Dealing With A Stuffy Nose in Yoga Class
We are currently in the heart of winter season and for most of us stuffy noses are common during this time of year. In yoga, we use the breath as a tool to calm the nervous system and to focus on the present moment. From my personal experience I know that it can be hard to practice yoga without being able to breathe normally, so here are a few alternative remedies to help you clear your nasal passages and feel better during your practice!
Essential Oil Diffuser
These devices are commonly seen in yoga studios and can immediately enhance your mood and be a physical aid depending on the oil used. I absolutely love diffusing peppermint oil whenever I have a stuffy nose. This is because peppermint oil contains menthol, which is an ingredient in most sinus and cold medicines. Other essential oils that can be used to treat a stuffy nose are eucalyptus, frankincense, and tea tree.
The air gets extremely dry during the winter season and that can lead to improper drainage of the sinuses and infections. Using a humidifier is great for keeping the sinuses flowing and you breathing through clear nasal passages. If you have a humidifier at home, use it for 30 minutes before you leave for a yoga class. Also, humidifiers are often used in heated yoga classes and are mostly used stimulate the sweat glands as well as, offering the sinus relief!
Sweat towels provided or brought from home can also be used to help open up your sinuses during a yoga class. Before class, take a towel and hold it under hot water for a few minutes and then wring out the excess water. You have the option to then add a couple drops of an essential oil that I listed prior or use the warm compress as is. Take a few minutes to come into savasana on your mat and gently lay the warm compress over your forehead and nose. Focus on your inhalations and exhalations and let the warmth of the towel and/or essential oils reduce the the inflammation in your nostrils.
Hot Herbal Tea
It’s very intuitive to gravitate towards tea when you’re not feel well. Before class, feel free to make a cup of hot herbal tea and slowly sip it to help with a stuffy nose. I really like to drink the brand Yogi Tea and their Breathe Deep flavor is perfect to consume when you’re congested.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
When you have a stuffy nose it can be easy to start breathing through the chest or with an open mouth. This breathing technique relieves stress and tension and sets you up for a meditation practice. Before doing this breathing exercise, I suggest doing one of the other tips first to help with breathing through each nostril.
- Find a comfortable seated position, sit tall, check in with your body and feel where you can release any tension, and then close your eyes.
- Press your pinky and ring finger of your right hand on your left nostril and your thumb on the right nostril
- On your exhalation, close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe out through the left nostril.
- Breathe in through the left nostril and then close with the ring finger.
- Release the thumb on the right nostril and breathe out through the right nostril.
- Inhale through the right nostril, close with the thumb, release the ring finger from the left side and exhale through the left nostril.
- Perform 5 to 9 rounds of this alternating breath between the nostrils.
- Remember to always inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through.
I hope these tips help you breathe with ease during this winter season. See you in class!