Sinus Solutions

Use Skull Shining Breath to relieve sinus pressure.
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Use Skull Shining Breath to relieve sinus pressure.
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When your sinuses get inflamed and clogged with mucus, all you want to do is crawl under the covers. But to clear up that clouded head, you’re better off getting up and moving around, says Jeff Migdow, a physician who directs a yoga teacher training program at the Open Center in New York City. To relieve symptoms, he recommends doing poses (at right) that elevate the head and open the chest. “To get more out of your practice,” he suggests, “first drink some ginger tea and inhale its vapors.”

Kapalabhati breathing can also help. This forceful technique, also called “breath of fire” or Skull Shining Breath, consists of quick nostril exhalations that emanate from the abdominal muscles rather than the chest, and is said to cleanse the nasal passages and lungs. (You should have some tissues on hand.) If you’ve never tried Kapalabhati, it’s best to learn it from an experienced yoga teacher. Try it in Utkatasana (Chair Pose), pictured on this page. Migdow advises against relying on over-the-counter nasal sprays, which he says just irritate the sinuses. So instead of dashing to the medicine cabinet for a decongestant, try some hot tea and these poses.