Throat problems are issues related to the throat, which is the area in the neck that is used for the transportation of food and air to the esophagus and the trachea respectively. The food that is transported to the esophagus is used by the digestive system, whereas the air transported to the trachea is used by the respiratory system.
The pharynx, larynx, and the epiglottis are important parts of the throat. The common types of throat problems are pharyngitis (commonly known as sore throat), laryngitis (infection of the larynx), tonsillitis (infection of the tonsils) and different types of throat cancers. An ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) specialist has to be consulted for all kinds of throat problems.
Various Yoga Exercises For Throat Problems
Simhasana (Lion Pose) For Sore Throat
Simhasana is one of the best yoga poses for relieving a sore throat. Sit on your knees, with your thighs resting on your shanks. Place your hands on your thighs. Inhale deeply and gradually. Now, open your mouth wide with your tongue sticking out. Exhale through your open mouth by making a sound that resembles a lion’s roar (though not as fiercely or loudly as the lion!). While performing this exercise, try to rotate your eyes.
This exercise improves blood flow to your throat and oxygenates it, thereby controlling the growth of infection causing microorganisms in your throat. This asana also cools the body and stretches the muscles of your throat, thereby strengthening them.
Paryankasana (Couch Pose) For Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis is a tonsil inflammation caused due to infection of the tonsils. The tonsils are a pair of fleshy tissue found behind the back of the throat that block incoming germs from the atmosphere from entering further into the body. Paryankasana improves the overall health of the tonsils. This asana is easy to perform.
Kneel on a level surface on a yoga mat and slowly bend backwards and arch your body with your head touching the floor and your neck forming a part of the curvature of the arch. Remain in this pose for 10-30 seconds. Gradually rise up and return to the kneeling pose. This asana improves blood flow to the throat, stretches and tones the muscles of the throat and ensures healthy working of the thyroid and parathyroid hormones.
Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose) For Laryngitis
Laryngitis is an inflammatory infection of the larynx and Sasangasana is found to relieve it along with other throat problems. Sasangasana is performed by kneeling on the floor and gradually bending forward till your head touches your knees.
After attaining this pose, hold your heels with your hands, on either side. This pose deeply stretches your throat muscles and improves blood flow to the region and rejuvenates the different parts of the throat, including the larynx.
Ujjayi Pranayam (Yoga Breathing Exercise) For Throat Cancer
Ujjayi Pranayama is a simple yoga breathing exercise that is beneficial in the case of throat cancer. Sit cross-legged on the floor wiith your eyes closed. Now perform Ujjayi by inhaling slowly and pressing your throat internally producing a wheezing sound.
Hold the breath for a while and exhale though the nostrils. This exercise rejuvenates the muscles and glands of the throat by stimulating them and improving blood flow to the region.
Sheethalasana cools the throat, thereby reducing the temperature at which the throat infection microorganisms thrive. The fresh atmospheric oxygen that passes through the throat while performing this exercise is also non-conducive for bacterial growth.
Perform this asana, by folding your tongue like a tunnel and inhaling air through it. You will feel coolness on your tongue and throat while inhaling. Exhale the air out of your mouth.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.
Bhramari pranayama is very effective in instantly calming your mind down. It is one of the best breathing exercises to release the mind of agitation, frustration or anxiety and get rid of anger. A simple-to-do technique, can be practiced anywhere at work or home, and an instant option available to de-stress yourself. This breathing technique derives its name from the black Indian bee called Bhramari. (Bhramari = type of Indian bee; pranayama = breathing technique) The exhalation in this pranayama resembles the typical humming sound of a bee, which explains why it is named so.
How To Practice Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath)
1. Sit up straight in a quiet, well ventilated corner with your eyes closed. Keep a gentle smile on your face.
2. Place your index fingers on your ears. There is a cartilage between your cheek and ear. Place your index fingers on the cartilage.
3. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, gently press the cartilage. You can keep the cartilage pressed or press it in and out with your fingers, while making a loud humming sound like a bee.
4. You can also make a low-pitched sound but it is a good idea to make a high-pitched one for better results.
Breathe in again and continue the same pattern for 6-7 times.
Keep your eyes closed for some time. Observe the sensations in the body and the quietness within. You can also practice Bhramari pranayama lying on your back or lying on your right. While practicing the pranayama while lying down, just make the humming sound and do not worry about keeping your index finger on the ear. You can practice the Bee pranayama 3-4 times every day.
Benefits Of Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath)
Instant way to relieve tension, anger and anxiety. It is a very effective breathing technique for people suffering from hypertension as it calms down the agitated mind.
Gives relief if you're feeling hot or have a slight headache
Helps mitigate migraines
Improves concentration and memory
Helps in reducing blood pressure
Points To Note While Doing Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath)
Ensure that you are not putting your finger inside the ear but on the cartilage.
Don’t press the cartilage too hard. Gently press and release with the finger.
While making the humming sound, keep your mouth closed.
You can also keep your fingers in Shanmukhi mudra (hand position) while doing this pranayama. To sit in Shanmukhi mudra, gently place your thumbs on the ear cartilage, index fingers on the forehead just above the eyebrows, middle fingers on eyes, ring fingers on nostrils and the little fingers on corners of your lips.
None. Once this pranayama is learnt correctly from a yoga teacher, anyone from a child to an elderly person can practice this pranayama. The only pre-requisite is that this pranayama should be done on empty stomach.
