Therapeutic Yoga For Sinusitis And Catarrh

There are four pairs of air-filled cavities, known as sinuses, around the nose and ears, which are connected by narrow channels to the back of the nose. These air-filled chambers help to decrease the weight of the head and give acoustic value to the to the voice. The sinuses are lined with a membrane which secretes mucus to keep the nasal tract moist. Under normal circumstances, this mucus drains away naturally, keeping air circulating around the sinuses- the channels between the sinuses and the nasal cavity will be blocked and mucus can accumulate in the cavities, causing pain, congestion and breathing difficulties, loss of smell and sensitivity to light. Acute sinusitis lasts for approximately three weeks and can be caused by viral infections. Chronic sinusitis lasts for much longer and occurs when the causes of the sinusitis themselves become chronic. For example, long term digestive problems such as chronic heartburn, diarrhea, flatulence and constipation can result in chronic sinusitis as the toxins resulting from impaired digestion are secreted through excess mucus in the sinuses.

Catarrh is an acute inflammation of the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract, including the sinuses, nose, throat, trachea and even the eyes and the ears. When the body is run down, opportunistic germs and viruses in the air lodge in the lining f the mucous membrane. The body begins to produce copious amounts of mucus to wash off the viruses or germs, hence the watery discharges. If the immune system doesn’t manage to eliminate the invading organisms within 36-48 hours of the attack, the germs enter the cells of the mucous membrane and cause inflammation. The lining thickens, resulting in a blocked nose, sinusitis and a sore throat, as well as the dis charge of a thick, yellowish-green. Fever, all-over aches and pains, extreme fatigue and headaches may also occur. Yogic treatment concentrates on reducing the amount of mucus in the sinuses (through your diet and cleansing techniques) and breathing exercises to get air circulating properly. The following exercises assist directly with draining your sinuses and dislodging mucus from the chest, helping to congest our airways and to provide immediate relief from the unpleasant symptoms of sinuses and catarrh

1. Nasal Douche


This isn’t strictly speaking a yoga pose but a cleansing process. The salt solution helps to dissolve away any secretions or deposits from inhaled air, thereby releasing any mucus. It also increases the circulation of blood in all the tissues around the sinuses while the cleansing benefits the eyes and nasal passages as well.

Fill a pot with a spout with about two glasses of warm water and add a teaspoon of salt. Place the spout into your right nostril by tilting your head to the side. Water should begin to flow through the nostril and out through the other. Breathe through your mouth throughout this exercise, otherwise water will enter the upper part of your nasal passages, creating discomfort in the sinuses. Refill the pot and repeat with the left nostril.

2. Bellows Breath

breathing styles

This version of bellows breath is done by leaning forward rather than standing upright in order to clear any water still remaining in the nostrils after the Nasal Douche.

In a standing position, place your hands on your hips and bend forward at a right angle. Bend your knees slightly if you are stiff or have a sore back. Close your mouth and keep your eyes open. Take a deep breath in through your nose and allow your stomach to relax. Exhale forcefully as if you were sniffing out and actively pull in your diaphragm.

3. Lion Pose


This has an unrivaled ability to dislodge catarrh from the upper respiratory tract. It is usually done on your heels with your hands on your thighs, but you can stand over a sink (in case you want to release any catarrh released) or sit in a chair if you prefer. Omit this posture if you’ve got high blood pressure.

Inhale and stick your tongue out as far as possible. Tighten your facial muscles and look fierce. Lean forwards and tense up your arms and hands like claws. Your neck should be taut. Keeping your tongue stuck out, exhale ferociously at the base of your throat. Sit back, straighten your neck and relax your arms. Repeat 2-3 times only, relaxing your breath in between. If your throat is weak, this posture can cause soreness, so don’t repeat it too often in one session.

Healthier dietary choices and avoiding ice cold water, ice, cheese , mushrooms, excess chocolate or sweets, spicy foods, yeast and canned products may exacerbate the amount of mucus in your sinuses.

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