Author credit Jennifer Dawson
Photo by Brandon Nickerson from Pexels
Over 50 million Americans experience seasonal allergies every year with a variety of symptoms ranging from itchy eyes to nasal congestion. Even though these allergies are relatively harmless, there’s something to be said for the quality of your day to day existence; discomfort is discomfort. If you’re not keen on medication, there’s another alternative for relief: yoga. You may be familiar with yoga for a variety of things, like improving digestion or increasing your sleep quality. The benefits, however, don’t stop there. The right poses and sequences have the ability to aid many other areas, including providing relief from allergies.
Asanas for Nasal Congestion
The yoga poses best suited for you will depend on your individual symptoms. No matter what you’re having an allergic response to, one of the most common symptoms is a stuffy nose aka nasal congestion. To help open up your nasal passages, choose any inverted pose within your comfort level. When you’re congested, it’s actually due to inflammation in your nasal tissue, causing narrowing of the passages. Inverting your body reduces the increased blood flow that is needed for tissue to swell (inflammation), providing some temporary relief and easing drainage. Try poses like handstand, the ‘feathered peacock’, or supported headstand. You only need to hold the pose for a short while, less than one minute.
If you haven’t worked up to inversion poses, don’t worry. The main idea for this method is to invert your body so the head is lower than the heart. Some alternatives to the above inversion poses include downward facing dog, dolphin pose, and extended puppy pose. You can also try a ‘bridge’ position by using a large yoga ball as support under your back, allowing your back and body to follow the curve of the ball with your head downward.
Cobra for Chest Discomfort
Along with congestion, many people experience some discomfort that feels as if it’s in or around their chest area. Irritation from sneezing and/or coughing can contribute to this. To open up your chest cavity and help prevent mucus from settling in your lungs, you can practice two simple, low-intensity asanas. Cobra pose involves starting on your stomach, and pushing your upper body up and back, which stretches and helps to expand the chest. Alternatively, you can try fish pose; this involves lying on your back and arching your chest upwards to achieve the same result.
Yogic Breath for Improved Breathing and Immune Support
Finally, a very simple yoga practice that can help ease your allergies is, in fact, the 3 part yogic breath. Yoga is more than stretching the body; it’s also a way to center yourself, relax, and improve focus- among other things. Following this breathing routine will not only improve your lung capacity for better, deeper breathing, but it will also help you destress, which supports the function of your immune system.
The benefits of yoga can reach far and wide to many areas of your body and your life. It’s a wonderful addition to a healthy lifestyle routine with the approval of a qualified professional. If you’re experiencing severe issues, please contact your medical care provider.