Are you a victim of allergies or a seasonal cold that has you begging for sinus relief? You’re not alone! With changing seasons, thousands are miserable with unrelenting sinus issues.
Luckily for us, there are tons of natural ways to help combat your sinus pressure, runny nose and stuffiness. After experiencing different yoga classes and pranayama breathing techniques, I have compiled three great exercises to help alleviate sinus pressure and get your nasal fluids moving. You’ll probably notice increased energy, mental clarity and focus doing these, too!
Go get some tissues! Here are some exercises you can try to alleviate some sinus pressure:
1. Targeting Pressure Points Under your Cheeks
How To: Put your pointer and middle fingers together on your right and left hands. Bring them under the cheek bone and gently push up. With your fingers applying pressure, take a deep breathe in and out of your nose. Take 5 -10 breathes or until you feel any relief.
2. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhan)
Did you know your body will alternate breathing through a dominate nostril? Check right now and see which nostril is being favored! This exercise helps to release energy blockages, balance your inner prana (life force) and act as a circulatory and respiratory therapy.
How To: Sit in a comfortable seated position, with one leg in from of the other. You can use your thumb and pinky finger to close the nostrils (I prefer this method, but you can also have your middle and index finger between the eyebrows, closing your nostrils with the thumb and ring finger – visual here). Start by placing a finger on the right nostril, closing it, and taking a deep breath in through your left nostril. Next, cover the left nostril with your finger, and exhale out of your right. Inhale in through your right nostril, then switch, and cover the right nostril with your finger. Exhale out of your left nostril. Continue through this for 6-10 rounds. You should feel some relief, especially if you are experiencing a particular side causing you trouble.
- Calming the mind
- Therapeutic for the circulatory and respiratory systems
- Helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain
- Helps maintain body temperature
3. Breath of Fire (Kapalbhati)
This is seen as one of the more advanced pranayama techniques. This exercise should be used with caution if you have any medical conditions. I suggest watching the video below for a full demonstration of this technique, as it should be taught by an instructor. It is also recommended to do this on an empty stomach.
How To: Sit in a stable, comfortable seated position with your legs crossed one in front of the other. You will want to sit on a blanket or towel giving your hips height, so your legs can rest comfortably. Sit up tall with your chin slightly tucked. Engage your abdominal muscles, pulling your navel in towards your spine. In this exercise, you will feel the burn in your core and create a lot of heat within your body. You may even work up a sweat! Take a deep inhale and exhale. To start, take a deep inhale, and on your exhale, contract the abdominal muscles and exhale the air out forcefully. You may want to keep your hand on your belly to feel the contraction. Your inhale should come automatically after your exhale. Try to keep a fast pace, 1:1, breathing once every second.
- Increased lung capacity and improves the efficiency of gas exchange (O2 and CO2) in the lungs
- Increased concentration
- Exercises and massages all the internal organs of the chest and abdomen
- Increased in red blood cell (RBC), haemoglobin (Hb) and eosinophils in the blood
Click here for more information on the added benefits of this technique.
*Please note that these exercises should be practiced with care. I urge you to consult with a doctor before trying these breathing exercises, especially if you have any heart, circulatory or respiratory conditions. It is also important to stop if you are feeling light headed, experience any pain or straining of any sort.
Try these techniques at home and let me know if they helped relieve your sinus pressure! Stay tuned for more articles on how you can add yoga techniques into your daily life.