5 Yoga Poses to Fight Seasonal Allergies

Gwen Lawrence by Gwen Lawrence | May 7th, 2013 | 6 Comments
topic: Family Health, Fitness, Health & Wellness, Yoga

Yoga for Allergies

It’s allergy season — that time of year when many of us are plagued by itchy or watery eyes, runny noses, and bouts of sneezing and coughing that threaten to knock pictures off the wall. These common allergy symptoms are the body’s way of defending itself against bacteria and viruses. Luckily, yoga can help!

First, we have to figure out where those annoying symptoms are coming from. Allergies are triggered by allergens. Some of the most common seasonal allergens include pollen, dust, mold, food and insect venom. Irritants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution and some strong odors (such as perfumes) also impinge the respiratory system.

The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid what triggers them — such as by staying indoors on days when the pollen count is at its highest and keeping your home free of dust. But yoga can also help with both the prevention and management of allergy symptoms.

Yoga has been shown to have a stabilizing effect on the immune system, and with a regular yoga practice, the overall health and local resistance in respiratory passages is improved, making it easier for your body to fend off allergens. Yoga is also a great and effective stress management technique. It helps you relax and control your mind and emotions, facilitating the control of your allergic reaction.

Asanas for allergies

  • Shoulder Stand and other Inversions open nasal passages and improve drainage. However, do not hold for more than a minute or two at a time so as not to create too much pressure.
  • Plow Pose opens the muscles at the base of the skull and the back of the neck, where pressure tends to accumulate. When these muscles are loose, drainage is clearer.
  • Bridge and other Backbends open the chest. You can also stretch on a Balance Ball or over the back of a cushioned chair. I recommend everybody in the world do this not only to help with allergies but also to undo all the forward moving/leaning postures (sitting in front of a computer, cooking, driving, etc.) that makes us slouch. Back-bending is also a great way to expand the chest and lungs and increase lung capacity.
  • Three-Part Yogic Breath helps increase lung capacity and decrease toxins and stale air. It also helps to reduce stress, which can can improve immunity and make you less susceptible to allergies and colds.
  • Fish Pose is another great way to open the chest, lungs and throat to free the breath. This pose stimulates the thymus gland, which is located under the sternum. This is particularly important in young children with allergies, as the ability of the thymus to regulate the lymphatic system and help establish immunities significantly decreases after puberty.

Try these poses the next time you sense your allergies acting up. But remember: Yoga helps only in the management of allergies and should not be treated as a cure. Medical attention may still be needed for more extreme allergy symptoms.


  1. I have year round allergies that blossom in the Spring and Fall. In my practice I’ve found that starting with Childs Pose and gently resting the front of my forehead on the mat – with the chin slightly tilted upwards relieves my sinus pressure. I then follow it with Rabbit Pose to let my sinus’s drain. Works for me and my students! Make sure you have the tissues handy :)

    Val Boyko | May 9th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  2. Can’t wait to try these. Thank you!

    Jenna Gavula | May 11th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  3. Make sense.

    Helen | June 11th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  4. [...] you too struggle with seasonal allergies, check out this article from Gaiam which gives advice on the best yoga poses to relieve allergies.  And if you are a [...]

  5. I’ve been doing yoga for 6 months now and I haven’t have any allergies for October and November.

    Helen Lasangre | November 19th, 2014 | Comment Permalink
  6. I never associated yoga with sinus benefits, and for the last few weeks I committed to daily practice for the first time in my life (morning and bedtime) and especially in the morning, I observed my sinuses draining after certain poses (usually inversions) and noticed after about a week that I can actually breathe through my nose clearly for the first time since childhood (!?) had to look it up to see if there was a correlation, I have to believe it’s the yoga. Wow. I am 37!!

    Denise | March 5th, 2016 | Comment Permalink

Post a Comment

If you want to show your picture with your comment, go get a gravatar!