter!] Nikita's become stiff from injuries. She stretches as far as she can. ]

Nikita is always looking for ways for better asthma control and was happy [at first!] to give these poses a go for for herself and others. She is in the Straddled Splits, this pose stretches out the upper body and opens up the lungs. Straddle your legs as far apart as you can and flex your feet. Inhale as you reach your arms up over your head and Exhale as you fold yourself forward walking your hands out as far as you can. Hold this pose and take 5 Deep Breaths. In the actual pose her hands are further stretched over the floor, but due to a back injury she's doing what she can!

Next Clawdie who's newly diagnosed with asthma demonstrates the Shavasana (Corpse Pose). I think this one would be a favorite for us all LOL!! This pose helps to rejuvenate you both before and after your breath practices as well as reduce anxiety which is optimal for asthma.

Clawdie and her friend Camile are in their next pose called Setu Bandhasana [Bridge Pose] and it helps to open the lungs, definitely an end goal for us 'heavy breathers! Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute and as you slowly lower yourself, exhale. The position of the shoulder blades open the chest.

Using her stability ball for extra back support Clawdie demos Pavanamuktasana [Wind Relieving Pose] This pose massages the abdominal organs, helps to release gas { It could get ugly folks :D } and aid with digestion. Below, Camille's a bit more flexible to show different range in these poses.

Niki and Clawd's both attempt to perform the Bashakonasana [Butterfly Pose]. Due to being new to yoga and prior injuries they go as far as there are able without injuring themselves with these poses. Camille shows the pose in it's entirety with the butterfly legs. The butterfly pose helps to improve blood circulation, relieves fatigue and is said to have a therapeutic effect on asthma. Bring your toes as close into the middle as you can grabbing them with your hands and flap your legs like butterfly wings. see if you can take flight! :D

Clawdie enlists another more flexible buddy to help demo this next pose called Ardha Matsyendrasana [Sitting Half Spinal Twist Pose]. Danica can easily slip into this pose [as Clawdie watches] that improves oxygen supplied to the lungs, which is a winner for asthmatics!! The position of this pose opens up the chest, simply twist slowly as far as you can on both the left and right sides of your body.

Clawdie and Danica are in the Adho Mukha Svanasana [The well known Downward Facing Dog Pose!]. Nikita sits this one out. :D This is one of my favorite poses and it feels so 'stretchy' for my whole body, though I must be careful because of my injured are and elbows! This is a mind calming pose and it's great for those with sinusitis as well as asthma.

Poorvottanasana [Upward Plank Pose] is what Cladwie's in, it looks like she's getting limbered up as she practices her poses because her muscles are warm and that makes it easier for her body to stretch and move! this upward plank pose works to stimulate the thyroid gland, strengthens the respiratory system, as well as strengthens the spine, back and arms. Although this pose is a strengthener, I must stay away from it due to my injuries. Remember, it's ok to mot participate in any pose that you feel or know will worsen an injury or causes pain.

[ Camile, shows the Upward Plank pose with the ability to bend further back. ]

All three ladies attempt to to the Bhujangasana [Cobra Pose]. this pose helps improve blood circulation and expands the chest. This is a really good pose for those with asthma! Bend backwards as far as you can comfortably go, hold for five to ten seconds inhaling, then exhaling as you bend backwards.

Camile is attempting the Forward Bend, but she can't make it all the way to the floor! Try this with legs hip width apart and gently fold your body forward as far as you can. It's good to keep a slight bend in the legs to protect your back, Camile might want to keep that in mind next time! As you are in this position, take five deep breaths with eyes closed.

Camile is the only one who's flexible enough to demonstrate this one, it's called Supportive Fish :D This pose aids in healthy bronchial tubes! Woot Woot!! It may help to place a rolled towel under your mid back and for women your bra strap line. Rest your palms underneath your rear end arching up and out as far as you can go. Try to breath and relax in this position. I know I couldn't go near this one, neither could the other girls. If you are extremely flexible you'll probabLy have no trouble with this pose, however, if you have back trouble or injuries check with your doctor before attempting more difficult poses.

Lastly, we come to Kapal Bhati Pranayama, [Skull Shining breathing technique], a simple and relaxing pose where you can just focus on your breath. This pose is good for stress control because it helps to relax the mind and focus on the breath which helps with lung function. This skull pose also energizes the nervous system and improves circulation.

I have began to do some [ the one's that I can do :D ] poses each evening as I want to do all that I can to help my lungs perform at their best. Grab a mat and give a few or all of these a try for additional support for your lung health. The stronger and more flexible our lungs the better equipped we [asthmatics] will be to handle any breath trouble that comes our way in our future! Namaste!

I like to listen to this song whenever I'm struggling with my asthma. Enjoy :)

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