The Benefits of Yoga for Asthma Patients

Abhilasha Mangla 6 minute read

In Chronic Illnesses, Yoga


In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the factors that contribute to asthma, as well as how well-regulated yoga for asthma patients and carefully curated breathing exercises for asthma can help patients gain physiological relief from the symptoms, and manage the condition better.

Asthma signs and symptoms

The history of asthma dates back centuries. It was first mentioned in scriptures from China as far back as 2600 BC, before gaining its modern-day name and definition about 2000 years later. However, a further 2 millennia later, the condition is still shrouded in a certain amount of mystery, despite afflicting over 300 million people worldwide.

Present-day medical science defines the condition as a respiratory infection, and asthma signs and symptoms can range from breathing difficulties and chest pain to frequent coughs and wheezing.

Despite decades of research, medical professionals haven’t yet been able to identify definitive causes for the condition, there are multiple factors that may contribute to asthma:

  • Genetics – as with many other human illnesses, genes can play a big role in the development of asthma, and it can be passed down from one generation to the next.
  • Allergies – a higher propensity to develop allergies may sometimes act as an asthma trigger for certain people
  • Respiratory infections – these infections may be contracted at a young age, when the lungs are still developing. Damage to lung tissue in infancy or early childhood can give rise to asthma later on
  • Environmental factors – people who are regularly exposed to allergens like dust and pollen before the immune system is fully formed, may have a higher risk of developing asthma in adulthood.


Due to the varied nature of the contributing factors, keeping an eye out for early symptoms of asthma may help patients get the appropriate diagnosis well in advance, to help them manage the condition better.


Early symptoms of asthma

The effect of the condition can vary from person to person, but there are a few asthma signs and symptoms that one should watch for. These may include the following:

  • Breathing difficulty or shortness of breath
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Lack of sleep, as a result of coughing or wheezing
  • Wheezing when breathing out normally – this may be an especially common symptom noticed in young children

Certain patients may also experience asthma signs and symptoms in very specific situations, or while performing certain tasks:


  • Exercise: Heavy cardiovascular exercise can induce a shortness of breath or wheezing, causing discomfort. This is also more likely to occur in colder, drier climates.
  • At work: People who work in carpentry or industrial settings may have their symptoms triggered by irritants they come in contact with, such as sawdust or fumes from chemicals.
  •  Allergies: This is generally caused by airborne particles or pollutants such as pollen, dried skin particles, or spores from plants or fungi.



While asthma can’t be completely cured, there are a variety of treatments that can help patients manage its symptoms to a great extent. Aside from medication, yoga for asthma patients, coupled with regular breathing exercises for asthma can provide a natural approach to help patients get substantial symptomatic relief from the condition.


Yoga for Asthma and Wheezing: How does it work?


Strengthening the body

While regular physical exercise is critical for better well-being, and enhancing physical strength, asthma patients may have trouble following a vigorous aerobic exercise regimen. This is where yoga for asthma and wheezing can play a substantial role. 

Simple stretches which focus on the chest and abdominal region can help to strengthen various core muscles in the body. This also results in better mobility and flexibility, without placing undue strain on the lungs or the rest of the cardiovascular system.


Yoga for asthma patients help enhance respiratory health

To help mitigate the effects of asthma, patients are advised to work on enhancing their overall lung function. Due to the impact the condition can have even on normal breathing, a well-functioning respiratory system can help lay a good foundation for managing the condition more effectively. 

A carefully curated routine of yoga for asthma patients will generally include several postures and exercises that expand the chest, and encourage slow, steady breathing patterns. With regular practice, this helps to bolsters respiratory health by enhancing the flexibility of various muscles in the system. The rhythmic breathing patterns also help to improve the oxygenation of blood, which in turn is beneficial for numerous other vital organs within the body.


Breathing exercises asthma patients open up lung airways

The main effect asthma has on the body is the narrowing and inflammation of airways, which is what causes the breathing problems for patients. Specific breathing exercises for asthma, in conjunction with well-regulated yoga for asthma patients, can help you gain greater control over your breathing patterns. 

Studies have shown that forceful exhalation, for instance, can be an effective way to unclog the airways in the body. It is recommended to combine this with other exercises such as alternate nostril breathing, and diaphragmatic breathing, which place an emphasis on different parts of the respiratory system. These exercises, when practiced regularly, have been shown to help to keep different symptoms of asthma in check.


Reducing the frequency of attacks

High levels of stress and anxiety can sometimes manifest in the form of panic attacks, which further exacerbate shortness of breath and chest pain. This is typically the result of disturbances in the nervous system, which can be a trigger for certain people.

Research has shown that the regular practice of yoga for asthma patients can substantially improve breath-body coordination, and also bolster and stabilize nerve activity. This can go a long way towards inducing a state of calm and relaxation in the body, and in turn reducing the incidence of asthma attacks in patients.


While asthma can occasionally be a severe condition for people to have to live with, there are a number of ways in which the effects of it can be controlled. Regularly practicing yoga for asthma and wheezing, can be an excellent starting point for asthma patients. It can also go a long way towards quickly arresting early symptoms of asthma, and prevent the restrictive effect the condition can have on their day-to-day movements. However, given the chronic nature of the condition, it is recommended that you seek appropriate medical advice before building an exercise regimen, to ensure that all essential precautions are in place.


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