Fall is upon us! The seasons are shifting and so are our bodies. Many of us experience allergies during spring time and fall time due to the local flora and an increase of dust or particles in the air.
Thankfully, there are yoga exercises to help remedy this drippy-congested tradition of the human experience…here it is…
3 yoga exercises for allergies
ASANA – The best asana poses for allergies are Inversions and Back bends. Inversions like shoulder stand, handstand or headstand help drain the sinuses which assists in relieving pressure in the nasal cavity which helps decrease inflammation in the sinuses, clearing out the airways. Inversions also help boost the immune system by activating and balancing the nervous system, a healthy immune system helps to control allergic attacks. Back bends such as Wheel, Bridge or Fish pose can help open up the chest cavity and lungs and strengthens the chest muscles which opens up the airways and allows more room in the chest for deep breathing.
NETI POTS Anyone who has attended a Sadhana Yoga School workshop or training probably can’t forget how fun learning how to use a neti pot with a group can be! Neti pots or nasal irrigation is a great way to wash away any impurities from the nasal cavity and also helps to clear out the sinuses.The use of Jala Neti has been used in yoga practices for hundreds of years to help prepare the body and mind for meditation and deep breathing. Always remember to use santized warm water for this practice, no tap water! For a tutorial, click here
PRANAYAMA breathing exercises help to regulate the sinuses and prevent allergic attacks. When we practice pranayama regularly we are strengthening the muscles that support the respiratory system and building our lungs capacity for oxygen. The THREE PART YOGIC BREATH is a great way to regulate breath control. From a comfortable seat as you inhale feel the belly expand as the breath expands from the ground up; Belly, Ribs, Clavicle…and then as you exhale the belly and breath compresses from the top down; Clavicle, Ribs, Belly…Alternate nostril breathing exercises such as NADI SHODINA or ANILOMA VILOMA ( click here for SYS tutorial )assists with balancing the airways for equal breathing out of both nostrils and eliminating any impurities in the passageway. KAPALABATI or shining skull breath ( click here for SYS tutorial ) helps to push out any impurities such as dust or pollen that may be resting in the lungs and strengthens them too!
Aside from being extremely beneficial for sinuses and allergies these simple practices are also part of an ancient yogic system for cleansing and purifying the mind and spirit called Kriyas. You may find that when your sinuses are congested, your mind feels fogged, your body seems sluggish and your energy all together- is Dull. This makes sense since the area in our brain that regulates our ability to focus is the pineal gland, and our spiritual doorway to perception is also the pineal gland also known as the third eye located right in the middle of the forehead. If this area is bogged down or clouded with dust and mucus- of course it will be hard to motivate and focus! This is why Yoga is a union of benefiting practices for the body, mind and spirit and not just a physical exercise. When we cleanse and purify the body we also cleanse and purify the spirit and mind. Once cleansed, we can dive deeper into our meditations, we can go further in our daily activities- whatever they may be. Our focus is more clear and balanced so that whatever task is in front of us can be completed with a lighthearted sense of effortlessness. Here is a short talk about the Kriyas from Bryan Russell, co-founder of Sadhana Yoga School.