How Yoga Helped me Beat my Allergies. ~ Rachna Parmar

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sneeze allergies

There was a time when I suffered terribly from respiratory allergies.

I remember shying away from venturing outdoors when the pollen season was at its peak. Only those who suffer the symptoms of allergic rhinitis know how debilitating it is.

The runny nose, watery eyes, itching and sneezing fits can drive any person nuts and interfere with their day-to-day functioning. My allergies stemmed from both the dust mites and pollen.

Yes, the anti-histamines helped sometimes. And at other times, I had to go for stronger medication. But the allergies were always just around the corner.

Fed up, I sought a better treatment, something that could reduce my susceptibility to respiratory allergies. I wanted to escape this cyclical misery every season. I wanted to stop pumping medicines into my body that did not heal.

That is when I got some well-meaning advice to try yoga. The Pranayams or breathing exercises are known to strengthen the respiratory system and also give a boost to immunity. I started slowly and with apprehension, not expecting too much, but six months of yoga practice and I could visibly see a difference.

Here is how yoga helped me get on top of my respiratory allergies:

Pranayams: Pranayams or breathing exercises helped me immensely.

I did Anuloma Viloma, Kapalabhati, and Bhastrika Pranayam among others. Some people swear by Jalneti for allergic rhinitis. I have never done it personally. These pranayams helped me understand my breathing, cleared my nasal passages and strengthened the sinuses. I did see remarkable improvement in my allergies after doing this exercise regimen for four to five days every week for six months.

Meditation: I have immensely benefited from meditation.

It helps in reducing stress and making me feel calmer. Stress is a precursor to many problems in our lives including allergies. I did find my immunity improving with regular meditation. My regular headaches got better and the episodes of allergies got fewer and lower in intensity.

Chanting: Like meditation, chanting helps in calming and focusing the mind.

I find my body filled with energy when I chant. I also feel in deep control of my breathing. Chanting helps me achieve communion with my body and mind. I can do it any time of the day even when I take breaks during my work. It instantly calms the mind.

The above three along with yoga asanas or postures helped me fight respiratory allergies and also build a fitter and more toned body. Yoga as a holistic system of health is beneficial in helping us gain mindfulness towards our bodies, our life choices and our health, which in turn helps us control auto-immune conditions like allergies.

If you are a beginner, make sure you join a good yoga class to learn the techniques and postures correctly. Subsequently, you can do yoga at home. Try the yoga approach to beating allergies. It will give you long-term sustainable benefits.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photos: Bill Benzon/Flickr, Brian Moore/Flickr

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Rachna Parmar

Rachna Parmar is an award-winning blogger, an enthusiastic cook, wife, fitness freak, Yoga enthusiast and mother to two naughty sons and a Labrador. She is also a freelance Content Writer and an entrepreneur. She counts reading, writing, cooking, fitness, Yoga and social causes among her passions. You can follow her on her blogTwitter, Facebook and on Pinterest.

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anonymous Nov 20, 2014 10:53pm

Amazing!! yoga has so many health benefits….

    anonymous Nov 24, 2014 1:48am

    Absolutely, it does. Thanks for reading!

anonymous Sep 14, 2014 8:48pm

Great article! Can't agree more. Having suffered from allergic rhinitis as well, I believe that Yoga has given me the space to slow down and have a more balanced lifestyle, which in turn reduces inflammation in my body. This has indirectly helped in my allergic condition. Coincidentally, I have also recently blogged about Yoga approach to allergies 🙂

    anonymous Sep 15, 2014 10:54am

    Thank you, Shan, Indeed, Yoga does lead one to mindful living and benefits that we may not even expect. Thanks for reading.

anonymous Sep 13, 2014 12:47am

Good work for the debut article Rachna. Reminds me that I need to get back to my Yoga 🙁

    anonymous Sep 14, 2014 10:52am

    Thank you, Farida. I hope you do soon.

anonymous Sep 12, 2014 11:18am

Congratulations on the debut article, Rachna!! Yoga is just wonderful for a number of chronic conditions!! It's really big here in California, and with good reason!
I'm glad you got relief from your allergies through these techniques!

    anonymous Sep 12, 2014 10:54pm

    Thanks, Roshni. It has always been big in India. Sad that many of us are losing our own heritage. Thanks for reading.

anonymous Sep 12, 2014 9:23am

Hey Rachna can't agree more…insightful article

anonymous Sep 12, 2014 7:11am

I too suffer from allergic rhinitis and it is sheer misery.I have been doing yoga for ages now but somehow a cure eludes me.Still yoga has given me many other benefits.

