Breathing through cold, fluey and chesty symptoms

Imagine yourself like a bee buzzing from flower to flower, honey pot to honey pot

Imagine yourself like a bee buzzing from flower to flower, honey pot to honey pot

It's that time of the year, with the temperatures fluctuating up and down when we all start to get a bit sick and share it around.

What can you do if you find yourself feeling unwell?

Yoga may go immediately off the books due to the whole hanging upside down with the nose-running, pressure-of-sinuses, disturbing-others-with-coughing thing. But you can do some breathing at home that will help you feel a little better and may help relieve some symptoms.

Bhramari breathing, the buzzing bee breathe, is reputed to increase the warmth and blood flow to the area where you buzz, thereby helping improve the immune response by getting more immune helper cells to the site of the infection. It may also make the cat happier as you seem to purr back ;)

Remember that buzzing (or purring) is also a healing mechanism in cats - have the image of each buzz making you better, spreading the healing cells around the infected area.

So if you have sinus issues, you bring the buzzing sound to just between the eyebrows which will resonate in the sinuses. If you have a sore throat, you bring the buzzing to the throat area. Or if you have a chest cough or chest infection bring the buzz to the chest.

First sit comfortably with the spine in it's naturally curved position, shoulders over hips. This breath can be done lying on your back, but these kinds of symptoms can make it difficult to do that. The breath is done through the nose, so if your nose is blocked you may have to wait a couple of more days.

As with all yogic practices, you should never be in pain or discomfort. Keep the breath at a comfortable length for you so you are never straining for the breath.

  • Breathe out, then in through the nose.
  • On the next outward breath, hum for the length of the outward breath.
    • Change the pitch of the hum to move the breath.
      • A higher pitched hum with be higher in the body. A lower pitched hum lower.
  • Continue for at least 5 breaths
    • for general maintenance I do 5 breaths at each of the three points (sinus, throat, chest)

You may not be able to do this breath when your symptoms are at their worst. See how you feel. Try it as you feel the symptoms coming on, and when the worst of the symptoms have passed (so you do not have coughing fits half-way through a breath).

Practice this before you get sick so that you know what to do and how it feels without the symptoms. Then as soon as you feel anything ear, nose, throat or chesty coming on you can introduce it morning and night. Feel the warmth through each area and the relaxation provided by lengthening the outward breath.

This is also said to be an excellent breath for kids with asthma to practice as it lengthens the outward breath while making noise :) If it is practiced when symptoms are not present, it has been shown to improve markers of breathe capacity. Also, the kids may be able to focus on trying the buzzing breath in conjunction with medication during a mild attack helping them breathe out more effectively.

Bhramari breathing and asthma: