Do you struggle with seasonal or chronic allergies? Are you looking for a natural way to beat your allergy, and feel brighter and more alive in the process?
If so, you might want to try one of the following pranayama exercises. Pranayama are yogic breathing techniques that awaken the vital energy in your body, helping to heal and awaken your body and mind to a more vibrant life.
In this post I’ll share the best pranayama breathing exercises to help with several common allergy symptoms.
Can Pranayama Cure Allergies?
Yogic breath techniques have many positive health benefits, not the least of which is the ability to significantly improve lung capacity and respiratory flow throughout the body.
As such, pranayama provides a powerful, natural option for anyone looking to cure seasonal or chronic allergy symptoms. While the pranayama, by itself, has not been shown to permanently cure allergies, it has been proven to boost the immune system and maintain clear nasal and respiratory passages.
This means that a consistent pranayama practice helps you to increase the flow of oxygen through the body, and reduces the impact of many irritants and allergens.
The Best Pranayama for a Seasonal Allergy
If you’re looking to relieve allergy symptoms, the following four exercises are generally acknowledged as the best pranayama for allergy relief. However, the right breath exercise for you is going to depend on the severity and location of the problem.
For example, if your allergy symptoms are localized to your nasala cavity, then you might try a few rounds of Kapalabhati, followed by Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) in order to clear your nostrils. But, if you have more chronic conditions that feel stuffy at the back of the nose and throat, then Ujjayi or Bhramari (bee-buzzing) might be more appropriate for you.
Kapalabhati, also known as skull-shining breath, is a great exercise for clearing out the nostrils and opening the flow of air through your nasal cavity. The breath is a series of short, sharp inhalations and exhalations performed through the nose, and will bring positive energy into your head, in particular, the third eye center.
Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing, is a soothing practice in which you block each nostril in turn, breathing only through one side of the nose at a time. If you are really stuffed-up with your allergies, then be sure to clear your nose before beginning, or you may want to try this breath after a few rounds of Kapalabhati.
Ujjayi breath is one of the most common breath practices used in yoga, and it is also a great tool to open a deeper flow of air throughout the body. Ujjayi involves a slight constriction of the throat as you breathe, making an audible, oceanic sound.
Bhramari breath is not as widely known in The West as the three above it, but it is another great technique for clearing the upper respiratory system. Bhramari is also known as the bee-buzzing breath, as it makes a humming, or buzzing, sound at the back of the throat, which resonates throughout the head. This helps you to gain clarity of mind, especially when allergies are dragging you down.
Breathing Exercises for Allergic Rhinitis: Hay Fever, Pollen, and Mold
Allergic rhinitis is usually tiggered by airborne allergens such as mold or pollen. The best way to avoid having these symptoms is to avoid the situations in which those allergens occur.
But, in the height of allergy season, those triggers are often inevitable. To reduce the impact, begin a daily pranayama practice a few days or a week before your allergy season begins and continue for as long as you are in the presence of allergens. This will help to keep you clear and open, before the height of the allergy is upon you!
Breathing Exercises for Allergic Cough, Asthma and Bronchitis
When your allergy symptoms are more severe, involving a cough or blocked respiratory passages, pranayama can be used in order to relieve the symptoms and open the air-flow into your lungs.
For allergic cough, allergic asthma, and allergic bronchitis, you may want to try incorporating ujjayi breath into your daily routine. This breath can be done during yoga, in meditation, or simply as you go about your day.
Bhramari is another great pranayama for these illnesses, and can be practiced once a day, preferably in the morning, to relieve stress and tension in the upper body, including your head, shoulders, chest, and neck.
Disclaimer: None of the practices above are a replacement for appropriate medical treatment. If your symptoms are severe, consult a physician before practicing any of these techniques.