    anonymous Sep 12, 2014 8:40am

    Indeed, Yoga gives a lot of benefits. I do hope you feel better soon, Indu.

anonymous Sep 12, 2014 4:02am

You too Brutus 🙂 I never knew you also suffered from rhinitis. Its my bane and am still struggling with it. Have been trying Yoga, homeo etc. but I still have to have a quarter of anti-allergic everyday.

    anonymous Sep 12, 2014 8:39am

    Oh yes, I did. I still get some sporadic episodes but they are very minor. I hope that you feel better soon.

anonymous Sep 12, 2014 3:38am

Such a nice post, straight from the heart! I can totally relate to what you saying..i'm trained in Bihar School of Yoga…and it has been an integral of my life for more than 10 years now…there was a time when i was also bitten by the allergy bug, and nothing saved me but YOGA!! i find a great amount of peace & solace on my yoga mat… 🙂

    anonymous Sep 12, 2014 8:37am

    Thank you so much, Amu. You and I are bound together by the goodness of Yoga and how it rescued us from allergies. Indeed, a yoga mat is all it takes. Thanks so much for reading :).

anonymous Sep 12, 2014 2:37am

Yoga learnt from a learned guru ,can prove to be benefecial in many chronic conditions. It is not only asanas as you rightly pointed out. Iyengar yoga helped me immensely with my chonic pain and I highly recommend it.

    anonymous Sep 12, 2014 8:36am

    Absolutely true, Sharmila. Yes, it is a misconception that only asanas can help and that one has to do a rigid routine to benefit. Yoga is such a flexible, holistic system of health. I am so glad you benefited from Iyengar Yoga.

anonymous Sep 12, 2014 1:12am

For the past many years I've been a victim of severe allergies. Many a time I need to swallow even two anti histamines. They make my head all woozy and I end up sleeping for hours at a stretch. While I've heard about the benefits of yoga, I think I seriously need to put it into practice. Thank you Rachna for this informative article. 🙂

    anonymous Sep 12, 2014 8:34am

    Sridevi, I do hope you give Yoga a try. When I came to Bangalore initially and suffered almost every day, my doctor wanted to put me on a medication regimen of 3 years. I refused and turned to Yoga. And that almost transformed my life in more ways than one.

anonymous Sep 12, 2014 1:05am

I don't follow yoga but pranayama has definitely helped my allergic rhinitis Rachna.

    anonymous Sep 12, 2014 8:33am

    Pranayam is a part of Yoga, Alka. That is the best part about Yoga. You don't have a premeditated regimen. You can do whatever benefits you as long as you do it regularly. Do try the asanas as well. I saw a remarkable improvement in my flexibility.

anonymous Sep 12, 2014 12:01am

Yes an important note that Yoga is a lifestyle, not simply an exercise or fad. You remind me that I really need to make better choices for myself. When I am practicing yoga, I feel GOOD. Spiritually, physically, mentally. Thank you for bringing this to light.

    anonymous Sep 12, 2014 8:45am

    Absolutely, Crystal. You said it beautifully. Yoga is a way of life and only when we practice it that way do we see its far-reaching benefits in all spheres of our life. I

anonymous Sep 12, 2014 12:01am

Yoga is the best way to keep healthy. It needs no equipment and is really easy to understand. I have seen so many people benefit from it including myself. I am glad you chose yoga instead of meds to fight allergies. 🙂

    anonymous Sep 12, 2014 8:32am

    Thanks, Swapna. Indeed, I am glad too. Not only allergies but Yoga has given me so much more.

anonymous Sep 11, 2014 11:13pm

My dad keeps telling me to practice yoga but I'm so lazy that I just don't listen..I have seen him practice it and it has actually helped control his uric acid … I know and have seen the benefits of yoga but the incorrigible lazy me just doesn't learn!

    anonymous Sep 11, 2014 11:51pm

    Just take the plunge and begin one day. Yoga has become a way of life with me now. I do my meditation and chanting on the go. I love doing the Pranayams and Surya Namaskars. Once you experience it, you will want to stick with it.

anonymous Sep 11, 2014 10:03pm

The effect of yoga on the immune system has been widely documented. You have summed up the benefits of pranayam, dhyana and mantra perfectly. While asanas are central, the complete benefit of yoga can only be experienced by adopting yoga/pranayam as a way of life, not just a physical exercise regimen. Thanks for highlighting this important aspect.

    anonymous Sep 11, 2014 10:25pm

    Thank you, Subhorup. Indeed, Yoga is a way of life. When practiced regularly, Yoga can benefit every sphere of our life and can make us feel healthy and nurtured, both physically and mentally.