Yoga Cures: Asthma

By Ana Mantica

Although asthma gets the most press for afflicting kids, even if you didn’t have it as a child, you can still develop it as an adult. In fact, about 14 million adults in the U.S. suffer from the chronic condition. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, there are actually two types of asthma—allergic and non-allergic. And although triggers vary from person to person, the symptoms of an attack are usually the same: shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing, all of which tend to be worse in the morning or late at night. Many different triggers can spark a flare up, but some of the more common culprits include allergens (dust mites, pollen, mold, pet dander), irritants in the air (smoke, paint fumes, scented soaps), respiratory infections, exercise, the weather, stress, food, and some medications.

While yoga can’t cure asthma, certain poses can certainly help open up your airways, helping you breathe better. To help keep your airways clear and keep a coughing fit from coming on, try these two poses recommended by Baxter Bell, M.D., a medical acupuncturist and registered yoga instructor in Oakland, California.


Standing positions such as this one help keep your back in neutral, allowing your lungs to work more efficiently. When you're standing, gravity pulls your belly organs down toward the floor, so your diaphragm has greater freedom to move, making it easier to breathe.  

Start by standing with your feet together. Keep your spine straight, head erect, shoulders down, and arms alongside of the body with palms facing inward, fingers spread. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed on both feet. Hold this position for five to 10 breaths.

Goddess  (Support Reclining Bound Angle) 

Note: You’ll need a bolster.

This pose helps open up your chest, which may ease symptoms like coughing almost immediately. It’s also very relaxing, so you won’t risk expending extra energy by getting riled up, which can exacerbate your struggle to breathe.

Begin sitting on the floor. Lay a bolster directly behind you, running the same direction as your spine. Place the soles of your feet together, your knees open to the sides in a diamond shape. Lie back making sure your lower back, upper back, and head are supported on the bolster. Place your arms alongside your body with forearms and elbows against the floor, palms facing up. Hold this position for five to 20 minutes.


13 May 2008, 18:30
The Goddess is great-it is a technique also used in Feldenkreis. It really works, I am asthmatic--it makes you feel better.

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