If you suffer from hay-fever, spring can be a challenging time. After all, it’s hard to appreciate tree buds and flower blossoms through watery eyes and in-between sneezes. Rest assured, if seasonal allergies are dampening your days, there are simple yoga lifestyle practices that can help you.
What is happening to my body?
Seasonal allergies are your body’s way of protecting you from the surge of pollen, dust, and molds that are floating in the air—even when they’re not dangerous. Your immune system perceives the allergens as a threat, and counter-attacks by producing histamines. The histamines, not the pollens themselves, cause itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, and sometimes headaches, stomach upset and even sleeplessness.
What can I do?
The main thing is to sooth, nourish, and strengthen your immune system on an ongoing basis. Secondly, minimize exposure to allergens so that your body has time to regenerate. Here are some ways to achieve some of these goals at home.
Practice yoga asanas through the sniffles
When you feel drained, practicing yoga asanas gets your blood circulating and your energy flowing. Your nervous system receives support and your immune system finds balance. If stepping outside means an allergy attack, avoid it altogether. Create a yoga space where you are by finding a room where you can move with ease. Transform it with soft lighting and use a fan to improve airflow. Play a DVD for guidance, or relaxing music if you like to practice solo.
The ancient practice of cleansing the nasal passages with warm water and salt is called neti. Neti not only helps you clear away allergens and breath more freely, it also helps prevent colds and flu. Neti pots are very popular, and you can find them easily these days. Learn more about neti and how you can do it here.
After cleansing the nostrils, it is helpful to sooth, moisturize and protect the insides with an Ayurvedic technique known as nasya. Nasya is easy. With a clean finger, rub a dab of sesame oil or another pure vegetable oil inside your nostrils and you’re done!
Shower and wash your hair before bed
During the day, we pick up pollen and dust on our hair, clothes, and skin. Before you put your head down for the night, make sure you don’t take them with you. A good night’s rest will allow your body time to heal, and give your allergies a break.
If you’ve ever experienced hay-fever yourself, then you can probably understand why drugstore antihistamines are so popular, they provide quick relief. However, taking them day-in-and-day-out, even for just a just a few weeks out of the year, is not ideal considering the long list of possible side effects associated with them. Foods rich in Vitamin C on the other hand, including bell peppers, kale, chili peppers, and fruits like kiwis, strawberries, and citrus, are natural histamine blockers by default. Additionally, there are plenty of natural allergy-relief supplements that to choose from. Find one that has a positive effect for you and remember to begin taking it next year, before the season begins.