Whether you have been affected by smoke in the air from the recent fires or you have extra mucus in your lungs from a cold or allergies, the following yogic practice ideas can assist you in breathing easier.
When you begin your practice, bring your hands to your diaphragm (in front of your belly). As you inhale, open your arms, sweeping them until they are wide at your sides, elbows drawing further behind you. With your exhale, return your hands to their start. Continue this breath movement for 5 or so breaths.
From here, open the intercostals by side bending (tilting with the belly drawn in to bring the rib cage out and up).
Camel pose (Ustrasana) will assist to stretch the stomach and intestinal organs to release trapped toxic gas.
Bridge pose (Setu bandanasana) opens up the lungs and can aid in the respiratory and digestion process.
If your heart and neck are healthy enough for headstands, such poses may help with allergies (suggest Eagle Headstand Pose, Salamba Sirsana with Garudasana).
And while you are not physically practicing asanas, you can still improve lung function throughout the day - whether with essential oil aids or by simply focusing on creating a lo n g er exhale through the mouth!