Allergies are often the result of a hyper vigilant immune system that has become unbalanced. Various yoga practices that strengthen the immune system are especially helpful for calming allergies. You may incorporate this “allergy free” sequence into your week by setting aside half an hour every day to do the following poses, or go to a yoga class and learn from a yoga teacher. This sequence is helpful to people with all types of allergies. Begin with Kapalabhati Prananyama, a series of short, rapid exhalations through the nose, known for its effectiveness to cleanse the nasal activities. But, if your nasal passages are inflamed, you may wish to skip Kapalabhati in exchange for a deeply relaxing practice like long exhalations. Beginners can start by practicing long exhalations. To do this, inhale for a count of three, then exhale for a count of four, gradually working up to inhaling for four and exhaling for a count of six. After the sequence, finish with five minutes in Savasana; lie on your back, close your eyes and relax.
1 Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior One) Stand with your legs straight, left leg forward, and arms at your sides. Inhale while bending the left leg until the knee is above the ankle and raise the arms overhead into Warrior One. Exhale while releasing the arms and straightening the left leg to the beginning position. Repeat three or four times, and then hold the pose for six breaths. Flow into the next pose before repeating on the other side.
2 Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) From Warrior One, fold the body over the front leg, straightening the front leg with careful regard for the hamstrings. Stay here for six breaths. Repeat for the other leg, after completing Warrior One with right leg forward.
3 Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) Stand with your legs wide apart, left foot pointing away from the body, arms floating at shoulder height. On an exhale, place the left hand on your shin or big toe. The right arm reaches to the sky and your gaze is toward the right hand. Lengthen the torso, turn the sternum upward, and open the hips away from each other. The legs are straight and strong. Hold the side-bend for four breaths, inhaling to return to the start position. Repeat on the other side.
4 Prasarita Padottanasana A (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend) Stand with your legs wide apart and feet parallel, and clasp your hands to your waist. Inhale and lengthen your spine and then exhale and hinge forward from the hips, bending knees if needed. Place your hands, shoulder distance apart on the mat, with fingers spread and facing forward, or hold your elbows. Your head will release towards the Earth. Remain in the asana for six breaths, and then place the hands onto the waist and with a long torso and raised head, inhale to return to standing.
5 Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) Lie on your back with knees bent and arms down by your sides. Inhaling, lift the hips up, and exhale as your roll the spine down one vertebra at a time. Repeat this three times, synchronizing each movement with your breath. On the fourth inhale, hold the hips high for six breaths. Exhale roll down, hug your knees into your chest and roll gently from side to side to release the back.
With Claire Barkhuizen. For more information about yoga classes and energy healing available, please call Claire ph 7719175 or email [email protected] See www.loveclaire/vanuatu-yoga/ for a class schedule.