Keeping our Lungs Healthy
We often don’t consider the important role our lungs play in keeping us strong and well. It's not until we experience problems breathing that we take notice. But the truth is, like the rest of our body, our lungs need daily care and attention.
Breathing feeds oxygen to every cell in the body. Without sufficient oxygen, people are more prone to health problems.
We can prevent damage to our lungs by doing the following:-
- Not smoke
- Avoid exposure to pollutants both indoors and outdoors
- Get regular healthcare check-ups
Did you know that yoga is a great exercise for lung health? Yoga will strengthen the muscles in your chest, increase your lung capacity and boost oxygen intake.
Below are a few simple postures you can do at home to strengthen the lungs.
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhan Pranayama)
Practising Nadishodhan Pranayama can release accumulated stress and help the body to relax. It's proven to be therapeutic for most respiratory problems and to improve lung function in asthma patients. This is one of the best for patients with breathing trouble.
Sit comfortably with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Place your left hand on the left knee with palms open to the sky. Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril. Use your right thumb to close the right nostril and exhale gently through the left nostril. Now keeping the right nostril closed inhale through the left nostril and then press the left nostril gently with the ring finger and little finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils.
2 - 5. Lung Stretches
Sit in Sukhasana or easy pose. Now hold your left wrist with your right hand behind the back. Inhale and pull your shoulders behind and expand your chest. Exhale and bend forward and touch your right forehead to your right knee. Inhale and return to the starting position. Repeat the steps and touch your forehead to your left knee. Repeat the steps and touch your forehead to the floor in front of you.
6. Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
Start on your hands and knees in a 'tabletop' position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Centre your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor. As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees in position. Release your head toward the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest.
Inhale, coming back to neutral 'tabletop' position on your hands and knees. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
7. Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
From the neutral 'tabletop' position, as you inhale, lift your sitting bones and chest toward the ceiling, allowing your belly to sink toward the floor. Lift your head to look straight forward.
Exhale, coming back to neutral 'tabletop' position on your hands and knees. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
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