A type of chronic disease that typically worsens over time and is characterized by long-term breathing problems and poor airflow. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are older terms used for COPD5
A test that shows how well the lungs are working by measuring how much oxygen and carbon dioxide is in the blood. This test requires that a small volume of blood be drawn from the patient3
A procedure in which a bronchoscope (a medical instrument like a tube) is passed through the mouth or nose into the lung and fluid is squirted into a small part of the lung and then collected for examination4
Yoga is an ancient practice that combines exercises with breathing techniques and meditation. It can help improve the health and happiness of those who practice it regularly. If you haven’t done yoga before, you may not be familiar with the benefits. However, yoga has been demonstrated to improve the quality of life of people with long-term diseases.1
Your treatment team may recommend trying yoga to help improve your general health, flexibility and strength. Yoga can also help you to deal with the stress of having pulmonary fibrosis and help you to control your breathing.1
Some hospitals and treatment teams may arrange classes specifically for people with pulmonary fibrosis and other long-term diseases. Speak to your treatment team to find out more about yoga classes available in your area.
Finding your own class
You may be able to find your own yoga class; however, it is important that you find a class that is suitable for your individual situation and condition.
Some classes may be more physically demanding than others. Speak to the teacher before you begin the class to make sure that it is appropriate for you.
If you are considering finding your own class, ask yourself the following questions:
Does the class provide the right level of intensity and challenge for me?
Is the classroom’s atmosphere calming and inviting?
Is the teacher approachable and do they listen to your needs?
Does the teacher ensure the safety of those taking part?
When you visit a yoga center or classroom, pay attention to how you feel about the environment. Consider how the staff treat you and how you respond to the people attending the class.
Discuss yoga with your treatment team. They may be able to suggest teachers and classes which are suitable for your individual situation and condition
What does a yoga class involve?
Yoga can take many different forms; however, most classes will follow a similar routine. A typical yoga class consists of:
- A warm up, where you move gently to stretch different parts of the body
- Light breathing exercises, where you match your movement to your breathing
- A series of movements and poses to stretch and strengthen different parts of the body
- Most classes conclude with a period of relaxation and meditation
If you find a specific pose too difficult, your teacher will always be on hand to help you. Most poses have different variations that are easier to perform
What should I bear in mind before starting yoga?
Many people practice yoga for different reasons: to gain strength, increase flexibility, manage stress, or to adopt a more peaceful way of life.1
Whatever your reasons for turning to yoga, you’ll want to keep a few considerations in mind to get off to a good start.
- Be sure to consult your treatment team before starting a yoga practice program. Explain the specific kind of yoga you intend to practice. They may point you in the direction of local classes for people with pulmonary fibrosis
- Set clear goals for yourself. Decide exactly what you want to accomplish (flexibility, fitness, better mental health)
- Make a realistic commitment. Promising yourself you’ll practice for an hour every day sounds great, but it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t reasonably manage that schedule. Just 30 minutes once or twice a week is a good starting point
- Keep a practice diary and regularly read through your diary to see the progress you’ve made. Progress is the best motivator
As with all forms of activity that may involve different levels of physical exertion, it is important to discuss any plans you have with your treatment team. They will be able to help you decide on what additional practices can best support your health and wellbeing.
A key part of yoga practice is pacing your breathing to your movements. Breathing exercises can also help you to control your breathing.
Yoga is a gentle exercise that can increase your strength and flexibility
Yoga can improve the quality of life of people with long-term health conditions
Be sure to find a suitable class for you. Speak to your treatment team and the yoga instructor for advice
Ranjita R, et al. Yoga-based pulmonary rehabilitation for the management of dyspnea in coal miners with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A randomized controlled trial. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2016;7(3):158-166.
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