Spring is a time that we welcome with open arms, especially after terribly long winters in Edmonton. The trees start budding, the streets buzz with people out for walks, yet it’s also the oh-so-dreaded time for seasonal allergies to kick in. Although I only face minor irritants, my partner suffers from seasonal allergies immensely. The snow mould in the air makes him congested, sneezy and flat out stressed and exhausted. So, besides taking antihistamines and putting our humidifier on high at all times in the house, what else is there?
Simply put, yoga helps reduce stress and inflammation and opens the body up, getting rid of blockages and things we generally hold onto throughout our day. Tie allergy season in with a cleanse to reduce inflammation, and perhaps you’ll find a little extra reprieve from your seasonal congestion.
Yoga is known to help reduce allergens. It forces you to focus on your breathing; observing each exhale and inhale as you move through your practice. It may be a challenge at first, but after you get a few sun salutations in you, things will start to open up.
For dealing with congestion, heart opening postures are great to help open nasal passages. Heart openers can be anything from things like cobra pose (bhujangasana), fish pose (matsyasana) and good ol’ sun salutations. These postures help you open up your body and help the blocked-up internal gunk, like congestion, move along. Other postures you can try to help open nasal passages include shoulder stand (sarvangasana), plow pose (halasana) and backbends (urdva dhanurasana).
As with all yoga practices, a good dose of pranayama techniques and meditation can also help alleviate stressors in your body. Techniques such as alternate nostril breathing and Kapalabhati help open up your nasal passages, giving your mind and body a bit of solace it so badly wants.
It’s All in How You Frame it
There’s something quite magical about yoga that helps me frame my body and mind. I like to think that it prepares me for times when there is extra stress on the body too. Yoga is definitely known as all-out de-stressor and for some who really suffer from seasonal allergies, it could be just what you need to relax the mind and open the body.