Five yoga poses to support easy breathing
Yoga is one of those things I know is good for me, I FEEL is good for me but I find it really, really darn difficult. Physically and mentally.
For someone who was once told by a physio that she is as flexible as a plank of wood and has grace and coordination to make a baby elephant giggle, it would be fair to say yoga presents a somewhat intimidating challenge.
Oh, and that isn’t even taking into consideration the breathing thing which certainly isn’t my forte.
But when I am honest with myself, it is because those things are hard, I know I need to do them and, just how beneficial they are for me long term. Why should my ego (you know, that mean girl in my head that says “You look so silly right now”) limit my wellness tools?
For me yoga, has proven to be a great tool in maximising mobility and releasing the muscles that work double time to support my breathing. Long term, I feel that is going to assist my lungs to function as freely and openly as possible and help manage aches and pains.
It isn’t only the physical either, the practice of yoga supports so many of the foundations I believe are integral to health – self connection and awareness and a space to stop, turn down the outside noise and say to ourselves “Hey body, how are you feeling, what is really going on right now?”. I mean, how often do we make space to do that?
It is with these things in mind that when the opportunity arose to partner with the amazing team at Shri Yoga Brisbane, I jumped at the chance. Not only because I love the community and values Shri has built, but with hope that in sharing my experiences with yoga it might inspire you to experiment, play and explore how yoga support your health experience.
Because I have learnt with the right support, not feeling like a naturally bendy-flexi yoga girl shouldn’t be a barrier to the enormous benefits yoga might have to offer your body!
I will be continuing to share my journey at Shri over on Instagram, but to begin with Shri founder Julie Smerdon (who you can read more about here) has put together 5 poses to support easy breathing!
Perhaps you don’t feel ready to step into a studio just yet, but maybe this sequence can inspire you to find one that works for you and start incorporating it into your day!
1. Supported Childs Pose (Balasana)
I love how Julie showed me how a bolster is helpful in this pose! I could have stayed here forever. By using a bolster this pose feels like it stretches out my spine but also prevents my chest from curving in further!
2. Twist (Bharadvajasana)
Twists might actually be my favourite yoga poses! They allow me to open my chest, shoulder and rib muscles and relieve the tension that builds up from working extra hard to breathe! Again using a bolster allows me to support my body but still get the most optimal stretch.
3. Supported back and side bends (using a roll).
Physio therapists and chiropractors have consistently showed me versions of this pose. I find the side version particularly nice to relieve my intercostal muscles. Using the rolled blanket instead of foam roller provides a more gentle stretch that can be increased or decreased as I need.
4. Cat Pulling Tail (Yin Yoga Pose)
Again, love those twists! For my body they feel so good for my tired little rib muscles. In this pose I feel like the position of my legs helps support and leverage the rotation and get as much movement as my body will allow.
5. Supported bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This pose feels beautiful and restorative while still offering a gentle opening of the chest. For me, like many patients with breathing challenges, the position of my shoulders has altered over time which often becomes a source of pain. I felt this pose could also be a helpful guide for me to build better proprioception and improve shoulder positioning and posture.
http://www.jessicabean.com.au/ Jess is a health empowerment coach, blogger and speaker, supporting young women living with chronic illness to develop a strong connection with their true selves so they can clearly and courageously become advocates for their health and happiness. A life whether you’re not just surviving, but thriving! After staring down the path of a possible lung transplant, Jess came to a life-changing realisation that completely altered her path. “If I wanted a different future for myself, I had to become my own health advocate. I was the one and only person that had the power to change my health.” Five years on she is still breathing through her own lungs. She has married the man of her dreams, travelled overseas and started her own business. All life goals that on that terrifying day, five years ago, felt as if they may never come to pass.