Yoga Breathing Techniques to Prevent a Cold and Cough

Yogic breathing can be used to prevent cold and cough.
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Yoga is more than just another form of physical fitness. It is a ancient art that teaches a number of healthful practices, including those to prevent and treat illness. Pranayama, or yogic breathing techniques, are used for meditation, and can also be used to prevent cold and cough. Be sure and consult your health care provider before trying natural therapies.

Kapalabhati Pranayama

Kapalabhati pranayama, also known as skull shining breath, is a form or kriya, or cleansing. It is used to expel toxins from the lungs. It can help prevent and treat a cough. Begin by sitting upright in a comfortable position. Place your hands over your navel to focus your attention there. Forcefully expel all the air from the lungs using the abdominal muscles. The motion is similar to blowing your nose. Next, quickly inhale through the nostrils, filling the lungs. Repeat this process for 25 to 30 expulsions. Over time, increase the number of repetitions to 100 expulsions.

Ujjayi Pranayama

Ujjayi pranayama, pronounced "oojai," loosely translates to conqueror breath. It is a basic yogic breathing technique used in many different postures and in meditation. It is also sometimes referred to as ocean breath because of the soft sound made when performing it. Ujjayi helps clear the mind and the sinuses. It is made by slightly constricting the muscles in the throat to control the flow of air. Inhale slowly through the nose, allowing the stomach to expand. Next, exhale slowly and allow the lungs to empty completely, keeping the shoulders relaxed. The exhalation should be twice as long as the inhalation. Repeat for five to 10 minutes.

Surya Bhedana Pranayama

Surya bhedana pranayama, or single nostril breath, is used specifically to treat and prevent colds and seasonal allergy symptoms. It is also believed to balance the brain. Sit up in a comfortable position. Expel all the air from the lungs. Using the ring and pinky fingers of the right hand, close the left nostril. Inhale deeply through the right nostril. Pinch both nostrils shut and hold the breath briefly. Next, release the left nostril and exhale. Reverse the process by inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right. Repeat this cycle for one to three minutes.

Bhramari Pranayama

Bhramari pranayama is made by pressing the lips together and humming like a buzzing bee. According to "Yoga Journal," the vibrations made with bhramari pranayama help open the sinuses and allow phlegm to drain, relieving sinus pressure. It may also help prevent bacterial growth. Bhramari is used specifically to treat sinus congestion. It is a particularly helpful technique if you already have a cold and are too congested to practice either ujjayi or surya bhedana pranayama.

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