We’re teaming up with Beam to bring you a special class unlike anything the CF community has ever seen before . . . Yoga for Airway Clearance!

While we’ve dreamed of doing a course like this ever since we launched CF Yogi, it took a while to bring it to fruition. Because airway clearance education is beyond our purview as yoga instructors at CF Yogi, we needed to find a physiotherapist and a platform to partner with for this class. We are thrilled that Beam’s resident CF physiotherapist, Pamela Scarborough, has offered to share her expertise with us for this one-of-a-kind course combining Western airway clearance techniques (ACT) with Eastern yoga breath techniques (pranayama) and physical yoga postures (asana).

Who is Beam?

Beam is an online community that supports people with CF in physical activity through live classes, on-demand sessions, and educational resources. (They used to be called Pactster, if that name rings a bell.) They’ve been around for a few years now in the UK, where a partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust has helped to develop their library of on-demand classes and make the program free to our friends with CF across the pond.

Beam was co-founded by a CF physiotherapist from the UK, Pamela Scarborough, and tech developer Katie Bell. Their Chief Marketing Officer, Natalie Goodchild, is a personal trainer with CF who has been guiding the development of the online platform and soon-to-be-launched app so that they will best meet the needs of people with CF.

CF Yogi’s co-founder Katie Malik worked with Pamela back in 2016 to create their first set of on-demand Yoga for CF videos! (Fun fact: It was Pamela who first introduced our co-founders Katie and Myra to each other, so in a way we have her to thank that CF Yogi even exists at all!) 

What’s this project all about?

For the past few months, Beam has been doing a pilot with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at a handful of CF care centers in the USA. Physical Therapists from these care centers have been using Beam with their patients, helping them to find exercise programs they will enjoy and stick with, and even teaching live classes on Beam’s platform. In addition, the CFF pilot funded four months of live online classes that allow people to interact with the instructors in real-time, getting personalized guidance from experts who understand CF. (Katie was one of those live instructors for the pilot.)

Beam and the CFF are now assessing what they’ve learned from this pilot about what people with CF need in the US, and coming up with things they can do to better support people with CF in physical activity no matter where they live. One of those big needs that both the UK and US participants have requested is more education around how exercise and airway clearance can work together in an effective way.

The power of airway clearance + exercise combined

While studies to date have shown that exercise isn’t a substitute for airway clearance on its own, the two can potentially work together in a synergistic way to maximize the benefits of physiotherapy.

Katie Malik teamed up with Pamela Scarborough at Beam to do a session about Airway Clearance Options at BreatheCon last fall. Their session was really well attended, and many people in the US were curious about what other forms of airway clearance were used across the pond that they might not be familiar with. As a result of that session, Beam started exploring ways to help people integrate physical activity with airway clearance education and physical practice.

Tim Sweeney, a CF double-lung transplant recipient and personal trainer, is now teaching a “HIIT Pause” live class at Beam based on his experience adding pauses to his workouts to allow for airway clearance. And in this new course, Katie will be teaching Yoga for Airway Clearance based on her own personal practice of integrating various breathing techniques into her practice to facilitate better clearance.

Katie has experienced this synergistic relationship between exercise and airway clearance in her own life and management of CF. In fact, just in the past month she has been integrating airway clearance methods into her personal yoga practice in new ways, to help her understand the changes she experienced from Trikafta, and learn how to make airway clearance effective with the new fluid dynamics of her lungs. In this three-week series about Yoga for Airway Clearance, she’ll be sharing these tools with others with support from Pamela to provide the knowledge of breath-based ACTs that make this practice most effective.

Yoga for Airway Clearance 3-week course

Thursdays from Feb 27 – March 12

3 PM PST / 4 PM MST / 5 PM CST / 6 PM EST

This collaboration between CF Yogi and Beam will be held at beamfeelgood.com with free access for CF Yogi participants. Recordings will be available for those who are unable to join live.

Click here for more class info

This series will look at three different ways that yoga’s physical movement and breathing techniques work together to maximize the benefit of airway clearance.

  • Interoception: Developing internal awareness with an attitude of acceptance rather than judgment, using the breath to probe the depths of our lungs with compassion rather than fear.  
  • Conscious Breathing: Exploring different breathing patterns from Eastern yoga practices (pranayama) and Western physiotherapy practices to find your own unique blend of effective techniques.
  • Physical Motion: Learning to use asana (physical postures) and bandhas (internal “locks” around the respiratory system) to help you access different areas of the lungs, mobilizing secretions so that they can be coughed out.

Pamela will provide education at the beginning of each class about different breath-based airway clearance techniques (ACT), and Katie will present complementary yoga breath techniques that can enhance your airway clearance and your yoga practice.

While the class does not require previous yoga experience, knowledge of yoga postures and alignment foundations will be helpful so that you can focus on the breathing aspects. For best results, make sure you have an empty stomach, and you may want to do your nebs and inhalers immediately beforehand so your lungs are primed and ready to go for some effective airway clearance!

Participants will also be invited to collaborate and share insights with each other in Katie’s private group “The Zen Den” on Beam. Pamela Scarborough will be available answer questions in the community group if we need to ping her for her expert advice from a physiotherapist’s perspective! 

CF Yogis can join this class for FREE on Beam!

Beam has generously provided all CF Yogis a 60-DAY free trial so that you can join us for the complete series! (This is more than 4 times longer than their standard 2-week free trial.) This is a full Beam membership so you are welcome to go check out Beam’s other live classes and entire on-demand library as well. (CF Yogi is really specific to yoga, but Beam has many other styles of exercise available for you to try.)

Learn more about the class here on Beam’s website, then check the class schedule in the CF Yogi member portal to retrieve the code to unlock your 60-day free access and instructions for how to sign in to Beam so you can join us. (If you’ve already used your Beam free trial, contact hello@beamfeelgood.com and request an extension so that you can participate in this course.) And cross your fingers that the CF Foundation will be able to expand this pilot, so everyone with CF in the USA can have free access to these amazing resources! 

Thank you Beam for generously supporting CF Yogi and sponsoring this collaboration between our programs — this class could not have happened without you!  We are thrilled to be working together in this exciting new frontier in the therapeutic use of exercise for CF.


Want to join us in our free yoga classes for the CF community, but not yet signed up for CF Yogi? All people with CF and their support network of family & caregivers are invited to Register Here and get started!