Asthma! A Friend or A Foe

Defying Asthma

Thanks to those enemies who alarm us and bless us with awareness in life by making us strong on every step. Same is the case with diseases. They should never be treated as foes. They are our true friends to alarm us against our carelessness and irregularities indicating that something wrong has happened with the system and the filth growing within us has to be taken seriously. We are bound to care and find some sure solution to the growing problem.

Asthma is also one of such problems directly related with breathing, the first law of life. None can live more than a few minutes without an adequate supply of oxygen. Nature has provided us a living pipeline known as trachea that begins just below the voice box and divides into two bronchi going to left and the right lung, to make oxygen supply possible to both the lungs and to entire stream of red blood cells of our body. Whenever there is any blockage or obstruction in the windpipe or even in any of its smallest branches, it is helped by coughing that may appear to be a disease but in fact a true friend and a nature’s attempt to keep that life line clear. This ignored cough becomes worse as the time goes by and the patient starts feeling shortness of breath, fever, weakness, loss of weight and fatigue.

Growing abnormalities must be treated and removed at an earliest otherwise even a Common Cold beginning with nose and throat may often be followed by hay fever, tonsillitis, sore throat, pneumonia resulting into deep chest cough due to bronchitis. It is Mother Nature that goes on alarming us on each step in form of coughing, frequent sneezing and sore throat followed by headache etc but we go on ignoring and some time situation grows even worse leading to asthma.

Asthma is an allergic condition. In true sense it is an abnormal response of the body to substances like fur of animals, chemicals, fumes, pollen or certain foods or drugs. Germs in nose and throat do also cause asthmatic attacks. Asthma attacks are more frequent when the patient is under change of weather, tired or under severe emotional strain. In many cases asthma is traced due to improper food, infection and family history.

How to meet this adversity

It is very important for patient to build up his general health, choose a balanced diet, avoid smoke, stay out of emotional stress and unnecessary fatigue. Infections of the nose, throat and tonsils should be given appropriate treatment with warm water intake, throat cleaning (Halakua as we call it) with turmeric, salt and mustard oil. Kiryas like Jala Neti, Sutra Neti and Kunjar Kriya are beneficial which can be done under expert guidance. You should always remain calm and avoid excitement with regular practice of meditation, japa and even sankirtan because excitement disturbs rhythmic flow of breathing. Prevention from cold and undue exposure is a must for such patients. The most important thing is regular yogabhyas with patience and courage.

In this article we shall deal with very simple but deeply effective yoga capsule to be practiced everyday by such patients old or young, men or women to come out of asthma, a great threat to life. These modified kriyas will remove fatigue putting least exertions but add a lot of freshness, expansion in lungs removing congestion and add lots of energy.

Preparation

  • Get up early morning, clear your bowl and take bath, if possible complete your stomach and nasal wash i.e. Kunjar & Neti Kriya; wear clean loose fit cotton dress preferably of saffron, maroon, white, yellow or cream color; occupy your asana spread in an airy room, sit in comfortable position with straight spinal column and cool mind facing East; come out of the traffic of thoughts to be with yourself to relax, join your mind with breathing rhythm and feel soothing chant of holy ‘OM’ in each breath to observe and be with yourself, ensure your breathing goes rhythmic.
  • Sit in Vajrasana (kneeling position) with toes placed on one another, heels kept wide, folded knees put together on floor and spine balanced firm and straight. Try Shankh dhwani (Shell) to go deeper in the same asana three to five times and relax again with mental chanting of holy and healing sound of ‘OM’. In case you feel any inconvenience in Vajrasana described above, you may practice in standing position also. Beside spiritual benefits this Shankh dhwani with mental concentration on producing the sound of holy mantra of Ekakshara Brahm “OM” has proved remarkably effective in removing bacterial infections, improving resistance power and adding overall glow to your face.
  • Sit in any comfortable pose with your legs crossed and spine straight. You may sit in the chair with straight back in case you do not feel comfortable at knees. Inhale comfortably deep with mental chanting of holy ‘OM” as deep as you inhale followed by vocal chanting of same holy mantra 13 times. Begin chanting ‘O’... with mouth open and ‘M’... with mouth shut. Chant should grow deeper while inhaling as well as while exhaling but without disturbing the breathing rhythm. Listen the holy sound of “OM”... with ears and feel the healing vibrations in your entire existence during vocal chanting this holy ‘OM’.
  • Lie down on your yoga mat / asana to give gentle stretch to tone up your entire muscular, nervous, skeletal, digestive & respiratory systems and allow you to perform well. Lift the palms resting on floor beside your thighs while inhaling and raise them to touch the floor above your head. Hold the entire body in stretched position as long as you hold the breath. Come to starting point again while exhaling. Now turn the palms to sky and relax deep to allow proper flow of blood and energy in each part of body. Repeat such stretches just five times.

Sarvangasana

Begin with position, lying on your back with your feet kept together, palms resting on floor beside your thighs. Inhale deep and lift your legs and upper part so high that weigh of entire body rests on your shoulders. Fold your arms at elbow to support your back with palms, keep your neck relaxed and eyes gazing at toes. Keep the legs straight and toes pulled atop. Breathe normally when you stay in Sarvangasana and inhale before starting the back way journey. First bring your upper back, middle back, lower back, hips and finally legs down to floor. Breathe normally again to regain, keeping entire system perfectly relaxed with palms facing sky.

This asana ensures ample blood supply to lungs, heart and skull but it is restricted in heart diseases and high blood pressure. Besides numerous other benefits it is a wonderful exercise for asthma patients as it purifies the lungs and improves pranic power.

Matsyasana

Maintain the lying position to attain Supta Padmasana with left leg on the right thigh joint and right leg on left thigh joint. Bring the knees to rest on floor, rest the palms beside ears with fingers closer to shoulders to support lifting the chest and chin. Let the throat be pulled a bit to allow your upper part of head touch the ground. Hold your toes with arms and touch the elbows to ground. Maintain rhythmic breathing. Conclude Matsyasana by bringing the head chest and legs to normal with the support of hands again and relax.

This asana is a sure relief to all respiratory diseases, diabetes, joint pains, and ailments of uterus. It regulates the disturbed menstruation and brings flexibility in body.

Singhasana

Sit in Padmasana with legs crossing each other and heels resting on thigh joint of the opposite leg. Spread your arms to place palms on floor in front of your body. Share the body weight on arms and balance your body weight on hands and knees. Contract the hips keeping your back straight in inclined position. Inhale and open your mouth to maximum, bring the tongue out towards chin, gaze in between the eyebrows and roar like a lion. Close the mouth and repeat again three to five times.

This asana purifies the throat and lungs, prevents bad smell, improves self confidence and strengthens the liver.

Gomukhasana

Fold your knees and sit with legs crossing each other putting right knee firmly over the left, allow your right heel touching the left side and left heel touching the right side of buttocks. Lift the right arm to bring the upper arm closer to right ear, fold it at elbow to bring it towards your back and grip the left hand from behind Grip them together with all eight fingers of both the hands. Keep the right chest elevated and have deep rhythmic breathing. Now set the grip free, come back to starting position and change the position of legs and arms to repeat the same process on the other side.

It is a wonderful asana for those suffering from asthma, bronchitis and even tuberculosis. It removes the deposits of the lungs, regulates fresh blood supply and gives additional supply of oxygen to purify lungs.

Ujjayi pranayama

Sit in Padmasana or any comfortable cross legged posture with knees on floor and spine straight. Hold the palms open to sky with tips of index finger and the tips of thumbs touching together and wrists resting on the knees. It is called Gyan Mudra. Lift your tongue to touch it firmly on the pallet. Fix your chin firm in the deep place in between the collarbones to observe Jalandhara Bandha. Keep the eyes gently closed and exhale to begin Ujjayi Pranayama. Begin with gentle inhalation feeling the sound just like snoring (Ss…) around pallet. Ensure that such inhalation does not give any expansion on abdomen. Feel the inhaled position for a few seconds. Exhale gently but completely concentrating on the exhaling sound (Hh…) stay for a couple of seconds in exhaled position. Have normal breathing. This is one round of Ujjayi Pranayama. Repeat it 5 to 10 minutes. Chronic patients of asthma may practice this pranayama without inner or outer retention.

Ujjayi pranayama without retention is risk free pranayama for asthma as well as high blood pressure patients.

Nadi shodhan pranayama

Sit in above mentioned posture with left hand in Gyan Mudra as mentioned in Ujjayi Pranayama. Fold the right arm at elbow and relax the index and middle finger folding them towards palm to control right nostril with thumb and the left nostril with ring finger and small finger (Anamika and Kanishthika). Exhale through the right nostril first keeping the left nostril perfectly closed with Anamika and Kanishthika, now inhale slowly but deeply through right nostril and continue to keep left nostril perfectly closed. Repeat the same on other side by closing the right nostril perfectly with thumb (Angushtha) of right hand and release the pressure of Anamika and Kanishthika from the left thumb to do complete exhalation through left nostril very slowly. Now continue repeating the same process alternately, inhale through the left nostril keeping the right nostril closed and exhale through the right one. Take about ten rounds and practice equal time duration in inhalation as well as in exhalation in the beginning.

It strengthens the ailing lungs, purifies the flow of all nerves, makes us more energetic, allows maximum intake of oxygen and replaces the fear of diseases with everlasting cheer.

To conclude

Always conclude pranayama with corpse pose or Savasana to release all fatigue and tension of nerves, muscles and mind. As a beginner you may lie flat on your back, withdraw all control from limbs and ensure that no part of your body remains tense. Watch yourself to feel that I am not the body. This feeling will lead you to deep relaxation. This easy and tested yoga capsule of Yoga can help you get rid of asthma.

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Swami Bharat Bhushan Ji

Padmashri award honored | Two times Life time Achievement award honored | D. Lit (Doctor of Letters) honored

Mokshayatan International Yogashram, Saharanpur

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