Asthma, affecting over 17 million people in the United States, poses a significant challenge to optimal health. Wheezing, chest tightness, and breathing difficulties characterize this respiratory condition, making effective asthma control crucial. Having personally battled asthma for years, I discovered a transformative approach through yoga and breathing exercises, leading to a life free from frequent attacks.
The Power of Breath: A Fundamental Shift The journey to asthma control begins with a fundamental shift in breathing habits. Inspired by the wisdom of Pranayama, the Sanskrit term for Breathing Exercises, I explored techniques like the Bellows Breath and Square breathing. The results were profound, not just in asthma control but in overall well-being.
Conscious Breathing: A Natural Process The first step in achieving proper asthma control involves conscious, deep breathing. Contrary to popular advice, avoid raising the shoulders or stiffening the diaphragm during inhalation, as this restricts airflow to the lungs. Observe the natural, deep breaths of an infant for a visual guide to correct breathing.
Asthma Control: Breathing Exercises to Embrace
- Inhalation and Exhalation:
- Begin by breathing deeply, aiming for a ratio of 1:2 (inhalation to exhalation).
- Gradually increase inhalation time from 4 to 16 seconds, with exhalation following suit.
- Practice regularly for several weeks.
- Once comfortable with exercise #1, progress to inhalation-retention-exhalation.
- Follow the yogic ratio of 1:4:2.
- Increase inhalation time from 4 to 16 seconds.
- Practice until mastery is achieved.
While emphasis is placed on breathing techniques for asthma control, dietary adjustments play a vital role. Avoid mucus-forming foods such as animal products, most grains, junk, and processed foods. Dr. Buteyko’s “Breath Retaining Program For Asthmatics” advocates this approach, leading many to abandon ventolin inhalers.
Replace prohibited items with fruits, leafy and root vegetables, and consider less harmful whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and millet occasionally. Proper meal combination, avoiding liquids during meals, and steering clear of microwaves, conventionally grown produce, and polluted tap water contribute to optimal health.
Asthma no longer needs to dictate your life. Empower yourself for successful asthma control through natural methods, embracing proper breathing and dietary habits outlined above. Breathe freely, live fully!