yoga for blocked nose

Yoga For Blocked Nose

A blocked nose is one symptom of seasonal allergies, but usually it goes hand in hand with itchy eyes, sneezing attacks and shortness of breath. When it’s hard to breathe, it makes it hard to do a lot of things; It makes it hard to sleep, hard to meditate, it even makes it hard to taste our food and that my friends, is where the line gets crossed.

I unfortunately get hit hard when allergens come into play, especially in winter. The cold early mornings, trigger the congestion in my body and have me blowing my nose a hundred times or more for the first couple of hours of the day.

When my nose is blocked, I have to spend the night switching from my left side, to the right, systematically unblocking one side of my nose, and then the other, just to have the blockage jump from the left to the right.

No one is denying that allergies are a drag, but they are also an opportunity to remove some of the mucus that is inside of the body. As they impinge upon the respiratory system, they are actually triggering the congestion that we are already hosting inside of us.

So instead of trying to mask symptoms with over the counter drugs, try some yoga to actually help drain and dissolve these blockages from the body and from existence.

Which yoga is best for sinus? 

This article is going to introduce a gentle practice combining yoga and breathing techniques to help loosen up nasal blockages to boost overall respiratory functioning. This practice will include some bonus face yoga instructions, which are simple to do and are effective means of helping to drain lymphatic stagnation from the sinuses and head.

We are often so quick to treat a blocked nose or any kind of sinus stagnation with over the counter drugs, but what if you could actually achieve some pretty instant relief with specific yoga postures and breathing practices.

These are not only good for the mind and body, but they are also more effective than pharmaceuticals at treating the root cause. Pain medications can only mask symptoms of suffering and are ineffective at healing that which is causing our discomfort.

I’m going to share some practices that are easy to do and will provide a gentle means of actually dissolving blockages in the body.

Yoga For Blocked Nose Infographic

yoga for blocked nose infographic

Easy Pose - Sukhasana

Come into a cross legged seated position, removing any extra flesh from underneath the sitting bones to promote length through the spine. Hands can rest down in the lap or on the knees. Spend a few moments grounding the body and the mind and close the eyes. With each breath in, lengthen the spine up nice and tall and with each exhale relax the shoulders down away from the ears.

This simple seated pose combined with conscious breathing is going to help ground the body and bring awareness away from the mind. As you sit and rest in this simple pose, actively release tension from the shoulders, chest and face in order to help with any congestion that has built up in these areas.

easy pose - sukhasana sara

Breath of Fire - Kapalabhati

Continue to breathe in and out through the nose, but focus on the exhales by vigorously pushing the breath out through the nose while pulling the belly in. Trust that the inhales will come naturally. Perform this breath for 20 seconds and then rest, bringing the hands down to the lap. Close the eyes and focus on the third eye or take the gaze to the nose.

Breath of Fire is going help to release any congestion in the nose, while building an internal heat in the body to help loosen and release any mucus that has become congested. Sometimes this Pranayama technique can cause mild dizziness, so in order to counter this brings one hand to the heart and one to the belly to help ground and establish equilibrium.

Breath of Fire - Kapalabhati Pranayama

Face Yoga

Using two fingers from each hand, gently tap around the nose to increase the blood circulation to this area. Do this for about 20 seconds, and then using the same two fingers start to tap along the inside of the eyebrows.

Next, start to gently push into the skin; pulling down underneath the eyes and at the sides of the nose. Press in and pull out the skin all around the nose, cheeks and the brow.

Gently pulling and tapping is going to help stimulate the areas and relieve congestion from the face and throat and encourage the lymphatic system to drain out through the nose.

These micro movements invite fresh oxygen which helps to wake up the system and create some extra room for that mucus to move through.

Face Yoga

Easy Pose Variation - Sukhasana

Staying seated in a comfortable Easy Pose, reach both hands up to the sky. Bend the right elbow and drop the hand down the back in between the shoulder blades. With the left hand, grab the right elbow inviting a stretch into the tricep. Focus on opening up the chest and take deep breaths to stretch into the lungs.

Reach both hands up and then switch sides. Ground down into the sitting bones the entire time, lengthening up through the spine and opening the chest. Have the gaze relaxed, focused at one point or the eyes closed.

This Easy Pose variation is going to strengthen and stretch the lungs and open up the respiratory system. 

Easy Pose Tricep Stretch - sukhasana

Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

Rock forward onto the hands and knees and send the hips high to come into Downward Facing Dog. Press into all ten fingers and stretch the legs, melting the heels down towards the mat. With a big breath in, lengthen through the side bodies stretching the rib cage, lungs and abdominal organs.

Downward Facing Dog is stretching the whole body from the heels, up the legs and down the spine. It simultaneously boosts circulation and helping to clear mucus from the respiratory system.

Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Shvanasana

Upward Facing Dog - Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Move through a High Plank and then flip onto the tops of the toes and press down into the palms. Lift the knees and thighs up off the mat and come into Upward Facing Dog. Check that the shoulders are in line with the wrists and the gaze can go slightly up to lengthen the back of the neck.

Actively draw the shoulders down away from the ears and shine the heart forward to continue stretching the front of the chest. Big breaths in here to open into the full capacity of the respiratory system. 

Upward facing dog - urdhva mukha svanasana

Camel Pose - Ustrasana

Come to kneeling and if there is sensitivity in the knees there is the option of rolling the mat up to act as a cushion. Start to bring the gaze up and send the arms high as you open the chest, bringing an arch into the low back. Focus on lengthening the spine and send the hips forward, gently squeezing the glutes.

