How to Increase Lung Capacity After Lobectomy

A common side effect of a lung lobectomy procedure is the incapacity to fill the remaining lungs with air. One of the gentlest and consistently effective ways to increase lung capacity following a lobectomy is to practice yoga breathing techniques.

Contact your physician (preferably the doctor who performed your lobectomy) about your current lung fitness. Request clear information as to your readiness to begin lung exercises to improve lung capacity. Do not proceed unless given the go-ahead from your physician.

Begin breathing exercises by sitting on a yoga pillow or other comfortable sitting surface. Ensure that all extraneous noises are minimised and turn off any possible causes of distraction.

Breathe in to your current lung capacity and time your inhale through your nose with a stopwatch. Hold your breath for at least five seconds before slowly exhaling from the mouth. Time your exhale in order to match or exceed your inhale time and breathe out until your lungs are empty.

Perform nine more of these deep-breathing exercises, increasing the amount of time you are able to "puraka", or inhale, as well as the amount of your "rechaka" or exhale. Time each session of inhale, retention, and exhale until you are comfortable holding your breath for a longer period of time, eventually reaching a ratio of 1:4:2 with the timing of your breath.

Repeat this step three times a day every day, each session occupying no more than 15 minutes. Immediately discontinue breathing practice if you feel any discomfort of the lungs.

Practice the Hatha Pranayama yoga technique of strong breathing. Begin standing with your feet side-by-side and your fingers interlacing. Raise your hands so that your knuckles touch the bottom of your chin and press your elbows tightly together.

Inhale slowly through the mouth while expanding your elbows out to the side, raising the tips as high as you can comfortably manage while keeping your fingers locked. Tighten your stomach in order to squeeze air throughout the body. Hold your breath.

Exhale powerfully while tilting your head back and pressing your elbows together in the space in front of you in a "squeezing" motion. Keep your back straight and press your head as far back as you feel comfortable until your exhale is complete.

Repeat the exercise for five minutes. Discontinue if you experience any dizziness or feelings of nausea or pain. Perform these exercises consistently and your lung capacity will dramatically improve.

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