What to do about my asthma?

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

According to yoga, if you are able to keep your physical posture right, you can get rid of asthma. Therefore, the secret is: keep your physical posture right.

When you have asthma the chest constricts, the shoulders droop forward, the body bends forward. There is constriction in the lungs and difficulty in breathing. People use an inhaler, take steam with the purpose of opening the constriction a little.

According to yoga, if you suffer from asthma, regardless of your age, no matter if you are an old person or a child, you have to do only one thing: expand the chest, so that once the lungs are open it is easier to breathe. The appropriate practices to open up the chest are bhujangasana, dhanurasana, ushtrasana. These practices expand the chest. They must be performed not only once but you should remain in one posture for at least two to three minutes, according to your comfort level. Do not perform the asana mechanically.

For example, if you perform bhujangasana, do not come down immediately. Remain in that state for two minutes, or as long as possible, by taking normal breaths and then come down. If you perform dhanurasana, hold the posture for as long as possible and slowly prepare such a condition, such a state in your body that your chest and your lungs never constrict.

When people come to yoga for the treatment of asthma they are taught backward bending postures and with that alone they are benefited. Therefore, these three yogasana, bhujangasana, dhanurasana and ushtrasana, must be practised. For anyone who has difficulty in breathing, whether it is bronchitis, asthma or eosinophilia, the backward bending postures are successful in removing every condition related to the lungs.

—21 September 2014, Tyagaraj Sports Stadium, Delhi, India