Exercises for Altitude Sickness

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Read Ana Forrest’s response:


Dear Katie,

Altitude sickness is due to the decrease in available oxygen. Symptoms can include headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and insomnia.

Your students need to stay hydrated and do things that encourage the flow of oxygen throughout their bodies. Here are some tips:

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You must drink water and stay hydrated.
  2. Increase the oxygen in your blood. Do Pranayama three times a day: 10 breaths when you first wake up, 10 at midday, and 10 before you go to bed.
  3. Do alternate-nostril breathing, but with fewer holds than usual.
  4. Practice kappalabhati, because it pumps up your oxygen level quickly. But do not use Ujjayi in this pranayama.
    Do short, sharp exhales, with a relaxed minimal inhale after each exhale, for 75 to 100 pumps.
    Then inhale deeply once, holding for as long as it is interesting.
    Exhale, take a deep inhale, and do at least one more round of 75 to 100 pumps.
  5. When hiking, especially uphill, take short, strong inhales and exhales. Do not take the usual long yoga breaths. Keep your attention on your breath. For example, inhale for five counts and exhale for 10, or whatever numbers feel good to you.
  6. Do not eat too much at any one meal. Overeating will overload your system and make your digestion sluggish. Your body will then deplete itself during the night trying to digest all the food, and you’ll feel tired and slow in the morning.
  7. Make sure not to go too long without food. Nibble along the way. Headaches can be caused by low blood sugar as well as lack of oxygen and hydration.
  8. Research herbal remedies for altitude sickness, being mindful of their strength and other effects.

Most of all, enjoy your journey and walk in Beauty.