Yoga for Respiratory Health
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The majority of us are constantly practicing shallow breathing, taking more breaths than we should be in a minute.
Here are a few asanas that improve your respiratory health.
Given that most of us spend a lot of time in front of the desk we tend to only breathe through the upper part of the chest which is called shallow breathing or quiet breathing. In today's session, we'll try and focus on breathing deeper into the abdomen and it's very important that you practice abdominal as well as chest breathing so that you're able to breathe better and feel more relaxed during the day.
Namaste, welcome to Shvasa.com. I'm Carolyn and in today's session, we'll focus on some asanas that will help you breathe more consciously. Remember to breathe through your nostrils throughout the practice and anytime when the asana requires try to keep your chin lifted so that the airways are open. Now most people when they think of improving respiratory health, they only think of the pranayama practice but today we'll be approaching it slightly differently where we'll focus on asanas that will help to improve breathing in a much safer and an effective way, preparing you for the pranayama practice. So let's get started.
Let's start with the first task now we'll be practicing Sarpasana, start by slowly coming on to the abdomen, keeping your heels together, see if you can bring your palms behind. Again if you feel any strain in the lower back, feel free to keep your feet slightly apart interlocking the fingers trying to keep your palms together, press into the feet, activate the legs and inhaling try to come up moving the chest forward. This is a beautiful asana to work on opening the chest region. Breathe here for five, four, three, two and one. Slowly move the chest down, relax the chin and release the arms.
I will be practicing one more backbend Dhanurasana or bow pose.In this asana bend both the legs, try to hold your ankles ,a firm grip of the ankles, relaxing your forehead down. Now inhaling, try to move your knees and thighs off, chest lift it, and try to come up. Keep focusing on moving your legs up and breathe. Deep breathing, five, four, three, two and one. Slowly release the knees down, chest and chin down and release the legs. Place your palms at the side of the chest, tuck your toes and slide back moving your hips to the heels with the arms extended forward, forehead resting on the mat or you can support your forehead using the palms. Spending some time here, focusing on conscious breathing, being completely aware of every inhale and exhale, also noticing the movement of your abdomen against the thighs and inhaling slowly come up, come on to the knees.
Now we'll be practicing a lateral bend or Parigasana, starting with the right, side keeping your knees in line with the hips, extending your right leg to the right side. Try to keep your right heel in line with the left knee, option to keep the toes facing up or if you're comfortable you can try and place the toes down. Now placing the left palm on the hips to start. Move your right palm, laterally it's very important for you to bend laterally moving the right palm towards the right ankle keeping the chest open and now if you're comfortable extend your left arm up, close to the ear and breathe here five counts, five, four with every exhale trying to move a little more towards the right, three, two and one. Inhaling placing the left palm on the hip and come back up, bend the right leg placing your right knee down. Let's do the other side, extending your left leg to the left side again check that the left heel is in line with the right knee and the right knee in line with the hip. Now opening the chest, place your right palm to the hip, keep moving your left palm towards the left ankle. Option to also place the toes down if you're comfortable and see if you can extend your right arm up close to the ear and breathe, five, four, three, two and one. Inhaling, slowly come back up and exhale, bend your left leg sit back down. Sit to one side and release your legs.
Now for the last asana, we'll be practicing Matsyasana. Lying down on the back, this is again very good to focus on the chest region and help you breathe better. Just relaxing on the back, now slowly bringing your feet together, place your palms under the buttocks, see if you can move your elbows in, inhaling, try to lift your chest and head up, gaze at the toes and keeping the chest lifted, try to release the head back. You have any neck strain don't practice this posture. Keep focusing on opening the chest and breathing here we stay here for five breaths, breathing deep, four, three, two, and one. Now inhale, use your elbows to come up, head up, chest up, gaze at the toes, exhale and release the upper back, release the head and slowly release the arms lying down in Shavasana.
We'll spend some time disconnecting with the breath place your right palm on the abdomen and left palm on the chest, practicing a few rounds of deep abdominal breathing keeping your awareness on every inhale and exhale. Trying to inhale deeply into the abdomen, the chest, exhaling from the chest and the abdomen. A few more deep breaths like this, inhale deeply & exhale completely. Inhaling & exhaling. Practicing a few more rounds on your own keeping your complete focus on the breath.Now slowly release your palms by this side, feet together, bend both legs at the knee, turn towards the right side supporting yourself using your left palm come up and sit up.
All the asanas that we practice today will help to improve your physical posture, especially the spine and the shoulders that will help you breathe better and very important to note if you're seated for long hours just try to be aware of your posture anytime you feel like your breathing is constrained, you feel like you can't breathe deep into the abdomen. Check and change your posture so that you're able to breathe better.
Thank you for practicing this session with me for online live sessions do visit Shvasa.com, I'll see you there, Namaste.
Carolyn is a yoga practitioner and educator, food writer, and HR(Learning& Development) professional. She was exposed to fitness and movement from a very young age, and yoga started as a part of her athletics training in 2006. It was only 10 years later that she took up the practice as part of her daily life. Originally from the land of Ayurveda, she started her journey at Sivananda ashram - learning asanas, pranayama, and meditation techniques from traditional masters, then she went on to explore other lineages and has practiced under prolific masters of Hatha, Ashtanga, and Iyengar yoga. She has also done advanced programs at Isha Yoga Center under the guidance of Sadhguru. Carolyn is an internationally certified 500RYT and QCI Level 2 Instructor.