Yoga Exercises for Sleep Apnea: What You Need To Know

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Today millions around the world are turning towards several types of Oriental therapies for treating a wide range of illnesses. Yoga, in recent times has been considered to be an effective alternative form of therapy for treating mental disorders as well as managing obesity, pain management, insomnia, stress and anxiety.

Since sleep apnea has very close relationships with body weight and obesity is one of the primary triggers that invite the condition, yoga exercises for sleep apnea has proved to be an excellent non-invasive, natural and drug-free remedy for reducing sleep apnea symptoms. Needless to mention, yoga exercises for sleep apnea like other types of sleep apnea exercises have to be done in conjunction with other measures of weight loss.

One of important aspects of yoga exercises for sleep apnea is that they help only in cases of mild cases of sleep apnea when the symptoms appear five or less number of times during sleep. Essentially, two types of yoga exercises help in this condition: breathing exercises and yoga for weight loss.

Yoga exercises for sleep apnea: how yoga breathing helps


Correct breathing can ease several health conditions including sleep apnea, fatigue, anxiety, etc. Deep breathing can stretch the lung muscles and tissues, tone the muscles of the abdomen and enhance the overall immune system. Deep breathing increases the amount of oxygen in the body, triggers metabolism and provides the body with energy.

For breathing exercises to yield positive results, yoga posture is important. Sit erect with the spine straight and the shoulders are in a relaxed state. This ensures that the lungs can expand to their fullest capacity to take in maximum amount of oxygen breathed in.

Some tips to do breathing yoga exercises for sleep apnea:

  • Practice these types of sleep apnea exercises in an environment that is well-ventilated.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes.
  • If you are an asthma patient, consult your physician before doing any such sleep apnea exercise.

Yoga exercises for sleep apnea: doing yoga for weight loss

Weight loss is likely to be the most important piece of recommendation from your doctor who is treating you for sleep apnea. Here you can do some extremely effective yogi exercises for weight loss.

There are plenty of DVDs available and also free-to-download videos on several yoga postures that help you to lose weight, not all involving complicated postures and poses. Needless to mention, with all the yoga exercises in place, you also have to back up your efforts with proper diet planning.

Yoga exercises for sleep apnea: are they curative?

Yoga cannot cure sleep apnea but can significantly reduce the distressful symptoms. Correct breathing and yoga exercises can tone and strengthen the breathing muscles and prevent them from collapsing and blocking the air passage. But unlike other sleep apnea exercises, it is best not to practice yoga exercises for sleep apnea on your own. You need the assistance of a qualified and experienced yoga teacher to take you through the various stages of these exercises, so that you can reap the maximum benefits.

Yoga exercises for sleep apnea: some effective choices

  • Ujjayi Pranayama is an effective yoga breathing technique. Also known as the ‘hissing breath’ this exercise increases the lung capacity to take in more oxygen and clears throat blockages. Sit in the lotus position or padmasana, with your spine erect and breathe deeply through the nostrils after keeping eyes closed. Let the body remain calm for sometime in this position. Inhale deeply and while doing so, contract the neck and make a hissing sound. Hold your breath for as long as you can and then hold one of the nostrils with your fingers and exhale through the free nostril. Do this exercise again with the other nostril.

You should do this exercise at least 5 times every day.

  • Breathing exercises in yoga are called ‘pranayama’ and a specific posture is called ‘asana’. The Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama or the Alternate Nostril breathing is perhaps the best yoga breathing exercise for treating sleep apnea.
  • Tadasana or the Mountain pose, Shavasana or the Corpse pose, Salabhasana or the Locust pose, Bhujangasana or the Cobra pose and Meru Vakrasana are some of the most recommended yoga exercises for sleep apnea.