Yoga for disorders of the respiratory system

Respiration is one of the most important functions of the body. Composed of the nose, bronchial tubes, larynx, pharynx, trachea and the lungs, the respiratory system is not only responsible for the inhalation of oxygen and expulsion of carbon dioxide, but also for the oxidation of food and the release of energy.

Oxygen is known to be the primary life force and it is the respiratory system of the body that helps us utilize this life force. If the respiratory system ceases to function, or becomes diseased, it becomes difficult for a person to survive. The lack of oxygen in the body affects all vital organs of the body—heart, brain, stomach, liver, and kidneys—everything gets affected if oxygen is not supplied regularly.

Due to the increasing exposure to pollution, today we are likely to suffer from several respiratory disorders. Some of the severest disorders that can affect us are asthma, allergies of the respiratory tract, bronchitis, cold and other breathing problems. While sometimes, these breathing problems may be related to stress, most of the time it is the respiratory system disorders that are to be blamed.

Fortunately, yoga offers respiratory exercises which help relax the respiratory tract, eliminating diseases and disorders of the respiratory system. The breathing and meditation routines in yoga have proven very effective in controlling chronic diseases like asthma. Along with treating the respiratory system, it is also possible to increase the immunity of the body so that allergies and minor infections do not cause harm to the throat.

You can easily learn proper the breathing techniques of yoga which help quell respiratory disorders and diseases, while also helping the body to resist them in the future. Yoga offers respiratory cures which help all the various vital systems of the body work in harmony.

One of the simplest breathing techniques in yoga is the Anuloma Viloma (Alternate nostril breathing). In this particular technique, you practice inhaling from one nostril by physically restricting air from passing through the other one by closing it with your fingers. Take in a deep breath, allowing the air to fill your lungs and abdomen. Now release the other nostril and let exhale from it. Repeat this several times.

Another technique called the Kapalbhati (Shining forehead) helps in clearing accumulated phlegm in the respiratory tract. This breathing exercise should be done quickly, where both the inhalation and exhalation are done rapidly. This technique can be very useful, however, it should be performed only under supervision of an expert or a yoga teacher.