November this year is ‘Lung Health Awareness Month‘!
This is what Lung Foundation Australia say ‘Anyone can get lung disease. It affects 1 in 4 Australians and is the second leading cause of death. When people say lung disease isn’t worthy of help, sadly, it makes those affected believe it too. The stigma surrounding lung disease is a major barrier to accessing research, funding, treatment and support. It also has significant mental health impacts and causes delays in diagnosis’.
It’s a great time to raise awareness and look at how we can help prevent/ease lung disease!
Breathing feeds oxygen to every cell in the body. Without sufficient oxygen, people are more prone to health problems, including respiratory illnesses, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and even heart disease.
Experts say that regular day-to-day activity doesn’t help you use your lungs to full capacity, you need to challenge the lungs with more intense activity. To help counteract the build-up of toxins and tar in the lungs caused by environmental pollutants, allergens, dust and cigarette smoke, you need to help your lungs cleanse themselves.
How can Yoga, breathing and exercise help?:
- DEEP BREATHING!
Deep breathing can help you get closer to reaching your lungs’ full capacity.
As you slowly inhale, consciously expand your belly with awareness of lowering the diaphragm. Next expand your ribs, allowing the floating ribs to open like wings. Finally, allow the upper chest to expand and lift.
After this, exhale as completely as possible by letting the chest fall, then contracting the ribs and, finally, bring the stomach muscles in and up to lift the diaphragm and expel the last bit of air.
2. COUNT YOUR BREATH
You can also increase your lung capacity by increasing the length of your inhalations and exhalations. Start by counting how long a natural breath takes. If it takes to the count of five to inhale it should take to the count of five to exhale. You’ll want them to be of equal length.
Once you’ve discovered the count for your average breath, add one more count to each inhale and exhale until you can comfortably extend the length of time it takes to fill and empty your lungs.
The point is to avoid straining or being uncomfortable. It should be a gradual and easy process.
A good yoga breath exercise for this is ‘sun moon breathing’.
3. EXERCISE CARDIO!
Regular moderately intense activity is great for the lungs, and when you increase your daily activity you get three things done at once: healthy lungs, a healthier heart and a better mood!
Aim for at least least 20 minutes of consistent, moderately intense cardiovascular movement daily, like a brisk walk or bike ride.
4. PHYSICAL YOGA POSES!
Poses like Bridge, Cobra, Wheel, and Upward-Facing Dog open and stretch the chest, stimulate the lungs, and can even be therapeutic for asthma.
Try these poses on a daily basis as part of your routine! I like to get the done on my balcony in the morning before I have eaten then I feel ready for the day!
5. WALK IN NATURE OR FILL YOUR HOUSE WITH GREEN!
Get out of the urban city when you can and breath in green! Another thing to do is go to the beach and breathe in the ocean air! If your always stuck in the smog then finding a park, taking yourself out of the city are all great ways to rest the lungs and give them a burst of fresh air!
If you love being in nature but your health prevents you from spending as much time outdoors as you’d like, consider bringing a little nature inside with houseplants. You can enjoy their beauty, and some can also promote staying healthy with chronic lung disease. According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service, NASA has discovered photosynthesis does more than just turn sunlight into food for plants—it also removes significant amounts of harmful gases from the air. This means houseplants can improve indoor air quality.
So go green and enjoy giving your lungs a make over!