by: Vasanthi Bhat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Yoga for preventing Cold, Asthma and Allergies
Almost everyone has suffered through the horrible experience of having a
cold or allergies during the chilly winter season. However, all the
discomforts of a cold or allergy can be prevented through the regular
practice of some simple breathing techniques (Pranayama) and the yoga
The practice of pranayama involves a controlled awareness of the breath.
This technique relaxes the lungs thereby helping the lungs to absorb more
oxygen. Increased oxygen boosts the immune system and energy level thereby
alleviating chronic colds, asthma, sinus congestion, allergies, emphysema,
snoring, and other lung ailments. Here are some simple pranayama techniques
anyone can practice at any time during the day.
Sit comfortably with your back straight. Close your eyes. Focus your
awareness on your natural breath. Gently prolong the exhalation while
pulling your stomach in as much as possible. As you breathe in, let your
compressed stomach come up naturally, making sure you do not expand it more
than normal. Breathe out from the chest to the stomach while pulling the
stomach in as slowly as you can. Good complete breathing always starts with
good exhalation. Do this procedure gently and slowly, making sure to never
allow your stomach to jerk as you breathe. Practice for about 15 breaths or
1-2 minutes. Rest for 10-15 seconds before you start another pranayama.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Sit comfortably with your back straight. Close your eyes. Rest the index and
middle fingers of your right hand on your eyebrow center. Close your right
nostril with your thumb. Left-handed people need to switch the thumb and
ring finger. Breathe in moderately through your left nostril and close it
with your ring finger. Open your right nostril and breathe out gently.
Breathe in through the right nostril and close your left nostril. Breathe
out through your left nostril and start the next round. Practice 3-5 rounds.
Assume a comfortable sitting position with your back straight. Breathe in
deeply. Breathe out forcefully while contracting the stomach muscles quickly
and rhythmically, pushing them toward the spine and relaxing the stomach
muscles back to normal. Breathing in comes naturally in this process. Keep
contracting and relaxing the stomach muscles until the active exhalation and
passive inhalation sound like bellows. One round consists of 20 in and out
breaths. Depending on your ability practice from as little as a few breaths
to as many as you can comfortably handle.
Along with the practice of pranayama one can do some simple
forward and backward bending postures to help deal with any ailments
associated with the cold and flu season. The forward bending postures
stretch and expand, thereby relax the thoracic cavity. When the upper back
is stretched in such a manner, tension is released to provide benefits in
that area, including the lungs. The backward bending techniques expand and
purify the chest and lungs, allowing more oxygen to enter into the body.
Some powerful postures include the cobra (Backward bending), the fish
(Backward bending), the pose of the moon (Forward bending), and the
preliminary leg-pull (Forward bending).
All these exercises are highly beneficial and can save a person
weeks or perhaps months of agonizing through a cold or allergy. With the flu
season approaching, now is a perfect time to start practicing yoga and
making sure that this winter is going to be a healthy one!
Vasanthi Bhat is an internationally recognized yoga teacher, author, publisher, and producer. She is also the founder of Vasantha Yoga Health and Fitness Center in San Jose, California. She has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 22 years.
Vasanthi has produced a series of Video tapes, audio CDs, and has written several books.
For more information visit: http://www.indolink.com/Vasantha