Yoga is a meditative practice that originated in India. It focuses on uniting the body and the mind by performing physical postures (asanas) while engaging in mindful breathing techniques (pranayama). For people who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), yoga is a low-impact exercise that promotes both physical and mental health.
Here, we offer you 4 benefits you can gain from practicing yoga.
1. Greater Breath Control
You can practice yogic breathing techniques at any time to increase your breath control and reduce feelings of breathlessness. Diaphragmatic breathing — also called abdominal breathing — is a technique that helps people learn how to use the diaphragm correctly for breathing. If you have COPD, deep abdominal breathing helps you inhale and exhale more air through the lungs.
2. Stronger Respiratory Muscles
When you practice yogic physical postures, you begin to strengthen the muscles you use to breathe. Yoga poses increase movement and flexibility in the chest, which helps stretch those muscles in all directions and opens up more space for you to take deeper breaths. Postures also help you build up strength in the spinal and core muscles, which improves your posture and teaches you to engage your abdominal muscles for stability and breathing.
3. Better Exercise Tolerance
If you have COPD, you may be scared to exercise regularly. But lack of exercise causes your muscles to become weak and atrophied, which can speed up the progression of your lung disease. Yoga is a low-impact way to exercise regularly and increase muscular strength. With consistent practice, you’ll be able to build up your exercise tolerance and stay active for longer periods of time.
4. Less Stress and Anxiety
Many people who have COPD also suffer from stress and anxiety related to fear of becoming breathless. Over time, chronic stress causes chronic inflammation in the body, which can weaken your immune system and accelerate the progression of your chronic lung disease. But studies have shown that participating in yoga can lower full-body levels of inflammation and reduce production of the stress hormone cortisol. Practicing yoga helps you learn how to calm your mind and body and breathe deeply during stressful situations.
Always Practice Yoga Safely
Like with any exercise, take safety precautions before you jump into a yoga class. Talk to your doctor to make sure you’re able to participate in physical postures — you should not perform poses that restrict your breathing in any way. Find a certified yoga instructor and inform them about your condition and limitations. Make sure you bring an inhaler and plenty of water to classes and stop if you feel short of breath.
While yoga can teach you techniques to control the symptoms of your COPD, cellular therapy treatment has the potential to slow down the progression of the disease. At Lung Health Institute, we utilize platelet-rich plasma-platelet concentrate (PRP-PC) and other healing cells from a person’s own blood to try and reduce inflammation in the lungs. If you are interested in learning more about cellular therapy, contact one of our patient coordinators today.