Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a combination of lung diseases that makes it difficult for an individual to breathe. While there are medications that can help alleviate the symptoms, many advocate the practice of yoga to help individuals improve their lung health. Yoga is a low-impact exercise that can be an excellent workout for people with weak lung function. Not only does it help improve their physical health, but also their emotional well-being.
The practice of yoga is a mind-body practice that helps COPD patients condition their mind that their bodily symptoms can improve once they adhere to positive thinking.
How Yoga Can Help
Yoga helps in the healing process of COPD patients in two ways — through the asanas or the poses, and the pranayamas or the breathing techniques.
The poses practiced in yoga can help in improving the body’s flexibility, range of motion, balance, and overall strength. By constantly doing these physical postures, COPD patients can benefit from improving their energy levels and clearing the mind from the worrying symptoms of their disease.
The more important component of yoga for COPD patients is the breathing exercises. With yoga, patients can learn how they can increase their lung function through proper breath control. Together with yoga poses, breathing techniques can allow patients to improve their overall health.
The Benefits of Yoga for COPD Patients
Patients should not worry about the yoga poses as these are often adjusted depending on their comfort level. Instructors will not force patients to do complicated poses. Alternatively, they can come up with a modified plan that uses gentle poses that would not leave individuals breathless.
1.Low Impact Exercise
Patients with COPD need to have low-impact exercises because they cannot exert too much effort, or it will only worsen their symptoms. Yoga is great because it does not require patients to do difficult moves. They can do various yoga exercises even while they are sitting, standing, or stationary. The main goal is to increase the body’s flexibility while building stamina.
2.Enhanced Lung Function
One of the challenges of having COPD is the limited capacity of the lungs to expand fully. With pranayamas, patients can learn the proper breathing techniques that can help them strengthen the lung muscles that were affected by the disease process.
3.Manage Stress and Anxiety Levels
Suffering from COPD can be depressing. About 40% of patients with this debilitation lung disease reported experiencing depressive states. Patients with late-stage COPD would have the worst symptoms. Ideally, diagnosis is easy, but there may be times when a doctor may make X ray mistakes where they would not be able to catch the disease early on. It could also be due to the patient’s inability to heed the doctor’s advice.
Nevertheless, the deep breathing exercise and meditation in yoga can help patients become mindful of their emotions, helping them cope with their symptoms. Aside from the poses, the social interaction that yoga classes provide can give patients the time to meet other people who can help them overcome their depressive state.
4.Encourage Smoking Cessation
Most COPD patients are smokers. By practicing yoga, they can divert their stress with mind-body exercises and help aid them in their effort to quit the harmful practice of smoking.
Despite being a low-impact exercise, COPD patients must first secure a clearance from their doctor before engaging in yoga. It is also important to work with a yoga instructor with the proper knowledge about the disease process and the poses allowed that will not worsen the patient’s current condition.