Ashtanga and Ashtma
Asthma - I have a student who is asthmatic and struggles to get full, deep breaths. I encourage her to continue her work on breathing into her lungs, chest, side and back. I have had some pranayama exercises to offer. I just wondered if you encountered this and have any specific suggestions I should consider.
Concerning Asthma: I have known many practitioners of Ashtanga Yoga that have found great benefit from the practice in alleviating some of the symptoms of their asthma or even lessening the intensity of the attacks or the panic that can be associated with them. The focus of ujjayi breath is the key. Ujjayi breath utilizes a unique method of control by swirling the breath in the back of the throat before it enters the lungs. This creates a soft resonant sound that is a great point of focus. This ability to listen to the breath and control its flow can be an invaluable asset for those suffering from asthma. Just as in our asana practice we must learn to relax and control our breath in a regulated and relaxed yet full manner. This applies very well to those with asthma. It is however not a substitute for whatever medical care they are currently using. The yoga can help to gain more control of the breath and may also support other treatments. Over time in some cases asthma sufferers have been able to lessen their need for inhalants etc but this needs to be overseen with a medical doctor.
I hope that this general information is of some benefit.
Thank you and let me know how your students progress,