(Last Updated on : 09/04/2013)
Bronchitis is the inflammation of the air passages between the nasal tract and the lungs. It includes the trachea and the windpipe and also the larger air tubes of the lungs that bring in air from the trachea. In bronchitis, the interior linings of the bronchial tubes swell, thereby, reducing their effective diameter. Due to this the amount of air passing through the trachea into the lungs is reduced and so does the quantity of waste gas coming from the lungs. This enhances the production of thicker mucous, which further blocks the air passages.
Bronchitis can be of two types, namely acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is of short duration and is cured within two weeks while chronic bronchitis persists for much longer duration. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection while chronic bronchitis is a serious lung disease and is mainly caused due to inhaling respiratory tract irritants. Acute bronchitis mainly occurs during winter and is followed by viral infection like 'cold' or 'flu'. A secondary bacterial infection may also accompany this disease. Chronic bronchitis develops very slowly. Cilia, the hairy outgrowths from the cells that line the respiratory system have slowly become paralyzed and their movement is stopped due to the inhalation of the lung irritants. So, the cilia are no loner able to move the mucus and the airways become clogged.
Yoga can ease most of the breathing problems and bronchitis is one of them. For a person suffering with chronic bronchitis, breathing may become more difficult and the person can feel the tightness in the chest. Due to breathing difficulties less oxygen is inhaled into the body. This may cause the lips and body to turn blue and cause overall tiredness. However, these issues can be solved with regular practice of Yoga. If immediate attention is not given to such breathing troubles, in the advanced stages one will experience chest pains and swollen feet and ankles.
Bronchitis can be treated with medication, but it may reappear if favorable conditions prevail. So the ultimate aim of any bronchial patient is to prevent any sign of infections. The main problem associated with any bronchitis patient is the unavailability of adequate amount of oxygen. A healthy respiratory system is the most crucial step to be obtained in order to curtail the problem of bronchitis.
Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy that can be of great help for the sufferers of bronchitis. The continuous practices of asanas bring lightness and an elating feeling in the body and mind and a feeling of oneness of body, mind and soul. A yogi must maintain discipline in diet and lifestyle thus enhancing the effects of the Yoga asanas. There are many asanas that usually prevent the recurrence of bronchitis. Relaxation technique of pranayamas greatly improves the mucociliary clearance. Yoga Asanas like supta virasana, bhujangasana, sirsasana, sarvangasana, viparita dandasana, salabhasana, ustrasana and others can be done to improve lung capacity. Pranayamas can be practiced once the severity of the infection has lessened down. The Yogic exercises for bronchial patients must not be too hard but at the same must ventilate the lungs and increase the oxygen levels in the blood.
Yoga Asanas increases the efficiency of the lungs while retaining its softness. The exchange capacity for gases increases considerably and excess mucus is drained off in a smooth pattern. A pose having forward bends improve blood flow and massage the posterior lobes of the lungs. Poses having backward bend help to remove excess mucus from the bronchial tree. Twisting poses in Yoga squeezes the lateral parts of the lungs thereby improving their function.
Pranayamas, on the other hand, allows more oxygen to enter the lungs through the practice of kumbhaka. The preservation process facilitates deeper infiltration of oxygen, thereby, increasing its chances of being absorbed by the hemoglobin in the blood. Ujjayi pranayama is one of the most effective asanas that is practiced in the initial stages of bronchitis as it causes less strain and then one may proceed towards nadi sodhana and surya bhedana pranayamas for the advanced benefits. The breathing exercises of yoga called pranayama are greatly used in bronchitis for the muscles to relax and stay at comfort level. Deep breathing exercise of yoga helps the muscles to obtain fresh air and relax.
Alternate nostril breathing works wonders for the treatment of bronchitis. Yoga helps to decrease the troubles in the circulatory as well as respiratory system, which helps greatly in stress reduction. This improves the health of the individual as well as increases longevity.
Some of the particular Yoga asanas for bronchitis is as follows -
The shoulder lifts poses help to provide pumping effect to the shoulders as well as support the lungs for better activity. Providing exercise to the spine as well as the back, it relieves the muscles of the stiffness and fibrosis condition and also increases its flexibility. This asana provides good tone to the muscles of the body.
The half spine twist is a Yoga pose that strengthens the spine and is highly beneficial for the functioning of the liver and kidneys. The practitioner needs to sit in the lotus position. Then one has to try to turn the head backwards and unfold the legs and take one leg backwards.
Sukhasana helps the body to relax, thus helping to alleviate the problem of bronchitis. One has to sit in a comfortable position by folding both the legs. The hands have to rest on the knees. This yoga posture is also suitable for meditation. This pose also increases concentration and keeps your mind still.
Pawana Muktasana is a great pose to ease in bronchitis. This posture helps to keep the digestive system healthy. Any abnormality in the digestive system can also lead to discomfort in breathing and bronchitis. Hence it is essential that constipation is removed from the body to keep it rejuvenated.
Bronchitis can be controlled if Yoga asanas are practiced from the initial stages. The individual greatly benefits from Yoga not only in the concerned ailment, but in the overall health as well. A fit body and mind alleviates most of the problems of respiratory system. However, these should be done with proper attention and training.
- The Yoga asanas prescribed above should be strictly performed under the supervision of an experienced Yoga teacher.