There are currently over 3 millions people in Canada who suffer from asthma. They come from all walks of life and all age groups. Medical inhalators meant to relieve asthma symptoms are now being questioned, as it is believed by some that these medications, while relieving asthma symptoms almost instantly, may actually lead to increased attacks and symptoms in the long run.
Like most diseases and disorders there is a plethora of medication available both over the counter and with a prescription. Some of these just relive or mask symptoms without actually getting to the cause of the problem.
Many prominent experts (including Dr. Gay Hendricks, author of “Conscious Breathing”) on breathing are pointing to the fact that asthma is a disturbed breath pattern and that one way of approaching the treatment of asthma is through breath retraining for asthmatics. Asthmatics normally tend to take more breaths per minute than non- asthmatics. While it may seem like this would increase oxygen in the blood and cells it actually robs the body of oxygen. This is based on the fact that the more we breathe, the more carbon dioxide we breath out which is good only to a certain extent. If CO2 levels get too low in our bodies, the hemoglobins that carry oxygen thought the bloodstream become thick and don’t release enough oxygen to the cells. The body, in response to this decrease in oxygen to the cells, takes measures to make you breath slower- thus triggering the classic asthma attack.
How Can Yoga Help?
Many yoga breathing techniques focus on a natural breathing pattern, slowing the breath and restoring a natural rhythm. That being said, there are several yogic breathing techniques that may not be suited for asthmatics, such as rapid breathing, retention of inhalation or tightening of the throat. Also keep in mind that retraining your breath will take more than one yoga session. If you have been dealing with asthma for a number of years or your whole life, your breathing pattern is likely deeply engrained. It is a matter of consciously practicing yogic breathing until it becomes a force of habit, allowing your body to change its ways permanently.
** Never attempt any new form of exercise and never stop taking your medication without first consulting your doctor.**