As we all know, having healthy lungs is essential to good overall health. Unfortunately, due to pollution and changing lifestyles, many of us are now living with respiratory problems. Fortunately, there are some simple steps we can take to improve our lung health, including yoga practice. Here, we’ll take a look at four yoga poses that can help to keep your lungs healthy.
Crocodile Pose, or Makarasana, is said to help to strengthen the respiratory system and improve overall lung capacity. It is simple but can be quite intense. Lie face down on the floor, legs spread out to the sides and arms resting beside you, palms facing down. As you breath in and out, focus on your abdomen to notice any tiny shifting. After a few breaths, your breathing should become deeper and more relaxed. Stay in the pose for at least one minute, or up to 10, before releasing.
The Shoulderstand, or Salamba Sarvangasana, focuses on opening the lungs and improving circulation. It can be incredibly beneficial for those experiencing breathlessness, fatigue and congestion. To perform the pose, start by lying on your back and then, using your core muscles, raise your legs and hips towards the ceiling until your body is at a right angle to the floor. Lower both arms so that your fingertips touch the floor and your elbows are slightly bent. Make sure to keep your neck and head comfortable, ideally in line with your spine. Remain in the pose for up to 10 minutes, or as long as is comfortable, before gradually returning to the starting position.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
The Reclining Bound Angle Pose, or Supta Baddha Konasana, is commonly recommended to those with respiratory problems. This pose can help to open up the chest, reduce stress and improve breathing capacity. To perform the pose, sit with your legs stretched out in front and your back straight. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together. Lie back and either remain like this, or get comfortable by placing a pillow, bolster or even a blanket under your back. Stay in the pose for up to 10 minutes and remember to focus on your breathing.
The Triangle Pose, or Trikonasana, is another effective yoga pose for improving lung capacity. This is an energising pose which can improve not only your breathing but also your sense of wellbeing. To perform the pose, Stand with your feet wide apart, torso and arms extended towards the right side. Draw your left hip towards the side, bend your right leg and ground your right foot. Keep your torso facing forward and your hands in prayer position in front of your chest. Stay in the pose for at least 10 breaths, paralleled with long and deep breaths, before you unravel your body to stand on both legs again.
These four yoga poses can all be beneficial for improving your lung health. However, if you have a medical condition such as asthma, it’s always best to get approval from your doctor before starting any new physical activity. As always, remember to listen to your body. Do the poses slowly, without strain and only to the level that is comfortable for you.