I’ve already talked about yoga for the spine before, and this time I’m going to talk a bit about yoga poses for the lungs. Why? Well, these two are actually connected. A slouching back shrinks the space for your lungs to properly breath. Therefore, these exercises will make sure that you create some space and aid your lungs.
Another thing is, if you have a chronic pulmonary disease, research has shown that people who do yoga twice a week improves their lung function. It’s going to be a challenge in the beginning, especially if you are short of breath most of the time. So, take it slow and don’t give up! The best types of yoga for you will be Hatha and Yin.
Yoga Exercises for the Lungs
Seated Cat-Cow (Upavistha Bitilasana Marjaryasana)
The Cat-Cow movement is very well known in the world of yoga. You’ve probably done it many times before. But in this article I’m going to talk about the seated cat-cow movement. This one is more focused on the stretch of the shoulders and to open your chest, rather than the spine. Which is basically what the normal cat-cow movement is focused on.
This little flow is quite easy and you can incorporate it into your daily yoga routine when you are warming up. You just sit down in a cross-legged position and you put your hands with the palms down on your knees. On an inhalation you’ll bring your chest forward and your chin a bit up. On the exhalation you round the back and bring your chin to your chest. And that’s it. I recommend you do this about 5 times and you’re good to go ;).
Cobra And Upward Facing Dog
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
The cobra pose belongs probably to have of the best-known yoga poses and yet I see a lot of people not doing it the proper way. I even see yoga teachers that are doing half a yoga pose and mixing it with an upward-facing dog (this is called Seal Pose by the way ;). Let’s give those two the attention they deserve and give them a good explanation.
First of all, start with your whole body with the front on the mat. Put your hands next to your chest and make sure that the index fingers are parallel to the side of the mats. Before you push yourself up, make sure that you activate your legs, meaning that you will actively push your feet and legs into the mat. This will activate your core and protect your lower back. When you’ve done this, you can gentle push yourself up on an inhalation.
One thing you’ve got to take care of within this asana is that you take care of your shoulders. You want to open up your chest, so before you push yourself up, you should be aware that the shoulder blades are squeezing in a bit. This makes that the chest will come forward during the cobra pose and that your chest opens up perfectly.
Another thing that you can test if you are in the asana in a right way is by lifting up your hands off the mat and seeing if you can stay in the pose. If you do collapse it means that you’ve put too much weight on your hands and you are actually doing an upward facing dog.
Things that I often see in this position are that people often want to be the best cobra and therefore they push themselves up with their hands. They want to be the tallest and rise above everybody else. Or they just do it because they are explained it in such a way that it’s lifting them up completely.
Within Cobra Pose you have to make sure that you don’t lift yourself up too much, you must feel comfortable in the position as well. Otherwise, you might risk putting too much pressure on your lower vertebrae and even on your shoulders as you are pushing yourself up. This is not a Cobra Pose at all and by pushing yourself up you won’t gain any benefit of the cobra at all as you won’t be rounding those shoulders.
Upward Facing Dog (Urdvha Mukha Svanasana)
As I mentioned before, Coba and Upward-Facing dog are looking a bit similar to each other, but with the main difference is that with the latter you do use your arms. And your hips are lifted off the mat. In general, you’ll do this asana when you are in a flow and it’s not so much an asana that goes on its own.
Plank Pose (Chaturanga)
So for this position you generally start in Chaturanga. Doing this position in a correct way is already half the work. If you do it just halfway, then your up-dog is also gonna be done quite half. Which might cause injuries. So let’s break this asana down a bit so you can do it in a good