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    • #11268
      Kathleen Sheffer
      Participant

      Yoga can be a safe and restorative activity for pulmonary hypertension patients at any fitness level. A 2016 study found that a yoga regimen of 12 weekly two-hour sessions had no adverse effects. The first of its kind, the study recognized significant improvement in anxiety, depression and quality-of-life scores. Previously, yoga had not been assessed due to fear of exercising patients with a lung disease.

      Lead researcher, Mitesh Thakrar, MD, from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, presented the results at the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) 2016 Scientific Sessions. Conducted at two Canadian pulmonary arterial hypertension clinics, the study included 48 patients with a mean age of 57 years. Fifty-two percent of the patients were on a combination of hypertension-specific therapies, and 31 percent were on oxygen. Patients participated in 12 weekly two-hour supervised sessions of Iyengar Yoga, and were asked not to participate in other exercise programs during the study period.

      Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga with an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture and breath control. One need not be incredibly limber or athletic to practice Iyengar Yoga. Teachers can adjust the poses to make them accessible to all levels and abilities using props.

      In 2014, through a PHA Lantos Grant, Dr. Rana Awdish, MD and Patricia Fantuz, RN, BSN, created a series of instructional videos for pulmonary hypertension patients. Called Yoga for PH, the 40-minute program includes a lifestyle and nutrition discussion, as well as instruction for three yoga exercise levels. Each video incorporates a yoga mat and chair for stabilization. Follow the links below to view the four videos on YouTube.

      Introduction to Yoga for PH Patients

      Chair Yoga Sequence

      Intermediate Chair Yoga Sequence

      Experienced Yoga Sequence

      Dr. Awdish directs the PHA-accredited pulmonary hypertension program at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. “These yoga exercises are modified specifically for the needs of pulmonary hypertension patients and can be done safely regardless of the patient’s level of physical fitness,” she says.

      The gentle, low-impact exercises are designed to improve balance, strength, reduce stress, and calm the nervous system. Even patients who require oxygen can perform the exercises in the comfort of their own home.” Any amount of exercise is beneficial for patients,” Dr. Awdish says. “We know that when patients are engaged in their treatment and their healing, they have better outcomes. These yoga exercises will help aid their healing process.”

      Do you exercise regularly? Have you tried yoga? Please share your thoughts below! 

    • #11288
      Kaye Norlin
      Participant

      I am a registered yoga instructor and have talked about the benefits of yoga and taught yoga at the Dallas conference… so yes, I am a believer. I did not start taking yoga until after my diagnosis and 1 1/2 years later, I became a certified instructor. I was originally diagnosed with Severe PAH and my doctors were amazed that I was as functional as I was and continued to be for years; I was diagnosed with “end stage” PH in October 2016. I continued to work several jobs until December 2017 when I retired from my full-time day job as a social worker.
      I KNOW that yoga and the breathing exercises help PH and the research supports that. It can teach you how to breathe through exercise, climbing stairs, pain, anxiety, etc. and can help lower your blood pressure. We need to use every tool at our disposal to fight this hideous disease. Yoga is no cure but it helps (I did have a bi-lateral lung transplant in January 2018 after a 1/ 1/2 years at “end stage”. I am back to yoga now and can’t wait to start teaching again as soon as they allow me to do so.

      • #11298
        Kaye Norlin
        Participant

        I didn’t even comment that Rana’s videos are great. They are easy to follow, done by a person who understands PH (which is CRITICAL so you don’t create harm to your body), and repetitive so that you can learn a routine. Most yoga instructors like to do inversions, which can be dangerous for PH patients. NEVER put your heart below your waist; every asana/pose can be modified for your needs. Rana’s videos show what you should do to accommodate. Chair yoga works for PH patients as well.

    • #11338
      Kathleen Sheffer
      Participant

      Kaye, I’m so glad you’ve benefitted from yoga and these videos. That’s great advice to modify positions and stay away from inversions. Definitely a good idea to watch these videos before going to a class so you know how you should be modifying.

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