Asthma can be controlled by practising yoga postures, such as Matsyasana, that open up the chest, rib cage and the thoracic region. Matsyasana, or the fish pose, expands the chest and helps in better breathing. This is accomplished by taking deep inhalations while in the posture.
1. Lie on the floor with your legs extended.
2. Bring your arms by your side, palms facing down
3. Bend your elbows, keeping your hands under your hips, and press down with your forearms while lifting your upper body.
4. Move your chest upwards and backwards, creating a bend in your thoracic spine, where your rib cage is.
5. Drop your head backwards, not supporting the weight of the body, but merely a balancing point. The muscles of the back are the ones supporting you in this pose.
6. Breathe slowly and stay in the posture for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
7. Draw your lower belly in to activate your core, inhale and press into your forearms, gently lifting your head from the earth. Tuck your chin, exhale and slowly lie back on the mat.
Alternatives: As long as you don’t not feel any discomfort in your lower back or neck, you may keep your knees bent, feet flat on the floor; legs extended on the floor, feet flexed, muscles engaged; or, cross your legs in siddhasana/easy sitting or lotus pose.
• Expands the lung capacity
• Opens the chest, correcting round-shoulders
• Encourages deep breathing
• Helps relieve asthma
• People suffering from blood pressure, lower back problems, neck problems should not practise the posture. Though these postures are easy to do and can be done by all at home, as with all exercise, it’s advisable to consult a doctor before starting them.