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Tainan, Taiwan
I'm an ESL teacher from Colorado. I worked in Taipei in 2000 for over a year, paid off my undergrad loans, traveled, saved $ to travel some more. So when I got pregnant in grad school I thought I could return to Taiwan, be economically self sufficient while my daughter masters Mandarin.We came to Tainan when she was 2. Taiwan is an excellent base to explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety and benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yoga for Bronchitis

Noy sure if the bookmarks work, but I did some yoga this afternoon on the roof and found it helpful in my breathing.

Pawanmuktasana series                           
Poses having forward bends improves blood flow and massages the posterior lobes of the lungs. Poses having backward bends help remove excess mucus from the bronchial tree. Twisting poses squeezes the lateral parts of the lungs thereby improving their function. Pranayamas on the other hand allows more oxygen to enter the lungs through the practice of kumbhaka. The retention process facilitates deeper penetration of oxygen thereby increasing its chances of being absorbed by the hemoglobin in the blood. Ujjayi pranayama is practiced in the beginning as it causes less strain and then one may proceed towards nadi sodhana and surya bhedana pranayamas for more benefits.

Pawanmuktasana series


1. Commence with pawanmuktasana series. Sufferers who are elderly or weak should practise only this series along with makarasana. Pawan means wind. Mukta means release. Asana, of course, means pose or posture. Thus, the Pawanmuktasana sequences are designed to release the flow of energy, and remove any blockages that prevent its free flow in the body, or in the mind. Continued practice of these sequences can prevent new blockages from forming. These move-ments are excellent for people suffering from rheumatic arthritis, high blood pressure, or for people with heart problems who are advised to avoid vigorous exercise.

Lower Body Pawanmuktasana Sequence

The lower body cycle of Pawanmuktasana sequentially opens the joints, from the toes to the hips. People with poor circulation in the legs will benefit from this simple practice.
1) Toe Bending: The six lower body meridians all begin or end in the toes. This simple practice begins to awaken the flow right at the tips of the body. Sit with your legs extended and your hands behind you on the floor. (If you have tight hamstrings or sciatica, sit on a cushion.) Wave your toes back and forth ten times. Move slowly and hold the pose for a few seconds, keeping the ankles relaxed.

2) Ankle Bending: Remain with legs straight and flex the feet at the ankles, and then extend them. Move the feet back and forth ten times. We are now beginning to free up the ankle joints, through which all the lower meridians run. Again move slowly, and hold each position for a few seconds.

3) Ankle Rotation: Since some meridians run through the side of the ankles, simply bending the ankles doesn't remove all blockages. Now, we circle the ankles. Keeping the knees from moving, and the feet apart, move the right foot in a circle: ten times in one direction and then ten times in the other direction. Do the same with the left foot. Next, bring the feet together and circle both feet, ten times, with both feet moving in same direction. Switch direction, and do ten more. Finally, separate the feet so the big toes can just touch, and rotate the feet in opposite directions ten times. Then switch and do the reverse direction for each foot ten times. [1]

4) Knee Bending: Hold under the right thigh and lift the leg in the air. Alternately straighten, and then bend the knee so that the heel comes close to the back of the thigh. Do this ten times. Repeat on the other side.

5) Ankle Cranking: A deeper rotation for the ankles comes when they are cranked by hand. Bend the right leg and rest the ankle on the left knee. Use your left hand and take hold of the foot. Rotate the ankle ten times in each direction. A nice option is to interlace your fingers with the toes and spread them while you crank. Now, do the other ankle.

6) Half Butterfly: Rest the right foot on the left thigh, and hold it there with the left hand. Use the right hand to gently bounce the right knee down to the floor and back up. Do this ten times. Eventually you may be able touch the floor, but if you can't, don't be worried about it; you are opening your hip joints. Switch sides and do ten more.

7) Hip Joint Rotation: Hold your right foot with your left hand and use your right hand to cradle your right knee. Flex your right foot to help protect the knee. Move the knee in big circles so that you can feel the hip joint being rotated. Do ten times in each direction. Switch sides and repeat.

8) Full Butterfly: Sit on the floor, or if your lower back tends to round backward, sit on a cushion to raise your hips. Bring your feet together and in, as close to your groin as you can. Keep your feet pressing together, widening the distance between the knees. Use your hands to press the knees down, and release them, allowing them to bounce up. Repeat bouncing the knees twenty times.

