Yesterday I spent my twenty minutes of restorative yoga practice doing postures to facilitate my breathing:
Supported Childs Pose – 3 mins (back lungs)
Twist on Bolster – 3mins right side, 3 mins left side (side lungs)
Downward Facing Dog – 1 min (all lungs)
Supported Reclining – 10 mins (front lungs)
Time-lapse video of the practice:
I wanted to focus on getting air into the back and sides of my lungs, inspired by the video of Dr. Sarfaraz Munshi at Queen’s Hospital where he talks about a technique they are using in ICU to help COVID-19 patients recover. After two cycles of six deep breaths (and a cough), the patients lie on their bellies, to facilitate breathing in the back of the body. You can watch it here.
We have more lung tissue in the back of the body, and yoga postures like child pose can help us to open and access that. However, I have observed people in my yoga classes finding these postures uncomfortable or claustrophobic, which creates anxiety, which can have the opposite effect on breathing – we are so much more complicated that just the physical body.
Supported childs pose (balasana) takes some of that ‘stuck’ feeling away. There is a version in a chair too, I will set up for another post. In fact, for the next few days I will share pictures of a range supported poses that help open the back lungs – including some that do not require yoga props.
Using the same props, I finished my practice with supported reclining pose, which I know from my First Aid training is better than lying flat for any sort of breathing emergency.
I may have moved on to lying prone over my bolster but, well, you’ll see what happened when my twenty minutes was up!
Please don’t tell the yoga police I did my downward dog with my socks on…