Yoga and Health
Swami Adhyatmananda

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    ASTHMA - 2

 We will now obtain information on Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Shavasana, Ujjai, Kapalbhati, Bhastrika, Omkar, Jalneti, Sutraneti and Kunjal processes for cure of disease of asthma.


 (Note: Practice of Asana should be carried out on a four fold blanket spread on ground or a carpet.)  

Bhujangasana (Fig 23)  

Lie prone with belly touching the ground. Keep the forehead on the ground. Keep both the hands on the two sides of the chest and along the ground. Keep the fingers and the thumb of hands pointing in the front direction so that the fingers do not go beyond the shoulders. Lie down in such a way that the chest, stomach, and thigh touch the ground fully Extend both the legs on the back side keeping fingers and thumbs together. This will look like the tail of a serpent. Take the weight of the body on both the hands and lift the head slowly upward. Go on inhaling. Lift up the head, chest and stomach upto the navel. See that the hands remain half bent at the elbow. Do not raise them to a straight level. In this manner, lungs will be vertical and will also expand transversely You will be able to suck in more oxygen. On reaching the final stage of Bhujangasana, try to retain the breath called Antar-kumbhaka. Hold the breath as long as you can without experiencing any difficulty. Now exhale while lowering the body

Generally most of the people spread out the legs along with raising the head while performing Bhujangasana. This is a common mistake. If we increase the distance between the two legs in the above described manner, then the weight of the body will be shared on the two legs. By doing so, we will not get enough advantage in the lumber region which is situated at the end of vertebrae of the spinal column. Again by the separation of the legs enough pressure will not be felt on the diaphragm situated under the lungs. Lungs expand more or less depending on the movement of the diaphragm. Hence under these circumstances, while carrying out of Bhujangasana, both the legs must be kept with the heels and paws together- in the shape of a tail of a serpent pointing outside. While practising Asanas, maintain steadi­ness initially from one half to a full minute. Increase the period slowly and without any fear take it up from one and a half to five minutes. It will not be possible to be steady in performance of Asanas in the initial period. One should try to increase the period slowly If it is not possible to remain steady for a longer time, do not do so forcibly In order to get full advantages, perform each Asana atleast three times. Do not forget to perform Shavasana for a period equal to one third the period for which each Asana is performed. Each Asana should be practised with fully quiet mind and in a happy mood.

Lie prone on the ground. Bend both the legs from the knees, hold both the ankles with both the hands, thereafter three different activities are to be performed. To begin with, pull the legs on the upper side, then lift the knees, and ultimately raise both the head and chest. Ensure that both hands and both legs remain parallel to each other. Do not separate the two knees to a greater extent.

Dhanurasana (Fig—24)

One point to be careful about is that majority of persons lift the head and chest too much whereas knees remain touching the ground. This is not proper Dhanurasana. Hence lift the head and the chest only after legs and knees are raised up.

The practice of Dhanurasana treats the disease of gas produced in the joints of hands, legs and spinal column. But here the manner in which we perform the Asana, lungs are stretched vertically and transversely and exercises dia­phragm. As a result the working capacity of the breathing system increases. Diseases small or big connected with lungs are produced because of allergy and congestion of the lungs. Thus practice of Dhanurasana helps a good deal in eradi­cating asthma.



Lie with your back on the ground. Now separate the two legs and keep them loose. Keep the paws of the legs relaxed and lying in the outer directions. Keep the palm of the hands facing upper direction. Close the eyes. Keep the whole body relaxed.

Now mentally think that “1 am performing Shavasana” to have my body sound and healthy, to live long, for my mental happiness and to keep my life happy and full. I wish that this performance of Shavasana will result in my healthy life which will be of use to my family, society, and the world. My heart craves only one high ideal of well being of everyone, everywhere.Let all enjoy happiness,

Let the work of all be auspicious.

Let no one be unhappy,

Let all have auspiciousness.

Let peace be established in the east, west, north and south.

In the hills and hillocks,

in the oceans and in the jungle,

let peace prevail.

Let there be peace in the lives of

each man, let there be peace.

Om peace, peace, peace !!!

Start the practice of Shavasana with the above good will.

Shavasana (Fig—25)

For the purpose of practising Shavasana, one has to begin by remaining a witness of the surrounding atmosphere. Slowly then, one should be aware of the internal conscious­ness and internal atmosphere. One should then try to listen to the heartbeats and finally remain a witness only of the breath which you inhale and exhale. Witness its speed and condi­tion. Try not to be hasty at all and inhale as well as exhale very very gradually. Be as slow as possible in your exhalation and inhalation.

