Healing Kitchen

Yoga Exercises for Asthma


Try doing the following yoga exercises (also known as poses) for at least 15 minutes a day. Both the Standing Forward Bend and the Cat Stretch serve as excellent breathing exercises and stress reducers. They will also increase your flexibility and strength, and boost your circulation.


Although these exercises may seem tiring at first, don't give up. You'll find them gradually becoming easier, and after a few months, you'll begin to notice results.


You can easily do these exercises at home, on a bare wood or rug-covered floor. If you prefer, you can spread a blanket or a yoga mat on the floor. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, so you can stretch unencumbered. Don't wear shoes.


When doing the exercises, proceed slowly and don't strain. If you experience any breathing difficulty, try to modify the exercises or stop them altogether.


Caution: If you have back pain or a disk problem, check with your doctor before taking up yoga.



This pose will help relax the muscles in your chest, allowing you to breathe more easily and deeply. Step 2, in which your upper body is inverted (hanging to the floor), will help the mucus drain from your lungs.

  1. Stand with your feet together and legs straight. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet but don't lift your heels off the floor. Inhale deeply and stretch both arms straight up over your head. Your arms should be alongside your ears, your whole body should be stretching upward, and your fingertips should reach for the sky (see Illustration A).
  2. As you exhale, stretch your hands toward the floor. Keeping your knees straight, either grab hold of the back of your legs wherever you can or touch the floor to the outside of your feet with your fingertips or palms. Breathe gently. Try to stretch your hips toward the ceiling (see Illustration B). Hold the position for at least 10 seconds. As you practice the pose and it becomes easier, gradually increase the time to one minute. Stand up slowly and repeat as many times as desired.




The rhythmic stretching and compression of your abdomen in this pose will help you learn how to control your breathing. The deep breaths will help clear your lungs and relax your chest muscles. Focusing on your breathing will help release overall tension.

  1. Kneel on the floor with your hands, knees, and feet hip-width apart. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders and your elbows should be straight but not locked. Inhale, arch your back slightly, and look up. Direct your tailbone toward the ceiling (see Illustration A). Hold this position as you inhale and exhale three times.
  2. On the third exhalation, round your back and tuck your pelvis underneath you. Keep your shoulders relaxed and look down through your arms (see Illustration B). Tuck your chin to your chest and hold for three more exhalations and inhalations. On the third inhalation, go into the arch again. Repeat three or four times.

 For more information, see the WholeHealthMD Reference Library entry on yoga.

Date Published: 02/08/2006
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