Respiratory health is closely linked to overall wellness and lifestyle choices.
The pandemic has made us all more aware of our body, especially our lungs. Since the start of the pandemic, there are many breathing exercises that people have begun to follow to make their respiratory system stronger, but what’s more effective are yoga asanas that improve the functioning of lungs.
Daily yoga will help strengthen your mind and body in a natural way and will also keep the rest of your body strong and able to deal with many illnesses as well as pollution.
Several yoga asanas can increase lung capacity and improve breathing. Yoga for your respiratory system increases your oxygen uptake and improves lung function.
Here are 10 asanas that will make your respiratory system stronger:
1. Kapalabharti Pranayama
Sit up straight in a comfortable posture. Resting both hands on your knees, bring together your thumb and your forefinger in Gyan mudra
Practice deep breathing for a couple of minutes with your eyes closed. Inhale deeply and simultaneously contract your abdominal muscles. Exhale through both nostrils, forcing the air out.
Remember to keep your abdominal muscles relaxed while inhaling and ensure there is no effort needed to fill up your lungs and the stomach with air. Let this process occur spontaineously.
After completing 20 rapid breaths this way, stop and resume normal breathing pace. This is one complete round.
2. Anulom Vilom
Sit straight with your legs crossed, acquiring a comfortable posture. Take a few deep breaths keeping your eyes shut.
Begin with your right hand in Vishnu mudra with an open palm and the index and middle fingers folded down. Place your right thumb on the right nostril and the fourth finger and the pinky on the left.
Closing your right nostril with the thumb inhale through the left nostril on 4 counts and close the left with the fourth finger and the pinky retaining the breath for 4 counts.
Lift your thumb and exhale through the right nostril on 4 counts. Inhale from your right nostril on 4 counts keeping the left nostril closed.
Close your right nostril and retain the breath for a 4 counts seconds, now exhale through the left on 4 counts.
This is one complete round. Continue for 2 minutes.
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Lie flat on your stomach with hands on either side of the chest next to the shoulders. Raising your chest, inhale deeply and aim to stretch your chest and neck bringing your chin up towards the sky.
Maintain this position and do some sessions of deep breathing focusing on expanding your shoulders and chest on each inhale.
Slowly release your breath to lower your chest back to the floor.
4. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Lie face down. Bend your knees holding onto your ankles with your hands. Keep your knees hip-width apart.
Breathe in deeply and bring up your chest and thighs till you’re able to grasp your ankles firmly with your hands.
Hold this pose for 20 seconds. Exhale as you relax.
Lying on the back, bring the arms underneath the body with your legs straightened and feet kept together.
Inhale, raise the chest up and place the crown of the head on the ground.
Using the arms and elbows for balance. maintain this position and breath in and out. Repeat.
Stand upright with your feet placed together, comfortably. Inhale and raise your arms over the head.
Exhale and fold forward, bending at your waist, allowing the arms to hang. Grab the opposite elbow forming a square with the arms.
Allow the head and neck to hang and breathe deeply, relaxing in the pose. Release after a few minutes, back to the standing position. Repeat.
7. Ardha Matsyendrasana
Sit up with the legs straightened out in front of you. ift your right leg, bending the right knee and move it over your left leg, planting your foot firmly right beside your left knee .
Breathe in deeply and twist bringing your left arm towards your right side to place your hand on the floor right under your right knee and gaze over the right shoulder.
As you inhale, straighten the spine, and on exhaling, twist even further. Repeat on the other side.
Lie face down on the stomach with legs slightly apart. Making a pillow with the hands, rest the side of the head on the hands.
Adjust the distance of the arms for optimum comfort – if the elbows are too far out, tension will be felt in the neck. If kept too close, they’re likely to strain your lower back.
As you begin to move deeper into the shavasana, focus on bringing the flow of air from the neck to the tailbone and feel the breath moving along your spine to activate energy channels. Repeat.
9. Surya Namaskar
Stand straight and assume into the namaskara position in front of your chest. Raise your arms above your head, pushing pelvis slightly forward.
Move your upper body slightly forward, bending your waist and bringing your hands down to the floor. Step back with your right foot, stretching your leg and thigh muscles as much as you can tolerate.
While doing this, your left leg should be bent with your knee planted on the floor right beside your left arm and both palms placed on either side of left foot.
Aim to force down the entire body weight on your palms and toes. Slightly bring your knees down towards the ground with your torso still lifted.
Raise your chest,shoulders and chin, bending your head backwards to look up at the sky. Lift your legs and back to form an upside down V shape with your body.
Now, bring your right foot forward between both palms. Let left foot down on the floor. Stretch your neck upwards.
Raise your arms and stand back up. Bend a little backward, pushing pelvis forward. Lower arms to your side and relax.
10. Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Lie down on your back with your legs apart. Rest your hands on the floor, palms facing upwards and fingers left relaxed on either sides just a little away from your body.
Close both your eyes and track your breathing while you relax. Breathe deeply and slowly. Hold this position for 10 minutes.
To derive full benefits for sound respiratory health, people are advised to consume hot water with turmeric, honey, and ginger to boost lung health in addition to these yoga exercises. Steam therapy turns out to be quite useful in cases of congestion or persistent respiratory disorders.
If you’re recovering from COVID or simply want to make your respiratory system stronger, you can practice yoga daily with Yog Love’s daily LIVE yoga classes, taught by expert yoga teachers.
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