This breath that is being inhaled is not ordinary air in the room but it is a main element. One of the five elements of nature viz. Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Space. We are inhaling the main element wind. When we exhale we should try to feel: ‘I am exhaling happiness, joy, consciousness, alertness. All my good and auspicious aspects, I am breathing out for the well being of the world.” As we sow, so shall we reap. We will be getting in return thousand times the good that we give unto the world. Normally one blunder is committed by people thinking and being thought that when they breathe in light, power and wisdom will enter their breath. This is alright, but while they exhale the carbon dioxide they throw out also carry with it our diseases, unhappiness, difficulties, jealousy, hatred, etc; but this latter part seems to be a big mistake. World can be likened to a mirror. If we stand before the mirror, we see ourselves as we are. Hence it is necessary that we always nurture goodwill towards the world. We will then get goodwill in return.

Raise the right leg two to four inches and release it in a relaxed way. Repeat this process with the left leg, thereafter tighten the fingers and the thumbs of both the legs by pulling them downwards. Now relax. Tighten the ankles and the muscles of the leg. Again release. Pull the knees and release. Now stiffen both the thighs and relax. Pull both the buttocks in and relax. Pull the anus inside and upward. Then relax.

Thereafter one, by one go on tightening fingers of ‘the hands, thumbs, fists, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, and relax. Similarly pull the belly lying under the navel inside and relax. Broaden the chest by breathing in and relax.. Similarly waist, back, and shoulders as well as muscles of the face must be stiffened. Eyes must be closed. Mouth should remain a little open and relaxed. Breathe only’ through the nostrils. Thereafter feel that the thumbs of the legs, fingers, soles, heels, ankles, legs, muscles, knees, thighs, buttocks and the whole body lying beyond the navel is now completely quiet as if there is nothing, as if it is a corpse, it is light as a blade of straw, lifeless; all around is quiet, soundless, as if it is a crematery. In a similar manner, fingers and thumbs of both the hands, arm-pits and shoulders are completely quiet, they are relaxed.

Excepting the outside muscles of the belly, all the glands and organs have now become quiet, healthy and relaxed. Bladder, small intestine, large intestine, stomach as well as its acidic contents, gallbladder, liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen, adrenal, all these are relaxed. Breathing system is working beautifully Diaphragm, air vessels, lungs, and bronchial tubes have no congestion. There is no hindrance, there is no cough or cold. Breathing tubes carry the breath unhindered and equally breathes out. The capacity for retaining breath has not reduced under 2800 ccs to 3600 ccs.

We are enjoying perfect health. Impure blood enters the heart and purified blood goes out. Veins, arteries and all the valves of the heart are in perfect order; cholesterol, tri­glycerides are in normal proportions in the blood. Sugar is also normal. There is no diabetes. Blood pressure is also 120-80 normal range. Everything is quiet, sound, happy and beautiful.

Beginning with coccyx at the end of spinal column to the top cervical vertebrae are functioning perfectly, there is no defect in any of the vertebrae or the discs. Thus the complete body under the shoulder is sound. It is quiet, relaxed, and free.

All the muscles of the face are relaxed. There is no mental tension; only quiet and with perfect happiness. Ear and the drums of the ear, nose and the nostrils are relaxed and sound. Lower jaw and cheeks are also relaxed. Lips, lower as well as upper lips, upper and lower sets of the teeth are relaxed. The end of the tongue which stays behind the row of the teeth is also relaxed, sound, quiet, happy and well defined.

Eyes, eye-lids, pupils of the eyes, eye-brows, forehead and scalp of the head are all relaxed. The whole body is relaxed, is quiet, is perfectly healthy and composed.

Now there should be no movement at all in any of the organs. Just feel the silence! Profound peace !! Om Shantili, Shantih   

When we practise Shavasana in this manner, we expe­rience profound peace in our body and in the surroundings.

Shavasana means condition of the body like a dead body When anyone dies, he actually loses his Prana, he ultimately merges with all the five principal elements. Body on decomposition merges in all the five elements. That is to say an individual turns into universal: one merges into the universal condition. Thus merging into permanent truth and very clean consciousness which is above all the diseases, sorrows, unhappiness and difficulties.

Try to listen to the heart beats and breathing in and out, while you remain in Shavasana position. Thereafter begin by slowly moving fingers and thumbs of the legs. Make it as slow as possible. Then move the fingers of the hands. Thereafter open the eyes gradually Again close the eyes. Now without any sort of haste turn on your left side. Bring the left hand under your head. Keep both the legs bent from the knees. Feel perfect soundness of health. Enjoy quietitude, specific peace, deep peace, bliss divine and salvation which is permanent attainment of divine.

This type of practice of Shavasana is greatly beneficial to breathing system, circulating system and nervous system. The breathing system is mainly feeling good because of mental peace and soundness. 

This type of bodily and mental relaxation has been observed to be helpful in eradication of asthma.


