This post was written by a guest writer and in no way reflects advice from FSR, nor does it represent a medical opinion. It is written by Hamilton Walters, a sarc warrior who is a professionally trained yoga instructor. After being diagnosed with sarcoidosis, he found that regular practice of yoga stretches and breathing exercises helped him manage his illness. Now that he is in remission, he wanted to share his experiences with the hopes that it will help others.
Sarcoidosis made me a better man. Today, I am more compassionate and less whiny about my own problems. The quirkiness – the sheer unpredictability – of a rare disease challenged me to be more disciplined and also be more understanding with myself. Sarcoidosis helped me discover what is most pure and valuable in life.
I was fortunate that I had studied yoga in India just before I was diagnosed. From my yoga study, I applied the following practices, some of which may help other patients struggling with sarcoidosis:
1. Chest opening postures like matsyasana (fish pose) and bhujangasana (cobra pose), as well as good posture that facilitates full expansion of the lungs
2. Trunk building postures like tree pose, vasistasana (side plank), and dolphin pose. Therapy breathing exercises like single or double leg lift breathing, locust breathing, cat-cow breathing, and setu-bandasana breathing.
3. Pranayama (breathing exercises) to explore and expand breathing capacity. Suggested exercises: abdominal breathing, thoracic breathing, clavicular breathing, and full yogic breathing. Kapalabhati (bellows-like breathing) is useful to open the sinuses and may also be useful for skin problems.
4. Mediation for reprogramming, calming, and centering.
Sorrow and pain are useful if they bring you closer to God, and bad karma is a better teacher than good karma.
While Hamilton recommends one-on-one instruction with a professionally trained yoga teacher over watching videos, we know that’s not always possible. We’re sharing the below resources for those who are interested in learning more about yoga and breathing exercises. Do not start any new physical training exercises without first consulting your physician.
Certified Yoga Instructor
My sarcoidosis went “inactive” a few years ago. I am now a yoga teacher.