9) Crow Walking: This is the most challenging action of the series. Squat with your feet either flat on the floor, or stay on your toes if you can't easily get your heels down. Now, keeping your butt near your heels, walk. Do this for a short time. As an option, you can try to touch your knees to the floor with each step. Crow Walking is an excellent preparation for the sitting meditation postures. Dr. Motoyama also mentions that Crow Walking can relieve constipation: drink two glasses of water, walk for a minute, drink another two glasses and walk for another minute. Your constipation should pass if you do this three or four times.

Upper Body Pawanmuktasana Sequence

The upper body cycle of Pawanmuktasana sequentially opens the joints from the fingers to the shoulders. Even if you cannot sense any energetic benefits from the movements, you are benefiting the joints. Fluids often accumulate in the joints, resulting in stagnation, inflammation, and stiffness that can lead to rheumatism and neuralgia. Pawanmuktasana is recommended for people suffering from these conditions because it helps to move the fluids.

1) Hand Clenching: The six upper body meridians begin or end in the tips of the fingers. We will be awakening the flow of energy through these meridians. Sit with your legs extended out in front of you (or if that is uncomfortable, sit cross-legged or sit on a cushion). Extend your arms so that the hands are at shoulder level. Start with the palms open and facing each other. Now, close your hands with your thumbs inside the fist, and reopen them. Do this ten times. You are stimulating the energy at the tips of the fingers. Move slowly, deliberately.

2) Wrist Bending: With the arms still straight, open your palms, so they face away from you, fingers pointing up. Next drop the hands, so the fingers are pointing straight down. Wave the hands, ten times keeping the fingers straight. Do not bend the knuckles. You are now removing blockages to energy flow in the wrist joint. Go slowly.

3) Wrist Rotation: Begin with the right palm closed into a fist, facing the floor. The thumb should be inside the fist. If your arm is getting tired, support it with the free hand. Rotate the right wrist in a circle ten times in one direction, and then ten times in the other direction. Do the same with the left wrist. Next, circle both wrists together, ten times in same direction. Switch direction, and do ten more. Finally do this again, but rotate the wrists in opposite directions ten times. Then switch directions, and do it ten more times.

4) Elbow Bending: Hold your arms out in front of you with the palms facing up. Bend at the elbows as you inhale, and touch your fingers to your shoulders. As you exhale, extend the arms again. Repeat this ten times. Next, do the same motion, but start with the arms stretched wide to the side. This practice removes blockages found in the elbow joints.

5) Shoulder Circles: Hold your right fingertips to the right shoulder, keeping your elbow at the same level as the shoulder. Your left hand rests on the left knee. Move the right elbow in large circles. Inhale as you lift up, and exhale as the elbow descends. Do ten circles in each direction, and then switch arms. After doing each arm individually, bring both hands to the shoulders and slowly trace ten large circles with the arms moving in opposite directions. Try to touch the elbows together as they come in front of you. After ten circles in one direction do ten more in the other direction. You have now opened the shoulder joints.
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Other Asanas

Others are recommended to select a suitable practice program from amongst the following asanas in this order:

Shakti bandha series :The sequence of the postures is: Naukà Chalan (rowing the boat), Chakki Chalan (grinding mill), Vruksha Kshaya (chopping wood), Sutra Dharan (pulling the rope), Namaskàr, Vayu Nishàkàsana, Udar Karshanàsana.

Surya namaskara, (Sun Salutations)

Vajrasana series (shashankasana, shashank-bhujangasana, ushtrasana, majariasana, supta Vajrasana),

Thunderbolt Pose
Intoxicating Bliss
Breath Balancing
Gracious Pose
Roaring Lion
Hero Pose
Cat Stretch
Tiger Pose
Hare Pose
Striking Cobra
Bowing Pose
Camel Pose
Half Camel
Sleeping Thunderbolt

Pada hastasana (Standing hands to feet pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow pose)

Kandharasana, (Shoulder Pose)

chakrasana, (Wheel Pose)

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

Ardha matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the fishes)

baddha padmasana (Bound lotus pose)

SARVANGASAN (Shoulder Stand)

Sarvangasan should be performed along with sinhasana. Increased blood circulation due to this asana enables the thyroid glands to receive a good blood supply. It also helps in relieving bronchitis, dyspepsia, and varicose veins and increases digestive capacity. The sarvanga-asana should not be performed by woman who is menstruating.

