Green City, Gray City

Once known as the “garden city” of India, Bangalore‘s exponential population growth over the last decade has made it closer to a gray city today. The combination of the two is fatal for allergies and asthma, health concerns I became concerned with earlier this year.

With the weather changes this week, environmental factors including pollen count goes up. Coupled with a busy work time between festivals Dusshera and Divali (and therefore excessive traffic and air pollution), I was hit with a day of sneezing and runny nose syndrome. The next morning I woke up with slight shortness of breath.

Recognizing it to be symptomatic of asthma, I got worried that I would need serious health care and wouldn’t be able to work properly. I could sense a bit of fatigue as well, and decided to see a doctor, hoping to receive the same drugs via the nebulizer that I so loved in Costa Rica when I got sick. Unable to connect with anyone quickly, I turned to yoga.

Some quick online research along with readings from “Light on Yoga” (BKS Iyengar) revealed that the best yoga for asthma is simple breathing exercises. Barbara Benagh wrote about her experiences in Yoga Journal. You can read the article here. Benagh suggests lying on the back and stop over breathing, as many asthmatics do. Further, do not go  off medical treatment and putting complete trust and faith in yoga, at least at the beginning.

I would also argue that gentle twists could help remove the toxins in the body. Maybe some forward bends too. And of course, my all-time favorite, legs-up-the-wall, is a great pose to start the breathing exercises.

The most important concept to note is her advice at the end– that each individual needs something different, and that everyone should find what is right for them through the trial and error procedure.

Yoga poses are available for any health consideration, physical, mental, or emotional (and of course spiritual). There are specific poses that help specific situations. But of course, it’s important to recognize the individual and make adjustments accordingly. That’s what I have to do with my ankle swollen. It’s not easy to do bridge pose (which is great for allergies) when you can’t put pressure on one foot!

Further, I think I’ll start wearing masks (or tie a scarf in the cultural norm) to cover my nose and mouth when I’m out and about. I’m not being “precious”–just trying keep my health safe so I can continue to help others!

For tonight though, I’ll stay at home, and help my student appreciate what yoga can do, just as I learned to appreciate it myself.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joslin
    Oct 15, 2011 @ 11:59:53

    So glad that you are well. Excellent article.


    Nov 08, 2011 @ 03:10:27

    I think you are right. In Dean Ornish’s book “Reversing Heart Disease” he has one full chapter on “Opening your heart to your feelings and to inner peace” (yoga) and another chapter on “opening your heart to others” (sharing/socialisation etc.) . There is lot of thrust given to Yoga nowadays by most good doctors


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