We all know that the benefits of yoga are virtually endless, whether it’s mental, spiritual, or physical. When it comes to our physical bodies, we usually associate things like flexibility and strength with yoga. However, there are a great deal of other bodily benefits to practicing yoga when it comes to our overall health and immunities.
Health and Immunity
For most of us, spring means warmer weather, sunny days, and blooming flowers. For some however, spring means constant sneezing that requires a never-ending box of tissues and lifetime supply of antihistamine pills. Dreaded springtime allergies put a damper on all the wonderful things about spring. If you experience allergies you’ve probably tried just about any remedy in the book, from medications to herbal cures that sound like something from one of Shakespeare’s alchemists. Some may work for you some may not. But did you know that there are actually certain yoga poses and practices that can help curb your allergy symptoms? These are great to keep in mind even if you don’t normally suffer in the springtime just to ensure you keep the allergies away and at bay!
Easier said than done when you’re suffering from allergies, but deep, steady breathing can actually relieve your symptoms. We know that breathing is always extremely important and one of the cornerstones of good yoga practice. Often we are told that conscious breathing is beneficial in every day life as well. If you find yourself experiencing shortness of breath or constant sneezing, try to take a few moments to focus on your breath. Close your eyes and slowly and deeply breath in and then out. Try and breathe through your nose if you can, but if not, open your mouth just a little and slowing breath in like you’re sucking a thick milkshake through a straw. Repeat this a few times throughout the day and always try to keep your breaths deep and slow when you’re experiencing allergy symptoms.
When suffering from springtime allergies, try some slower paced flows. Because your breathing may not be in tip-top shape, slowing your yoga down will help you be able to keep your breath slow as well. Intense, faster paced classes raise our heart rates resulting in faster breathing even when we don’t have allergies. Holding poses longer and moving into them slowly will help keep your heart rate steady and breath deep. Also, keep your poses wide. This will open up your lungs allowing more air to come in and out. Try slow, warrior sequences, taking three deep breaths while in each pose. End your practice with an extended Savasana, keeping yourself elevated with blankets or a bolster.
If you’ve ever taken a relaxation class, you’ve likely performed restorative poses. These poses usually involve at least one prop, if not multiple, and leave you in a certain position for two or three minutes at a time. This type of practice is great for allergies because it keeps it slow while still reaping the benefits of yoga and allows for deep, slow breathing. Here are some great restorative poses to try when suffering from springtime allergies:
Supported Bridge Pose
Versions of Supported Bridge, just like normal bridge, but with extra support to help you stay in the pose for an extended amount of time. In classic bridge, your feet are flat on the ground, knees are bent. Your head and shoulders are on the ground and your back and bottom are lifted. To support your back in the restorative version, use whatever combination of blankets, blocks, or bolsters work best for you. You may also want to try a blanket under your neck or a strap around your thighs. Let your arms be heavy and free, palms facing up on the ground.
Supported Reclining Hero’s Pose
This pose involves laying your back on a bolster, knees bent, shins and tops of your feet on the ground and shooting backwards. In Supported Reclining hero Pose Make sure your head and neck are properly supported and arms lay heavy and free on the ground, palms facing up. This pose really opens up your chest and lungs.
Supported Bound Angle
This pose can start by sitting straight up with your feet together. Support your knees and thighs with blankets or blocks and lay your back down on a bolster. Again, be sure you are not straining your neck. Arms are heavy and free on the ground, palms up. Focus on keeping everything open in this pose.