Yoga for Allergies and Asthma

Allergies and Asthma

[Presented by Kinnari Jivani] 

Respiratory System: 


The primary function of the respiratory system is to supply the blood with oxygen in order for the blood to deliver oxygen to all parts of the body. The respiratory system does this through breathing. When we breathe, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. This exchange of gases is the respiratory system's means of getting oxygen to the blood. Respiration is achieved through the mouth, nose, trachea, lungs, and diaphragm. Oxygen enters the respiratory system through the mouth and the nose. The oxygen then passes through the larynx (where speech sounds are produced) and the trachea which is a tube that enters the chest cavity. In the chest cavity, the trachea splits into two smaller tubes called the bronchi. Each bronchus then divides again forming the bronchial tubes. The bronchial tubes lead directly into the lungs where they divide into many smaller tubes which connect to tiny sacs called alveoli. The average adult's lungs contain about 600 million of these spongy, air-filled sacs that are surrounded by capillaries. The inhaled oxygen passes into the alveoli and then diffuses through the capillaries into the arterial blood. Meanwhile, the waste-rich blood from the veins releases its carbon dioxide into the alveoli. The carbon dioxide follows the same path out of the lungs when you exhale. The diaphragm's job is to help pump the carbon dioxide out of the lungs and pull the oxygen into the lungs. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscles that lies across the bottom of the chest cavity. As the diaphragm contracts and relaxes, breathing takes place. When the diaphragm contracts, oxygen is pulled into the lungs. When the diaphragm relaxes, carbon dioxide is pumped out of the lungs. Allergies What Is an Allergy? Allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system. People who have allergies have an immune system that reacts to a usually harmless substance in the environment. This substance (pollen, mold, and animal dander, for example) is called an allergen.

What Happens During an Allergic Reaction? 

First, a person is exposed to an allergen by inhaling it, swallowing it, or getting it on or under their skin. After a person is exposed to the allergen, a series of events create the allergic reaction: The body starts to produce a specific type of antibody, called IgE, to bind the allergen. The antibodies attach to a form of blood cell called a mast cell. Mast cells can be found in the airways, in the intestines, and elsewhere. The presence of mast cells in the airways and GI tract makes these areas more susceptible to allergen exposure. The allergens bind to the IgE, which is attached to the mast cell. This causes the mast cells to release a variety of chemicals into the blood. Histamine, the main chemical, causes most of the symptoms of an allergic reaction.


What Are the Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction?

Common symptoms of an allergic reaction to inhaled or skin allergens include: Itchy, watery eyes Sneezing Itchy, runny nose Rashes Feeling tired or ill Hives (a rash with raised red patches) Other exposures can cause different allergic reactions: Food allergies. An allergic reaction to food allergens can also cause stomach cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea. Insect stings. The allergic reaction to a sting from a bee or other insect causes local swelling, redness, and pain. The severity of an allergic reaction’s symptoms can vary widely: Mild symptoms may be almost unnoticeable, just making you feel a little “off.” Moderate symptoms can make you feel ill, as if you’ve got a cold or even the flu. Severe allergic reactions are extremely uncomfortable, even incapacitating. Most symptoms of an allergic reaction go away shortly after the exposure stops. The most severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. In anaphylaxis, allergens cause a whole-body allergic reaction that can include: Hives and itching all over (not just in the exposed area) Wheezing or shortness of breath Hoarseness or tightness in the throat Tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp Anaphylaxis is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms can progress rapidly, so head for the emergency room if there’s any suspicion of anaphylaxis.


Bronchial asthma

Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways. When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles surrounding the airways become tight and the lining of the air passages swells. This reduces the amount of air that can pass by. In sensitive people, asthma symptoms can be triggered by breathing in allergy-causing substances (called allergens or triggers). Common asthma triggers include: Animals (pet hair or dander) Dust Changes in weather (most often cold weather) Chemicals in the air or in food Exercise Mold Pollen Respiratory infections, such as the common cold Strong emotions (stress) Tobacco smoke Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) provoke asthma in some patients. Many people with asthma have a personal or family history of allergies, such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis) or eczema. Others have no history of allergies.


