We’re not going to sugarcoat it. Sinusitis sucks. But before you reach for your allergy pills and decongestants this spring, you may want to try a few yoga poses to relieve head congestion.
Yoga helps to boost your white blood cell count, increases blood circulation, and releases endorphins to leave you feeling good. This isn’t to say that doing a few yoga poses will cure what ails you.
But they can be an amazingly simple way to open up the sinuses and relieve some of the pressure to give you instant relief.
Four Relatively Easy Yoga Poses to Relieve Head Congestion
There are more than four yoga poses that will help to relieve congestion. But we’ll stick to the simplest ones. Because if you’re already feeling headachy and generally drawn to the couch, you may not be inclined to go into something like a shoulder stand or even fish pose.
That said, you’ll want to do the following poses slowly and with awareness of breath (challenged though it may be) and alignment.
1. Downward-Facing Dog
Downward facing dog pose is a winning pose for improving blood circulation and relieving stress. It’s also the basis for moving into and out of other poses.
The nature of the pose has your head hanging upside down which helps to decongest nasal cavities and deliver relief from sinusitis.
To come into this pose, start in a table position (on your hands and knees). Be sure that your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Curl your toes under and slowly begin to lift your hips toward where the wall meets the ceiling behind you. Your arms and legs will come straight, but not locked. You should look like an inverted ‘V’.
It’s okay if your heels aren’t anywhere near the earth. With each exhale, just let them melt closer to the ground. Press into your hands and let your head get heavy between your arms so that you’re gazing toward your navel and stretching into the neck.
Try to hold for at least three breaths, eventually leading up to eight breaths if possible.
Bridge pose is a wonderful heart opener. (And who couldn’t use a little more heart-opening these days?) Any time you expand your chest and stimulate the chest cavity, the four chambers of the heart fill more easily with oxygenated blood. This action lessens sinus pressure and opens the throat to aid in allergy relief.
For this pose, you get to start lying on your back. Resist the urge to go to sleep, and place your feet hip’s width distance from one another directly in front of the hips. Ensure that your weight is equally distributed between both feet and that you’re not weighing heavily into the shoulders.
With an inhale, slowly begin to lift your hips toward the ceiling. You can reach your hands to your heels if that helps to stabilize you. Try to stay there for several breaths before slowly releasing down.
If you find this pose particularly helpful, you may want to place a yoga block beneath your hips right at the small of the back and then rest the hips on it. This will allow you passively stay in the backbend and continue to open your heart.
3. Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
While pollen and dust can exacerbate your sinusitis, there’s an equally sinister and invisible factor. Stress. Head-to-knee is pose is an effective stress reliever as you get to just sink in and breathe.
If you have tight hamstrings, you may not feel that this pose is relaxing at all. But if you can move away from the idea that you have to get your head to your knee (you don’t), and just let your body relax and your head hang, you’ll find sinus relief.
Simply sit on the floor with your right leg extended in front of you and your left foot to the inseam of your right leg. Feel free to put a pillow or blanket under your right knee to ease some of the strain you may be experiencing in your hamstrings. Take a deep inhale and then just let your torso go heavy toward or over your right leg. Again, don’t worry about how deep you go.
Take an inhale to lift your body some and straighten your spine, then let it hang forward again. Do this another 3-8 times, as allows, then slowly return to upright seated. Switch sides and do the same coming over the left leg.
Even if you have a notable fear of snakes, you’ll be grateful for cobra pose. Impersonating this hooded reptile will open your lungs, invigorate your heart, and just make breathing a bit easier.
You’ll start lying flat on your belly with your forehead or chin on the ground. Place your hands directly under your shoulders. The fingertips should be in line with the tops of the shoulders. Roll your shoulders back and draw the elbows toward the ribs. Maintain this position and you slowly begin to straighten the arms while keeping the pelvis on the earth.
Unless your lumbar spine is very flexible, your arms will not come completely straight. In fact, you may not lift much from the earth. But whatever the case, you are opening up and expanding the rib cage to improve breathing. Keep your gaze forward or slightly upward to emphasize the opening.
Start by holding for ten seconds if you can. Eventually, you can build up to thirty.
Breathe Easier This Spring
Don’t let sinusitis put the kibosh on enjoying spring this year. Make the above yoga poses for head congestion a part of your regular regimen, and you might be surprised at the ease with which you’re able to breathe again.
And if you’d like to make yoga a regular part of your life but are not sure how to fit it into your busy lifestyle, we can help!
Contact us today to find out about our mobile yoga and mindfulness practices we can bring to your business or organization. We even offer both in-person and virtual for that added peace of mind. We look forward to hearing from you.