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Yoga and Pilates


I tried to search for some information on this, but couldn't find anything - so I am sorry if this is a repeat question.

I just wondered if anyone has tried Yoga or Pilates and how they found them? Did they have any impact on your asthma, or were they useful for breathing exercises and stress relief?

I have been thinking of joining a local class, but am a bit unsure whether to go for Yoga or Pilates.

Any information would be really appreciated.

Sarah x x

7 Replies

I do a pilates class. It has done wonders for my back. I damaged a facet joint during my last pregnancy and was in fairly constant pain for the next couple of years. 9 months of pilates and I can move freely again. I do feel able to breathe more easily after a class, probably because I'm standing better - too much time spent hunched over a computer keyboard. I also find it quite relaxing.


Hi Sarah,

Try both is the simple answer!

I’ve ‘practised’ yoga for over twenty years. Started Pilates two years ago.

I can recommend both, for increased suppleness, flexibility, relaxation and improvement in asthma symptoms.

There are different types of Yoga. Some types concentrate on dynamic movements like Ashtanga yoga. This type of yoga is more popular with athletes and those people who want to introduce an element of aerobic conditioning work into a yoga class. Other types like Hatha yoga focus more upon the holding of body postures (asanas) and the development of breathing exercises (pranayama).

Pilates is similar. There is a lot of emphasis placed upon the development of core body strength; - it’s wonderful for toning the abdominal area – posture, and conditioning. However there is far less emphasis upon the ‘meditative’ side and breathing exercises that are such a feature of Yoga.

Pilates always reminds me of my childhood to teenaged ballet classes.

Most importantly you need to find a teacher and group that you feel comfortable with. Can take a long time.And don’t forget to tell him/her about your asthma.

Yoga, Pilates and other similar forms of exercise are difficult to practice if your asthma is uncontrolled. However I’ve been able to manage and improve upon slightly worsening breathing situations by practising yoga breathing and relaxation strategies.





I've tried a couple of different yoga classes and a pilates class over the last few months. I found that I struggled with both of them: one of the yoga classes was quite active with lots of rapid changes of posture, and they all involved lying flat on your back which I can't really do at the moment. I kept interupting the class with coughing fits, not very relaxing for me or the others!

However, I'm going through a bad patch at the moment and my exercise tolerance is really very poor; I think if I was even slightly less symptomatic than I am, I might have found it beneficial, certainly in terms of relaxation. I certainly intend to try it again in the future if I am a bit more well controlled.

There is a woman in Nottingham who is setting up a yoga class specifically for people with difficult asthma, and I certainly intend to go along to that when I have recovered a bit more from my most recent attack.

I would say go for it, you have nothing to lose!

Em H



Thanks for all the feedback and the information. I have always been a bit unsure about the difference between Yoga and Pilates - so your descriptions were really useful Mia - thanks! Also, its a good point about finding a class and teacher I feel comfortable with - I suppose that helps with the relaxation too!

Alison, I think 'hunching over a keyboard' is also causing me neck and back problems - and I know my breathing could do with a bit more thought and as you say EmilyH 'what have I got to loose?'

I am going to look on the net for a class right now...

Thanks again and hope you are all well x

sarah x


It's just crazy, I would like to go to a yoga or other fitness type class in my local community centre, but the problem is that they have a bar in the building where ppl are still allowed to smoke!! the smoke gets into the rest of the building so I can't go. I have severe sensitivity to it even though still struggling for a proper diagnosis. I am looking into other venues, and possibly early evening pilates at another place. It's a shame and an inconvenience because the community centre is nearby for me and the classes would fit in with my kids school hours well!

It's so hard to get to anything just for me because an evening class depends on hubby being home on time to look after the kids! I don't think I will have a problem with some exercise so long as it is not too strenuous and starts off gentle.


Hello Lesley Dove,

Have you tried your local College or University for classes?

They are all smoke free campuses since 8 March. Much to my relief.

There are lots of different exercise classes on offer.

Many people don't consider these sorts of venues. But they are cheaper, the instructors are very up to date, and there is often a good mix of local people, students and lecturers!




yoga is fab

Hi Sarah

I have been going to yoga classes for about 4 years now and I am sure it has helped my general well being, posture and ability to relax, which in turn has all helped with my asthma.

My yoga teacher is absolutely wonderful and is always doing exercises in the class to help with peoples different health problems, its not too strenuous if you don't want it to be, and a good teacher will always say that you should do what you feel comfortable doing, no more. It is not a competition! Plus s/he will help you achieve the poses you want to work on, but gradually and in a very supportive way. Why not give it a go!

best wishes



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