UTTAN TADASANA (palm tree pose)

A very good exercise for the lungs as it massages every air sac and strengthens them. It is also useful in treating hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, bronchitis, and backache and shoulder pain.

Halasana (Plow pose)

Matsyasana (Fish pose)

Standing and bending asanas including trikonasana, hasta uttanasana, dwi koriasana, lolasana, etc. will strengthen the chest.

Pranayama: All pranayamas will enhance and develop the respiratory capacity and resistance. Especially recommended are ujjayi, kapalbhati, bhastrika and nadi shodhana (up to stage 3).

Mudras and bandhas: Yoga mudra, prana mudra, jalandhara bandha and moola bandha.

Shatkriyas: Neti should be practised daily and kunjal kriya should be performed daily for one week.

Diet: During an attack it is best to only take fruit and vegetable juices. Then barley water and watery kichari or vegetable broth can be taken. Avoid cold drinks and foods. Eat plenty of vegetables raw, steamed or lightly boiled. Citrus fruits help to loosen and cut the phlegm, as do onions, radishes and garlic. Hot milk with a little ginger and black pepper will also loosen the phlegm and facilitate its removal. This can be taken at night instead of the evening meal.

 Fasting: This is highly recommended. If a full fast cannot be undertaken it is advisable to miss the evening meal each day.

Further recommendations:

1. Avoid stuffy, overheated and unventilated rooms. Keep the chest and throat warm, but always ensure adequate ventilation, especially while sleeping. Don't sit on cold floors and avoid draughts.

2. Bronchitis sufferers should not take cold morning showers, and during the time of attacks, a hot steamy bath should be taken.

3. Cough should not be suppressed, as it is nature's way of clearing the phlegm and infective material from the bronchial tree. Removal of phlegm can be promoted by hot fomentations to the back and chest, then finishing with cold.

4. Smoking should be given up as it directly irritates the bronchial mucosa. Without leaving smoking behind, no measures will prove very effective in overcoming chronic bronchitis or eosinophilia.

5. Daily walking is beneficial, and deep breathing should be practiced at intervals throughout the day.

6. Steam inhalations at night are very helpful and hot foot baths with a tablespoon of mustard in water often give great relief.

7. If a person is gasping for breath, rub the arms or feet hard towards the heart.

Relaxation: Yoga nidra provides deep relaxation and develops awareness. Often chronic cough becomes a characteristic habit and part of the personality of the sufferer from chronic bronchitis. In the beginning, cough may worsen when yoga nidra is practised. This is usually a psychological reaction. One who has become accustomed to the habit of coughing does so unconsciously as a means of tension release. When all such activities and movements cease in yoga nidra, the psychological cough commonly asserts itself and the impulse to cough becomes prominent. The sufferer can learn and evolve beyond this disease rapidly if he can recognise the action of this coping mechanism in his lifestyle, and learn to resist and overcome it.
Meditation: Ajapa japa, with khechari mudra and ujjayi pranayama, rotating awareness from navel to throat and throat to navel in the frontal psychic passage, is also most valuable in helping to gradually recognise and leave behind a chronic cough and respiratory weakness.

Sources

http://www.theholisticcare.com/cure%20diseases/Asthma.htm

http://www.indianetzone.com/42/yoga_bronchitis.htm

http://www.ayurvedaforall.com/blog/2009/01/03/bronchitis-yoga-management/

http://www.indianmirror.com/games/yoga/yoga-bronchitis.html

http://www.yogamag.net/archives/1983/bfeb83/bron283.shtml ++

http://rashmirastogi.blogspot.com/2008/06/pawanmuktasana-series-anti-rheumatic_8147.html

http://www.yinyoga.com/ys2_2.2.7.1.4_pawanmuktasana.php

http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/pawanmuktasana-benefits-and-great-pawanmuktasana-poses-2218497.html

http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/yoga/asanas/pawanmuktasana1.asp

http://yogaasana-goodwill.blogspot.com/

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