Sit in Sukhasana or Padmasana or Sidhasana or Swastikasana or Vajrasana or atleast in the crossed leg easy position. Keep the head, neck and spine in one straight line. Now breathe very slowly through both the nostrils and release the breath through either nostril or only left nostril very slowly The breath should enter with a partial touch on the glottis situated in the neck when you breathe in and breathe out. These are termed Puraka and kumbhaka. When the breath lightly touches the glottis there will be a light sound as if air enters a big diameter water pipe line or as if wind blows with pressure. It is not intended to make a deep sound while breathing.

This glottis is a strong watchman between our trachea and food pipe. It does not allow food to enter the breathing pipe. Even if through unconscious mistake, food touches this glottis it makes us cough. Our nose and eyes leak water and one feels darkness all around. Mucus collects around this glottis; one gets cough due to this collection which in the long run turns chronic and thereafter it develops into permanent asthma.

In such circumstances whenever our throat feels bad we are advised to gargle using salt and hot water; this same result with extreme effect is obtained by practice of Ujjai Pranayama.

If the asthma is in a very mild form then twenty repetitions of Ujjai Pranayama, 3 to 4 times in a day will make us free of the disease. By the practice of Ujjai Pranayama breathing capacity is increased right from entry to the mouth, down to the breathing pipe till it subdivides on both the sides in both lungs. Ujjai is a natural Pranayama undertaken in a very simple manner. Hence practice of Ujjai has been found helpful in very acute conditions of asthma.

In addition to Ujjai two other Pranayamas, namely Kapalbhati and Bhastrika are helpful when difficulty is encountered in breathing process or in conditions of asthma. Let us now have a look at these.


Kapal means forehead and bhati means shining. By performing Kapalbhati the forehead assumes shining lustre. But if the passage in the nose is closed, if you have difficulty in breathing process, if you have caught heavy cold, there is a doubt of asthma, then the face becomes dull and lifeless. In such circumstances it will be difficult to have a shining forehead. This Kapalbhati is a process of breathing, however Yogacharyas do not classify it as a Pranayama, but have included the same as one of the six processes of cleaning of the body Six processes of Neti, Dhoti, Basti, Nauli, Tratak and Kapalbhati are covered as logic cleansing processes of the body Kapalbhati cleans the bronchial tubes.

This process of Kapalbhati helps right from the begin­ning of two nostrils to the place where bronchial tube divides out into both the lungs and goes inside to various tubes and therefrom right upto the upper 1/3 portion of the lungs upto the point where the movement of diaphragm is felt a little. Besides this there seems to be no special job for the belly Take a deep breath very slowly when you breathe in and release the breath very very quickly at the same time ensuring that there is no jerk in the body or muscles of the face. Do not move the shoulders, do not give any jerk to the hands, let not the muscles of the face suffer any distortion. Normally when people breathe out they bend the body in the front from the waist and give a jerk, or shake the shoulders and head violently, but this process is not proper. Body must be steady and quite peaceful and the face must be pacific.

While exhaling, most of the people make a face similar to that of a squirrel. There is a muscle joining both the lips of the face and going above the corner of the lips, the nose and reaching the corner of the eyes. Normally this muscle gets more tension in cases where a man gets an attack of epilepsy or when the face gets distorted on paralysis of the body due to high blood pressure. This muscle is called Levator, labii superioris alaeue nasi. The muscle that goes from lip to the other lip and thereafter towards brain in called superior and ‘alaeque’ means along the ‘nasi’ that is the nose. Thus ensure that breathing is very very slow and the release of the breath is at a great speed.

 This process is meant only for the cleaning of the body and hence its efficacy is wonderful. Such people who are not suffering from acute condition of asthma get affected mainly at the time of change of seasons. If they suffer due to asthma too often, this exercise of Kapalbhati has proved of immense help to them. Eosinophilia is equally dreadful and can be likened to the sister ‘Putana of Kansa’. Whenever the proportion of eosinophils count increases in the blood of the body, at that time a sick man goes on coughing violently like an asthmatic patient. In such cases a patient surrounded by medicines and pills and a row of injections finds Ujjai and Kapalbheti helping the patient in a wonderful manner. This is not to say that medicine must be stopped. Alongwith the medicine and doctor’s treatment the practice of Asana and Pranayama is likely to give better health.


The meaning of Bhastrika is a bellows. For performing Kapalbhati, we breathe in very slowly and breathe out very speedily Here for Bhastrika we have to both breathe very quickly in and breathe out also equally speedily This way we have to both take in and breathe out in a rhythm. Here the lungs expand fully right from bottom to the top. This is similar to the bellows which we have on a harmonium. In olden times a man who applied tin coating on vessels or a man who blew in the air in oven of a blacksmith used to make use of bellows. In a similar manner, we have also to breathe in and out quickly This is termed Bhastrika Pranayama.

