YOGA FOR COPD: Secrets Of Breathing From An Ancient Tradition
|Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D., psychologist and registered yoga teacher
Yoga is unique program for self-management for people with COPD or other chronic illnesses because yoga is one of the most comprehensive body, breath and mind systems I know.
According to Thomashaw and Walsh CO-Morbidity survey of over 3000 people with COPD on average have 6 co-morbid disorders. 60 to 80% of them take 5 to 10 medications and 15-25% people take more than 11 prescribed medication. Most commonly reported problems are high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, GERD (Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease), sinus disease, sleep apnea, weight loss, muscle weakness as well as depression and anxiety. (See footnote) Similar other surveys too point out that COPD affects the whole body and causes a wide range of negative emotions such as the sense of personal loss, hopelessness, depression, anxiety and panic attacks and anger and frustration.
Yoga can be particularly beneficial for us with COPD. We must constantly work on improving our physical health, breath function and emotional strength.
My yoga teacher used to say that breath is the bridge between the body and the mind. Breath really is the "BRIDGE' between the body and the mind because all medical conditions and negative emotions automatically cause such negatives changes in our breathing as the over breathing, under breathing, breath holding, chest breathing or jerky breath. Such negative breathing changes happen automatically and we are often not very aware of them.
By the same token, when we are healthy, feeling well, doing well and feeling good about ourselves and others, we automatically breathe more deeply, more slowly, fully and freely. Such positive breathing changes also happen automatically and we are often not very aware of them.
Everybody is writing about "secrets" these days. "Secrets of wealth," "Secrets of Success," "Secrets of Happy and Satisfying Relationships" and the list goes on. Here are the "Secrets of Breathing" which are practical and can be easily utilized:
So without further ado, let's put this to practice.
A Brief Body, Breath and Mind Exercise
After doing this body, breath and mind exercise, check how you feel and how is your breathing.
Footnote: Byron Thomashow, MD, John W. Walsh "COPD and Co-Morbidities: The COPD Foundation Survey" presented at the "COPD and Primary Care: Treating the Whole Patient." Workshop, Nov. 4th 2006, Bethesda, MD
Copyright 2007, Mind Publications