Unusually warm winter days are a treat, unless you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from spring allergies. This year, allergists are predicting a longer and more severe allergy season, and say sufferers will be seeking relief in droves, even if the high spring temperatures cool down.
It is common for allergy victims to run straight for the drug store to stock up on nasal sprays, eye drops and antihistamines, and some go to extremes for more hard-hitting treatments such as steroidal allergy shots. If you have either given up on unnatural remedies found in a box, carton or plastic tube, or don’t like needles, try yoga for the relief of your stubborn allergy symptoms.
You might think some yoga poses just contribute to the pain and agony of having allergies. Downward dog is not the most comfortable yoga pose to be in if you have clogged sinuses and a pounding head. For some, the just thought of putting their head below their waist with a stuffy nose is enough to bring on the sinus pressure. Plus, taking those long, slow, deep breaths in and out through your nose when it’s clogged up is like trying to vacuum the floor with no power to the vacuum.
To help clear your stuffy head, try the yogic breathing called alternate nostril breathing. Just like it sounds, you will breathe in through one nostril and breathe out through the other, alternating the lead nostril per breath. Use your thumb and fourth finger to block off the nostril that is not in use, and be sure to have a box of tissues nearby because once to get your breath flowing, the rest will flow as well.
Inversions are a great way to help flush the lymph nodes and stimulate the immune system, two great actions to combat allergies. Again, dropping your head below your waist won’t feel very good, so instead, practice the following semi-inverted pose to gain the same benefits without the discomfort.
Lie on the floor on your back with your hips very close to a wall. You may prop up your head on a blanket or small pillow for comfort and ease. Place both legs straight up the wall and let them rest against it. Legs-up-the-wall pose is a very effective yet mild inversion to assist in flushing your system and restoring your immunity.
AnneCorrine is teaching a Restorative Yoga class for the prevention and alleviation of allergy symptoms on Sunday, March 12, noon-1:30pm. $12 drop in, or one class pass per person.