The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all reconsider things we used to take for granted — like in-school learning, eating out, blowing out birthday candles and … less exciting … lung health.
The American Lung Association estimates that there may be as many as 24 million American adults living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). As the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 become more understood, experts fear these numbers will increase.
Yoga has been scientifically proven to strengthen our immune systems and improve respiratory functioning. A regular practice can reduce respiratory rates and increase the strength of respiratory muscles.
In fact, slow, abdominal, yogic breathing helps the lungs exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide efficiently and effectively.
Some people with lung health challenges might think that yoga is “not for them.” In fact, Kundalini Yoga is a terrific, low-impact tool to increase lung health.
3HO, an organization that promotes Kundalini Yoga worldwide, has instructions for simple pranayamas — or breathing exercises — that are practiced to achieve a specific outcome such as improved lung function.
The best part? You don’t have to turn your body into a pretzel. And almost anyone can practice them at any time.
All you need is a chair, a nose and two fingers.
Here’s how it works.
Alternate nostril breathing:
Sit up straight in a comfortable position.
Use your thumb to close one nostril. Inhale deeply through the other nostril. At the end of the inhale, close the open nostril with your index finger and exhale through the open nostril under your thumb. Inhale through your open nostril. Then close the nostril with your thumb and exhale through your open nostril under your index finger.
Repeat. As slowly as possible but still with comfort.
Back and forth.
Continue for 3-5 minutes.
Interested in more information on Kundalini Yoga and other breathing exercises? Visit 3HO.org.