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Breathing easy in a big city is a challenge at the best of times. Allergy season can aggravate our bodies, turning the joys of spring into miserable marathon of itchy eyes, aching heads and painful sinuses.

Yoga is a great tool for calming inflammation, including allergies, and keeping our bodies and immune responses functioning properly.

Here are five anti-allergy yoga poses to help you survive spring.

Pranayama (Deep breathing)

Breath-work has many benefits for allergy sufferers. First, regular pranayama practice increases your lung capacity and flexibility. This helps if you get short of breath or suffer asthma related to allergies. Second, it eliminates stale air and toxins to cleanse and rejuvenate the body. Third, yogic breathing calms the body and mind, reducing stress and inflammation due to allergies.

down_dog

Hitting the beach-also a good way to fight allergies!

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward facing dog)

This is a partial inversion that helps balance the body, stretch the spine, and open up the back, creating more space through the chest and lungs. It also builds strength and stamina, helping you achieve a greater overall sense of well-being.

Dandayamana-Bibhaktapata-Janushirasana (Standing separate leg head to knee pose)

This posture compresses and massages your thyroid, which is a tremendous benefit to your immune system. Touch your forehead to your knee, not your nose or chin. Tuck in your chin as you move toward the knee, and keep your eyes on your stomach. Your throat will feel choked but keep breathing calmly in and out through your nose.

shoulder-stand

Right way round, upside down

Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand)

Inversions offer a range of benefits to your  body and your mind. Shoulderstand is a good tool to help decompress and drain the sinuses, and it improves blood flow into your lungs, helping fight inflammation.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge pose)

This asana activates expands your chest and lungs to increase your lung capacity and your ease breathing. To begin, lie on your back and draw your knees up with your feet flat on the floor, about hip width apart. Press up from the four corners of your feet, engaging the legs and buttocks to lift the hips higher. Press your arms and shoulders into the mat to lift the chest up and toward the chin.

Questions or tips for surviving seasonal allergies? Share in the comments!