Bring the hands now to the sacrum for more support, fingers pointing down and move slowly to find your depth. Continue to push the hands down, to increase the space at the low back. Take a big breath in and as you exhale, stick out the tongue and create a hissing sound.

To come out of the pose safely, bend the knees and fold down, bringing the hips down towards the feet, coming into a kneeling posture. Bring one hand to the heart and one to the belly.

Camel Pose is deep heart opening posture that increases circulation in the chest while stretching the lungs. This will help to remove the mucus that has become stuck and is causing blockages.

camel pose - ushtrasana

Featured Video:Yoga For Nose Blockage

Yoga for sinus allergies

Allergic responses are triggered by a variety of different environmental allergens; foods, dust, pollen and mold, to name a few and can wreak havoc on our respiratory system, makes our eyes and nose run. They can make heading to yoga class a little too hard basket, but luckily there are some simple postures you can practice at home. If you have access to a bed or a floor, you can invert the body. No excuses.

Inverting the body is an effective means of opening up the nasal passage and combating against these sinus allergies. This doesn’t mean you have to throw yourself into a handstand, unless you can, then for sure, go get yourself upside down. BUT, if that is not in your practice, there are many more simple poses that are going to get the body above the head and get that congested mucus draining out. 

Fish Pose – Matsyasana
Fish Pose is going to open the respiratory system as you stretch the lungs, chest and throat, while stimulating the lymphatic system where all this congestion is backed up.

Postures like this one are going to help strengthen the respiratory system so that the body is better able to defend against allergens which are causing your allergic response.

Supported Shoulder Stand – Salamba Sarvangasana
This posture is going to open the nasal canal and encourage the sinuses to drain which will relieve pressure from the head and face. Fresh oxygenated blood is being directed down into the chest which will assist in clearing the respiratory tract.

Plow Pose – Halasana
This posture stretches into the back of the neck and the head and releases tension from these areas that can be inhibiting effective drainage of congestion in the head and sinuses.

Pranayama for blocked nose

Depending on blocked the nose is, certain Pranayama techniques might be able to provide some relief. If the blockage is severe then forceful breathing in and out of the nose is not advised, as it will likely just be too difficult and uncomfortable. However for mild congestion the technique Anulom Vilom can help to encourage a free flow of air in and out of the nasal passage.

Alternate Nostril Breathing Preparation – Anulom Vilom

Relax the body in a comfortable seat and bring the first two fingers of the right hand to rest in between the brows, in the space of the third eye.
Block the right nostril with the thumb and then inhale up the left nostril completely.
Cover the left nostril with the ring finger and exhale down the right.
Inhale up the right nostril completely and then cover with the thumb.
Exhale down the left nostril.
Inhale up the left nostril completely, then cover with the ring finger.
Exhale down the right nostril.
Continue this practice for ten round and then rest with the hands in the lap.

Perform a total of three rounds and then allow the breath to return to its natural rhythm of breathing.

Yoga for sinus headache relief

Headaches can range from mild to severe, but regardless of their level of intensity, we are so quick to reach for pain meds to dull the ache. These unfortunately only act as a temporary band aid solution and offer nothing in the way of healing or prevention.

Research has shown that yoga can effectively manage headaches, in regards to the intensity of the pain experienced during an attack and the frequency of their overall occurrence. So try some yoga instead, and see if you can actually get to the root cause of your suffering, by releasing tension in the muscles, draining the sinuses and dissolving congestion.

Yoga therapy for sinusitis

Sinusitis is a condition where there is inflammation present in the membrane lining the sinuses and the suffering can be much more severe than that caused by seasonal allergies or other environmental allergens. There can be facial pressure, nasal congestion and discharge, pain in the face, jaw and teeth and even a diminished sense of smell. The most typical form of intervention is a course of antibiotics, which the body can develop resistances to over time and can wreak havoc on gut health.

Research was conducted in order to find out whether or not there is a scientific basis for yoga therapy in the treatment of sinusitis and found that some Yogic Pranayama techniques are highly effective in ventilating the sinuses. Bhramari, also known as the Humming Bee Breath is thought to help prevent infection and reduce inflammation.

Humming Bee Breath – Bhramari Pranayama
Bring the thumbs to rest gently in the opening of the ear canal.
Bring the index fingers to meet at the brow, the space of the third eye.
Bring the remaining three fingers to rest gently on either side of the bridge of the nose, covering the eyes.

Inhale through the nose and as you exhale out the nose, create a humming sound as you drop the chin down towards the chest. At the end of the exhalation, take a breath in as you bring the head back up.

Complete six rounds of Humming Bee Breath creating an audible humming sound, and then complete six more in silence, imaging the humming vibration. Notice if you can still sense the vibrations in the sinuses.


Sinus congestion and a blocked nose can make going to yoga class a little unappealing, but there is no reason to not roll out the mat at home or even practice some face yoga or some conscious breathing at your desk, in your car or in the comfort of your own bed. Clear the sinuses while at the same time clearing the mind and rest, rest, rest!

You are now armed with a more holistic means of unblocking the nose and fighting congestion in the body, as opposed to taking pharmaceutical interventions which only mask symptoms for a couple of hours and offer nothing of substance to the mind.

Take your time with this practice and be gentle. Trust that blockages will dissolve as you move and stretch the body, inviting in fresh oxygen and space so that excessive mucus can move through and out.


Charlie Hanna

Charlie is a Yoga Alliance certified Hatha, Yin Yoga & Meditation teacher with a psychology degree in her back pocket. She is currently on a mission, chasing sun and Read More..

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