Most people with asthma have attacks separated by symptom-free periods. Some people have long-term shortness of breath with episodes of increased shortness of breath. Either wheezing or a cough may be the main symptom. Asthma attacks can last for minutes to days, and can become dangerous if the airflow is severely restricted. Symptoms include: Cough with or without sputum (phlegm) production Pulling in of the skin between the ribs when breathing (intercostal retractions) Shortness of breath that gets worse with exercise or activity Wheezing, which: Comes in episodes with symptom-free periods in between May be worse at night or in early morning May go away on its own Gets better when using drugs that open the airways (bronchodilators) Gets worse when breathing in cold air Gets worse with exercise Gets worse with heartburn (reflux) Usually begins suddenly Emergency symptoms: Bluish color to the lips and face Decreased level of alertness, such as severe drowsiness or confusion, during an attack Extreme difficulty breathing Rapid pulse Severe anxiety due to shortness of breath Sweating Other symptoms that may occur with this disease: Abnormal breathing pattern --breathing out takes more than twice as long as breathing in Breathing temporarily stops Chest pain Tightness in the chest

Signs and tests

Allergy testing may be helpful to identify allergens in people with persistent asthma. The doctor or nurse will use a stethoscope to listen to the lungs. Wheezing or other asthma-related sounds may be heard. However, lung sounds are usually normal between asthma episodes. Tests may include: Arterial blood gas Chest x-ray Lung function tests Peak flow measurements Blood tests to measure eosinophil count (a type of white blood cell) and IgE (a type of immune system protein called an immunoglobulin) 


Treatment Plan

The following programme is designed for persons suffering from allergies and asthma without any other severe medical problems or complications. This is a four week programme.

Life style changes suggestions:

Daily precaution that can be taken: Know the allergy and asthma triggers and avoid it when possible. Know how to take your peak flow reading and what it means. Know which triggers make your asthma worse and what to do when this happens. During the asthma attacks: Stay as calm as possible. Do not panic, panicking makes the symptom worse. Sit or stand in a position that allows your chest to be expanded. If possible, you may try dog breathing, Rabbit breathing or lion breathing, if not then just observe the normal breathing.

Daily routines that can be observed:

Get 7-8 hours of sleep.

Add some recreational activity to relieve stress and relax, ie painting, listening to music etc.

Jala neti (Twice: early morning and evening)

Sit in Sukhasana or Vajarasana observing Natural breathing for 5-10 min/3 times.

Journal: Before bed write down 5 points that made you smile that day. 

Week 1-2

[45 minutes sessions three to four times a week.] 

Therapy Series Asana:

Tadasana Standing breathing, each 3-5 times

Hands in-out breathing , Hands stretching breathing,Front and back breathing,Side stretching,Spinal twist,Shoulder rotations (forward and backward),Back movement [each 3-5 times]

Vyagra Svasa [Tiger Breathing],Bhujangasana breathing,Dhanurasana breathing,Makarasana (rest),Supine movement [each 3-5 times]

Leg Raising (ekapada and dvi pada)


Pavanmuktasana (ekapada)

Savasana (10 min)

Pranayama: Natural Breathing (5 min)

Dog breathing,

Rabbit breathing,

Lion breathing (a few rounds each)

Kapalbhati (4:4:4 or 4:8:8)

Bhastrika (2 rounds of 20-30 strokes)

Week 3 – 4

[45-60 minutes, three to four times a week.

Asanas:(hold each pose for 30 sec if possible, otherwise perform each pose with coordinated breathing movement)

Tadasana Surya Namaskara Classical (2 rounds)

Parvatasana Ardha Kati Chakrasana

Trikonasana Classical










Viparitakarni (or Sarvangasana if possible)


Savasana (10 min)


Dog breathing,

Rabbit breathing,

Lion breathing (a few rounds each)

Kapalbhati (2 rounds of 30 strokes)

Nadi Suddhi (4:8:8 or 4:12:8 or 4:16:8)

Bhastrika (2 rounds of 30 strokes)

Smile a lot, stay positive and happy.    

Submitted By:

Kinnari Jivani,