Yoga for COPD

Yoga classes for people with COPD offer a modified form of yoga, so don’t worry that you’ll be expected to contort your body into a variety of complicated poses. They are created with the health needs of people with COPD in mind and should provide you with a gentle, easy, and effective way to manage your health and emotional well-being.

Gentle stretching and bending exercises help to improve fitness and flexibility, while breathing exercises give you the tools to confidently manage any attacks of breathlessness. The techniques you learn should also be easy enough so you can practice at home.

Yoga Asanas for COPD

1. Standing Mountain Pose ( Tadasana)

This straightforward pose requires you to stand tall to open up your chest. Your arms can be raised. or left at your sides.


2. Seated Forward Bends

These poses help strengthen your respiratory system.

3.Standing Side Bends

These bends will help strengthen your diaphragm while also improving the flexibility of your rib cage.

There are many more asanas that can be modified to help you build strength and flexibility, specifically to help your COPD. It is vital that you learn yoga from a qualified, recognized practitioner.

Yoga Breathing for COPD

Yogis believe that correct breathing brings more oxygen into your blood and helps to control vital energy, which in turn helps calm your mind.

Pursed-lip breathing and diaphragm breathing are two techniques that have roots in yoga. They are often taught to people with COPD as part of their pulmonary rehabilitation program.

Another useful breathing technique for people with COPD is abdominal breathing. The technique is as follows:

  1. Breathe in, letting your stomach expand.
  2. As you breathe out, contract your stomach muscles, pressing your stomach inward.
  3. Focus on contracting your lower abdomen and ribs as you breathe out. This helps to raise your diaphragm, enabling your lungs to empty all the way and thus improving the depth of your breathing.

What the Experts Say

A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics on the effects of yoga for people with COPD followed 33 patients with documented cases of COPD. People were taught yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation by a certified yoga therapist for one hour, three times a week, for a duration of six weeks. People reported an overall improvement to their quality of life, and tests showed that lung function improved on a short-term basis.