Yoga has a wide range of health benefits, some of which are known to be specifically beneficial to improving your respiratory health, lung strength and breathing capacity.
Over the past few months, Claire from I Yoga London has adapted her personal yoga practice to include these three poses that support good lung health.
*Please note these are notes from a personal yoga practice, not from a yoga teacher.
Coronavirus has several key symptoms but the lungs are a target area for this virus to attack, particularly if you have any pre-existing lungs conditions like COPD, asthma or lung cancer.
Yoga in general has many benefits to support the immune system and calm the nervous system. Therefore, introducing any daily practice of any kind can help us to minimise risk, reduce symptoms if we get the virus and protect our state of mind during lockdown.
However, I have personally found that these three yoga poses help my entire respiratory system to feel stronger, clearer and with a greater capacity to breathe deeply.
(1) Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Fish pose is a gentle back bend, performed on the mat. It opens up the throat, nasal passageways, chest and heart chakra as well as the hip flexors and abdomen.
Fish pose also opens up the lungs, allowing for deeper breathing and may help to reduce symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma.
This pose is also known to energise the body overall, so great to practice if you are feeling anxious or fatigued to give yourself a boost. It is also known to detoxify.
Just be careful if you have high or low blood pressure, have had a serious lower back or neck injury, or suffer from insomnia or migraine.
(2) Simhasana (Lion Pose)
If you have come across this pose in a yoga class, it may have caused a few giggles. It can make you feel self-conscious at first, but one of the key benefits to Lion pose is that it releases tension and particularly around the throat chakra.
Lion pose is known to strengthen the lungs, throat and voice. It stimulates the tonsils and can help in general to support the immune system.
Right now, it feels an energising pose for me in my own practice, to clear the lungs and throat area and release any pent up stress from the situation we find ourselves in.
Just be careful if you have had serious or recent injury to the face, neck or tongue. And look for a variation if you have knee pain.
(3) Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
A pose that features as part of many yoga classes and sequences – the standing forward bend is not only calming, reduces stress, anxiety, tension and fatigue. It also relieves congestion, which promotes good health of the sinuses and mucus membranes.
Keeping your airways clean and healthy may help to prevent viruses entering the body but more generally it is a great way to rejuvenate the immune system.
Just be careful if you have a back injury. Ensure to bend your legs or look for a variation that ensures you are comfortable.
Join an online yoga class this week
Most London yoga studios are offering online yoga classes. Join one or more classes each week to benefit from added support for your immune system and general wellbeing during this time.