This Bhastrika Pranayama creates very high heat as good lot of strength is applied. This increases the working capacity of lungs and energy to a great extent. Complete system, starting from the nose, complete trachea and deep upto the end of lungs right upto diaphragm becomes diseaseless, strong and gets endowed with greater working capacity. If the condition of asthma is very acute i.e in a very badly diseased state this Pranayama should not be practised but if disease is just in an initial stage or even if it has reached middle stage or the disease is on a decrease, then this Pranayama gives a lot of help.

To start with you can begin with breathing in and breathing out 20 to 40 times. Gradually you can increase and take it to 150 to 200 breaths at a time. Please see that Jalandhara bandh is unfailingly performed after repeating each round of Bhastrika. For Jalandhara bandh one has to breathe in deeply and press the chin on the chest and hold the breath. Raise the head thereafter and breathe out slowly


There is no scientific training necessary for practice of Omkar. Either in the morning, noon, afternoon, or at night, whenever the belly is not full, you can perform loud chanting of A... .U.... M   Performing Omkar will increase the working capacity of breathing system and blood circulation system. You can thereby create the possibility of getting free from diseases of these two systems. By chanting of Omkar circulation of blood increases thereby increasing the capacity of lungs which becomes diseaseless. The cause for contacting asthma by most of the people is their sed­entary life style. Practice of Bhastrika Pranayama and Omkar has been found very useful in such conditions.


Jalaneti (Fig—26)

Jalaneti is an exercise by which you clean the passage of the nose. Fill in a pot, which has an outlet similar to a tube, with tepid water in which some salt is added. Now clean both left and right nostrils so that water can enter therein. Keep the left nostril turned down towards the left, so that the water from the right nostril will enter in and get out from the left nostril. This process of Jalaneti is much simpler than the ease with which we can write this description. While performing this process of Jalaneti do not breathe in or breathe out. If that is done, we will unnec­essarily create trouble and air from the nose will enter the pot of water and you will hear a sound as if air was emerging. Therefore carry out this process as simply as possible. Just simply do it. The same process should be repeated with left nostril taking in the water and water coming out from the right nostril. Clean the nostrils 40 to 50 times so that no water should remain in the nostrils. This process should be done after finishing bath and before it is noon time. Do not take bath immediately after the exercise. By performing this process prior to noon time even if a small amount of water remains in the nostril it will leak out during the day Hence perform this exercise of Jalaneti enthusias­tically without any fear.



Sutraneti (Fig—27)

The results obtained by Sutraneti are better than those of Jalaneti. However Sutraneti is not so simple as Jalaneti. Of course it is not difficult at all. After a lot of experience Sutraneti is easily handled. Obtain a catheter of rubber tube of number zero and wash it thoroughly using hot water. This is termed sterilization. Apply a little ghee in the nostril and push in one end of catheter tube. Practise slowly till the tube emerges out of the second nostril. Sometimes it may enter the throat also. This is natural. However, with practice, it can be brought out from the other nostril. By using this process nose can be cleaned and the breathing system can be made more capable.


Kunjal process is also called Gajakarni. In the early morning, clean your teeth, finish your natural call and on empty stomach drink 7, 8 or 9 glasses full of tepid water in which a little salt has been added. When you take in 7 or 8 glasses of water, the same will come out of belly by itself, in the manner in which a Vasudeva (syphon) cup gets automatically empty. In case this does not occur, take four fingers of your right hand right up to the inside of the throat and all water will be belched out. This will clean inside of neck, food pipe and stomach. This cleaning is very essential for asthmatic patients.

Kunjal Process (Fig—28)  

Do not try to take in only 2 or 3 glasses full of water and force the water out by effort, because if the colour of water seems slightly red due to friction in neck there can be unnecessary doubt of blood having been thrown out. Kunjal means an elephant. In this process one takes in water like an elephant and throws out quickly This process is very simple. One should not eat or drink anything for atleast one hour after this process. Some water if it still retains in the stomach, it will get out forcibly through urine. There is no danger in carrying out Kunjal process. But those who have very high blood pressure should not perform this exercise. At the end of Kunjal process, as in the case of Sutraneti being per­formed after Jalaneti, one can also perform Vastradhoti which is called Jaladhoti. In the process of Vastradhoti one takes a piece of 3 to 4 inch broad and 22 to 25 inch long strip of clean cloth which is washed in hot water and which is dipped in salted water. This strip is slowly swallowed in the stomach and taken out slowly by the other end of the strip. One can perform both the process of Jalaneti and Gajakarni after having properly read this description but Sutraneti and Vastradhoti needs actual demonstration by an adept Guru. It is advised to specifically observe this instruction.

Asthma is not a permanent disease. It can be cured. If one observes a little care, proper food, medicine and exercises of Asanas are regularly performed, then complete eradication of the disease is possible. 


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