With the growing health conscious population, ancient forms of exercise and natural ways of healing, like yoga, are increasingly being followed and practiced. The knowledge that practicing yoga is a blessing for the overall physical and mental health is not new to us. However, a lesser-known benefit of yoga is, that specific yoga poses give the body the ability to combat allergies.
Allergies are caused by allergens, like food, dust, pollen, molds, smoke, and also certain scents or odors. Most people stay away from these allergens to avoid an allergy. Using professional advice and options, like nasal steroid sprays and over-the-counter drugs definitely help. However, natural ways, like yoga, can help you fight allergies, and also provide immunity benefits.
Allergies can be very annoying. A bad allergy can give you sleepless nights, cause mood swings, and also decrease immunity. It worsens stress by releasing stress hormones, which can aggravate allergy symptoms. With a relaxing exercise like yoga, flight-or-fight response of the body (the physiological responses from the body, that are intended to survive a risky or dangerous situation) is decreased, stress and anxiety is also reduced, which in turn diminishes the symptoms of allergy. Most allergies act on the respiratory system, hence, poses that help clear respiratory passages are beneficial to combat allergies. Yoga improves respiratory functions and oxygen intake, which is very effective in reducing allergies. Experts suggest that relaxation, by itself, heals allergies. And nothing can be better than the calm and peacefulness provided by yoga.
Some effective yoga poses are described in the following paragraphs. If you are new to practicing yoga, make sure you perform the poses under the guidance of a trained yoga expert only.
A lot of pressure is accumulated at the back of the skull and neck muscles. The plow pose helps in releasing pressure and relaxing these muscles. This helps in easier draining of allergies. It opens the upper respiratory tract, and helps in circulation of fresh oxygenated blood in the oral cavity.
Back bends and shoulder stands are very effective in reducing allergy symptoms. With this pose, the area of the chest gets lifted, which opens up the chest and airways. The thymus gland in the body is stimulated when you perform this pose. This action helps in stimulating the lymphatic system and improves immunity. The fish pose also builds up strength in the back and neck muscles.
This pose is especially beneficial for people with sinus infections and allergies. The forward bend in this position helps in concentrating all the energy in the head and the respiratory organs. This helps in draining congestion and relieving discomfort caused by allergies. It relaxes the nervous system and alleviates anxiety. The standing forward bend also benefits the legs, thighs, and calf muscles.
Shoulder stands are especially beneficial for nasal congestion in allergies. This pose helps in clearing nasal blockages and draining any congestion. One needs to make sure that this pose is not held for more than 1–2 minutes, as holding this pose for too long may put pressure on the nasal passages.
(Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This pose opens up the chest and increases respiration and lung capacity, as the lungs get more room to function effectively. The bridge pose helps reduce the feeling of heaviness in the chest, thus giving you relief from allergies.
The warrior pose helps in draining mucus from the nasal passages. This pose expands the chest and lungs, which improves breathing functions, thus enabling proper drainage of congestion and reducing other allergy symptoms.
(Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)
Breathing exercises help in relieving stress. They relax and energize the whole body. They remove any toxins from the stale air, and enhance the revitalizing capacity of the respiratory system and blood circulation. A good supply of oxygen works on reducing the congestion caused due to allergies. Alternative nostril breathing can be termed as a type of ‘Pranayama’. It helps clear any nasal blockages by improving lung functioning and health. It also relaxes the entire nervous system, and keeps stress and anxiety at bay.
The above was a compilation of yoga poses that are effective in combating allergies. So, you may want to give these a try. The best part of practicing yoga as medicine is that it has no side effects, and hence, there is nothing to lose, even if you are doubting the benefits!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert. Please consult your doctor and yoga instructor before starting any exercise routine.