Asthma affects people all of all ages across all walks of life. It can affect sports performance and in some cases can be almost as debilitating as a sports injury. If you're one of those people or know one of them, this may be for you.
I'm not going to get into the debate as to whether asthma is a disease or whether it can be cured or not but what I want to give you is a simple means of reducing the intensity of any symptoms. Reduce them enough and who knows...
Credit to Moshe Feldenkrais for the following process in all its simplicity and power.
1) Lie on your back on a firm surface with your legs long on the floor or with your knees bent and feet stood on the floor.
2) Pay attention to your contact with the floor. Where do you rest heaviest against the floor? Do you rest evenly? Where moves as you breathe?
3) Take a breath in and keep it in. Keeping it in, slowly push the breath into your stomach and then slowly move it into your chest continuously until you need to breathe out. As you move the breath up and down time after time, notice which parts of you move and how. Take a break after a few cycles of holding your breath, making this belly to chest movement repeatedly and then taking some breaths before repeating. Take this opportunity as you rest to notice your contact with the floor.
4) Do the same movement, holding the breath in and moving it from chest to belly to chest to belly whilst this time gently keeping one hand on your chest and one hand on your lower abdomen just above your pubic region. Notice how your hands move as you make the movement. When you take the air to the belly, how do both of your hands move? What about your movement to the chest? Do both hands move? If so, do they move equally? After a few cycles, rest and notice again how you contact the floor now. You can change over your hands to notice how this affects your sense of what's happening.
5) Same movement again a bunch more times but this time, pay attention to how smoothly you do it. Are their regions where you go more smoothly than others? How about the direction of your movement - how straight up and down is it? Rest, notice your contact.
6) Same movement again many more times this time experimenting with different speeds. What happens to smoothness, direction, synchronisation of your hands and range of movement as you change your speed, slower and faster?
7) When you stop to rest for the last time, notice your contact with the floor, where moves as you breathe now and how it differs from your first lie on the floor. Slowly stand up and notice how you feel as you stand still. Then notice how you feel as you slowly walk and then walk at a normal pace.
You may notice that the activity was mostly done holding your breath. This activity was an indirect way of improving your breathing through having you get a better proprioceptive sense of the regions crucial to breathing. Freeing these regions up in this manner will allow you to breathe better without thinking about it.
Making asthma a little less of a pain in the ass,
Arton "The Asthmaster" Baleci
Float Sting - Sports Injury Rehab and Performance, Harley Street, London W1