Q: My sinuses and chest often get congested. How does sinus congestion impact one’s wellbeing, and is there a way to influence it?
Sadhguru: Your sinuses are a very complex plumbing job. Where they are blocked and where they are leaking depends on a variety of factors. Usually, people experience sinus congestion especially when they lie down, but it can happen in many ways. How clear your sinuses are and how well-balanced the fluids are especially in the head region determines a variety of things, including your brain function, your sense of wellbeing, your sense of balance, the sharpness of your intellect, and the sharpness of the five senses.
Practices in Yoga
Keeping your sinuses well-balanced and maintaining free movement within them is very important. How do we achieve this? If you are effectively doing kapalabhati [part of Shakti Chalana Kriya as taught in the Shoonya Intensive program] for a period of time, it will establish this balance. If you want a preparatory step, you could do jala neti to reduce the mucus in the system. But this practice has to be properly imparted. Our Hatha Yoga teachers would be able to teach you if needed.
Since excess mucus creates blockage, one approach is to reduce the mucus level. Another aspect is to see why a particular area of the sinuses is getting blocked. Modern medicine approaches the issue with tablets that chemically dry up the fluids. If you take an antihistamine, it dries up the fluids in the system indiscriminately. But these fluids are needed. The proper functioning of the human mechanism, particularly of the five senses, is determined by how the fluid movement happens. Therefore, unless you have allergies that go beyond a certain point, drying up the fluids is not advisable.
Dealing With Allergic Reactions
The sinus congestion could also be an allergic reaction. If there is dust or any kind of irritant in your house, your sinuses may get blocked. So one thing is to see to it that the house is dust-free or to develop the necessary resistance to allergens. A simple way of achieving this is by having one spoon of yogurt and one spoon of honey after a meal and not drinking water for the next 1.5 to 2 hours. It will bring down the eosinophil level in the system and your sensitivity to allergens will be reduced dramatically. This is if the yogurt that you prepare is from the milk of a particular cow. This may not work with store-bought, mass-produced yogurt, where they mix the milk of thousands of cows.
Most of the world is drinking milk that is produced in factory farms today, and most of the benefits of consuming milk are lost in that case. It actually causes more harm than good to consume such a complex mix of genetic substance from so many different animals. If you consume an animal product, at least it must be from a specific animal. If you quit mass-produced dairy products, most probably, your mucus problems will go away in a matter of two weeks. Another simple thing you can immediately do to clear the mucus is to have some warm water mixed with honey after you wake up in the morning.
To sum it up – you can quit factory farm dairy, have warm honey water, and do a certain amount of kapalabhatis (if you have been initiated into the Shakti Chalana Kriya), Surya Namaskar, or Surya Kriya. If you generate sufficient ushna and samat prana in the system through these practices, excess mucus problems will disappear. It is not advisable to dry up the mucus by taking pills.