R.A.I.N. is an acronym developed by Michelle McDonald but adapted a bit by me, to…
Do you struggle with seasonal or chronic allergies? You’ll be amazed to learn that yoga breathing techniques help allergies. And 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 yoga exercises.
To some, yogic breathing exercises may seem like an unlikely way to control allergies. But the truth is that practicing specific breathing techniques can help people naturally reduce their allergic reactions.
To understand how it helps to know a little about what causes allergies. According to traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), all allergic symptoms are caused by a blockage in your body’s Meridians. TCM believes that every organ in the body has a Meridian associated with it, and these Meridians carry the energy or Qi (pronounced ‘chi’) throughout our bodies.
When one of the Meridians becomes blocked, Qi cannot flow through that organ and its associated Meridian. And when Qi cannot flow, we get sick. This is the basis for the TCM diagnosis called ‘Obstructions of Qi and Blood’.
In TCM, allergies are considered an ‘Obstruction of Qi’. When a person develops an allergy, his or her body is reacting to something that shouldn’t be there. It’s like his or her body is saying “Hey! That shouldn’t be in here — get it out!” Unfortunately, our bodies can have difficulty expelling what isn’t supposed to be there. And this is where the Meridians and yogic breathing come into play.
In order to unblock a Meridian and get Qi flowing again, you have to start by clearing the airways of your body. And that is exactly what yogic breathing does.
There are a number of yoga techniques that can be used to help clear your airways, and one of the best is Kapalabhati Pranayama (pronounced Ka-pal-la-bha-tee pra-na-ya-ma). Kapalabhati Pranayama has many health benefits, but at its most basic level, it helps to clear the lungs. It is one of the most important breathing exercises in yoga, and it’s not too difficult to learn. Here’s how to practice it:
1) Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, and your hands comfortably at your sides.
2) Take a deep breath in through the nose, filling up your lungs as much as you can.
3) When you feel like you can’t take any more air in (don’t actually force yourself if you don’t have room, just do the best you can), hold your breath for one second. And then…
4) Exhale all of the air out through pursed lips as fast and forcefully as possible for about 5 seconds.
6) To finish, do 2 more rounds of breathing exercises.
After you have practiced Kapalabhati Pranayama for a few weeks, you may find that your allergy symptoms begin to lessen or even disappear completely. The reason is that by improving your breathing, you are improving your overall health in general. When you are healthier, it is easier to maintain a healthy immune system and lower the chances of getting sick in the first place. If you’ve never tried yoga before and want to try it now or in the future, there are plenty of online yoga classes that teach breathing techniques like this. You can also purchase a yoga DVD or an online yoga course for free. (If you really want to try it but aren’t sure what to start with, start with something like Yogaburnchallenge.com’s Kick Start Yoga Class.)
Just for fun Food facts: Yogis who practice Kapalabhati Pranayama may find that they begin to crave whole grains and other foods that are high in fiber. Their bodies are looking for the nourishment that these foods provide, so they can be more inclined to stop when they see a tasty treat.