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Breathe easy with these yoga poses

Many of us do not breathe right and the reasons range from genetics, bad posture, diet lacking in key nutrients like vitamin C and zinc, and hypersensitivity to external triggers ranging from allergens to stressors.

In yoga, the slower you breathe, the longer you will live. The more efficient your respiratory rate, the more energy you will have.

Shameem Akthar, a certified yoga acharya with the internationally acclaimed Sivananda Yoga Centre, Kerala (headquartered in Canada) guides you through six poses designed to expand your lung capacity.

Some tips

  • These poses can be modified to suit individual capacity. For chest expanders like the fish pose, use a cushion under the back to ease difficulty in breathing. You can use props like cushions or folded mats whenever you experience difficulty doing the poses.
  • At the hint of the slightest breathlessness, stop and relax before proceeding.
  • Deeper poses like Ushtrasana (camel) must be done gradually, easing into it slowly and steadily until the body gets accustomed to it.
  • Always breathe through the nose unless indicated otherwise.
  • Those with severe breathing problems must avoid synthetic fabrics, at least while doing the poses.
  • Complement these practices with conscious breathing and a sustained pranayama practice.

    Some recommended books are Yogic Management of Asthma and Diabetes by Dr Swami Shankardevananda (who himself learnt to control asthma with yoga) and Yoga therapy in Asthma, Diabetes and Heart Diseases by Sadhakas for the Yoga Institute, Santa Cruz, for those who wish to power themselves further through lifestyle changes dietary habits, relaxation techniques.

    Text: Shameem Akthar
    Photographs: Saisuresh Sivaswamy
    Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and about her upcoming workshops at
    Also read: How to do yoga


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