“As you exhale, make the sound of the female honeybee,” the sari-clad instructor sweetly intoned as I sat in class at the Swami Vivekananda ashram, outside of Bangalore. Later that same year, at a conference in the Rocky Mountains, I had occasion to try the buzzing-bee pranayama again, this time with Rod Stryker. Maybe it was the altitude, or the way Stryker taught it that day, but for some reason this ancient practice of bhramari really spoke to me. I felt calm and clear, and the sound continued to resonate in me long after the class ended. I began a daily practice, one I’ve continued for years now. Through bhramari I became sensitized to the physical vibration of sound waves, which, quite unexpectedly, awoke in me a love of chanting, something I’d been slow to embrace.
Benefits of Bhramari
The noise of bhramari's buzzing can drown out the endless mental tape loops that can fuel emotional suffering, making it a useful starting point for those whose minds are too "busy" to meditate.
Bhramari, a safe, easy-to-learn practice, has tremendous therapeutic potential. Like other pranayamas, its power comes partly from its effects on the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Lengthening the exhalation relative to the inhalation activates the calming parasympathetic branch of the ANS. For those who suffer from anxiety or anxious (rajasic) depression, the practice can begin to quiet the mind within a few breaths. The noise of bhramari’s incessant buzzing can drown out the endless mental tape loops that can fuel emotional suffering, at least for a few minutes, making it a useful starting point for those whose minds are too “busy” to meditate.
Find a comfortable seated position, either on the floor or in a chair. If you choose to sit on the floor, place enough support under your pelvis so that your thighs angle down and you keep the natural curve of your lumbar spine. If you prefer a chair, scoot forward and sit at the edge of the seat so that your thighs angle down and your feet are flat on the floor. (If your feet don’t reach the floor, rest them on a couple of yoga blocks.)
Always balance effort and ease. Make a buzzing sound of moderate volume, but never force it. Keep your facial muscles loose, your lips lightly touching, and your jaw relaxed, with the upper and lower rows of teeth slightly separated. Prolong the buzzing sound on the exhalation as long as it’s comfortable and you can still inhale smoothly, without gasping for air. If you start to feel agitated, back off and return to normal breathing.
Sit comfortably and allow your eyes to close. Take a breath or two to settle in and notice the state of your mind. When you’re ready, inhale and then, for the entire length of your exhalation, make a low- to medium-pitched humming sound in the throat. Notice how the sound waves gently vibrate your tongue, teeth, and sinuses. Imagine the sound is vibrating your entire brain (it really is). Do this practice for six rounds of breath and then, keeping your eyes closed, return to your normal breathing. Notice if anything has changed.
Once again, settle in for a breath or two to prepare. Now do six more cycles of basic bhramari. After your sixth round, switch to silent bhramari, in which you imagine making the buzzing sound on each exhalation. Do for six rounds. Notice whether you can still sense vibrations in your face and sinuses.
Bhramari with Shanmukhi Mudra (Variation)
One way to intensify the effects of bhramari is to add shanmukhi mudra. Bhramari encourages pratyahara, the turning of the senses inward, so by blocking some of the external input to the senses with your fingers, you can heighten the effect. Try a simplified version first. Use your thumbs to push on the tragus of each ear—the bump of cartilage on the cheek side—to block the ear canal. Practice low- to medium-pitched bhramari for six rounds of breath. When you’re finished, lower your hands and breathe normally.
Bhramari with Shanmukhi Mudra (Traditional)
Sit up straight and place your hands on your face with one thumb on each tragus, the index fingers lightly touching the inner corners of your eyes, the middle fingers on the sides of the nose, the ring fingers above the lips, and the pinkies just below. Be sure to place only very light pressure on the eyeballs. Do six more rounds of low- to medium-pitched bhramari, lower your hands, and notice the effects. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or claustrophobia, you may not enjoy shanmukhi mudra and should probably skip it.
When you make a sound, it literally vibrates from the top of your head down to the tips of your toes, whether you can sense it or not. Different pitches vibrate at different frequencies. Bass notes and other low-pitched sounds vibrate slowly, whereas high-pitched sounds vibrate quickly, some at thousands of times per second.
Once you’ve reestablished a relaxed sitting position, close your eyes and take a few normal breaths. Now do six rounds of high-pitched bhramari, with or without shanmukhi mudra. Notice where you feel the vibration; most likely you’ll experience the vibration higher in the head than you did with the lower-pitched sound. Does the higher-pitched sound feel more stimulating? Experiment with different tones and different volumes and compare the results.
Although very few of the potential therapeutic applications of bhramari have been studied scientifically, the yoga tradition teaches that well-chosen sounds have powerful and salutary effects. Even if it turns out that the sound waves of bhramari don’t help the thyroid directly, for example, the side effects of the practice may include a more balanced nervous system, a calmer mind, and heightened awareness. Speaking of which, after all the bhramari you’ve just done, why not sit up straight again and try a few rounds of Om or another familiar chant, and see if it doesn’t sing to you in a whole new way?
Where the sound resonates—as well as the energetic effects of different pitches and volumes—can suggest which variations of bhramari will most likely help in specific situations.
Insomnia. A quiet, low-pitched sound, perhaps with the addition of shanmukhi mudra, could be soothing to the nervous system and mind.
Sinus infection or nasal congestion. A more forceful medium- to high-pitched sound might be a better choice to open the passageways.
Thyroid problems. Try a medium-pitched sound and add jalandhara bandha(chin lock) to direct the sound waves to the throat.
Stressed out. Use the silent variation, at work or in public, so no one around you knows what you’re doing.
TIMOTHY MCCALL Timothy McCall, MD, is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and is the author of Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing. In addition to his ongoing study of yoga and ayurveda in India, Dr. McCall has studied with Patricia Walden since 1995 and, more recently, with Donald Moyer and Rod Stryker. He teaches yoga workshops worldwide and can be found on the web at drmccall.com.