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Several studies discovered that meditation opens mental and physical doors, especially if performed daily. However, if you’re attempting to get your daily dose of meditation and find your nose is blocked, those mental and physical doors might feel figuratively closed. Fortunately, there are ways to meditate successfully, even with a stuffy nose.
A blocked nose can significantly inhibit one’s ability to enter a state of deep relaxation and focus that comes with meditation. Observing and accepting the effect of the blockage or shifting your meditation focus can help you achieve your goal for the session.
Read on for five ways to meditate, even if your nose is blocked. Also see: 6 Things To Avoid Doing Before Yoga Practice
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5 Ways to Help You Meditate If Your Nose Is Blocked
Below are five tips to help you meditate if your nose is blocked. Meditation is the practice of observation and acceptance.
Most of these tips do not aim to alleviate your symptoms but rather to engage and incorporate them while still having a quality session.
1- Accept Your Affliction
The best approach to meditating with a nasal blockage is to refrain from entering the session with the same expectations you would have in an otherwise healthy state. This will reduce the likelihood of being frustrated with the process and giving up entirely.
In a world of quick solutions, this might not be the desired tip, but it is essential. A basic element of mindfulness meditation is self-awareness and remaining in the present. It is important to observe your body, how it feels, and what may have changed.
This technique might be significantly uncomfortable when you find your airways blocked, but the best advice to start with is to don’t fight through to breathe properly.
Breathing can often be over-emphasized in meditation. Indeed, calm, easy breathing can certainly help ensure you enter a state of relaxation and increased focus. However, breathing should be natural, not forced or controlled.
If you are experiencing a nose blockage, that is your new “natural” form of breathing. Therefore, if you are intentionally trying to alter your breathing through the blockage, it will negatively impact your overall session.
The key is to observe how this change makes you feel and how it affects your body. What changes in your system to compensate for this new form of breathing? Focusing on these changes will help distract you from the discomfort of the blockage and lose yourself in meditation.
2- Observe Abdominal Movements Instead
As previously stated, focusing on the blockage and how it makes you feel might spiral into a frustrating cycle of struggling for air. