Friday, February 26, 2010

Yoga for Asthma Cure: Pranayama and Anulom Vilom Technique

As per a report on Global Burden of Asthma, the condition affects over 300 million people worldwide. With increasing urbanization across the globe, the report has estimated an addition of approximately 100 million more cases by 2050. Pranayama and Anulom Vilom have emerged as an effective treatment for Asthma, as the western world continues to explore the numerous benefits of this ancient Indian science. 
Yoga to help treat Asthma: Pranayama to prevent hyperventilation 

Asthma is associated with the process of labored breathing when an individual suffers from shortness of breath. This results in hyperventilation as the lungs attempt to increase the intake of air to provide for the body's demand for oxygen.

Pranayama is
a basic posture

'Prana' signifies the vital energy or the life force, and 'ayama' means control. Thus, pranayama means breath control. It teaches you to breathe in a controlled and regulated manner.

Pranayama and Anulom-Viloma Benefits for Asthmatics

Pranayama and alternate nostril breathing are two techniques that have several benefits ,  
  1. Pranayama increases vitality and gives a tremendous boost to the immune mechanisms of the body. Pranayama makes the immune system more mature and aids in effective management of asthma.
  2. Yoga technique and pranayama are conscious breathing techniques which brings oxygen and energy to all the cells in the body and enhances the cellular processes. This improves the overall metabolism of the body and enhances health.
  3. This pranayama  technique has significant beneficial effects on the respiratory tract. Anuloma-viloma, also called nadi-shodhana, greatly enhances lung power. It improves the functioning capacity and working ability of the lungs and the respiratory muscles. It slows down the rate at which one inhales and exhales, thus staving off aging.
  4. Additionally, alternate nostril breathing, peps up the immune system, strengthens the body against allergens and infections, and consequently helps ward off an episode of asthma.
At the subtle level, nadi-shoddhana, purifies the nadis or the channels through which the prana or the vital force flows. It balances the flow of the energy through the body.

Anulom-Vilom for Asthma Treatment : Pranayama using Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique 
Alternate Nostril
Breathing Technique
The following are the simple steps of practicing alternate nostril breathing at home,
  • Sit in padmasana (lotus pose), keeping the back erect.
  • Fold the index and middle fingers of the right hand on to the palm. Keep the thumb, little and ring fingers straight.
  • Place the thumb on the right nostril and close it. Inhale through the left nostril.
  • Then using the little and the ring fingers, close the left nostril and breathe out through the right nostril (release the thumb).
  • Inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left. This completes one round of anuloma-viloma.
  • 5 sets of anuloma-viloma are advocated daily, gradually working it up to 10 rounds.
  • It should also be borne in mind that a regular and sustained practice is essential for the health benefits to be witnessed.

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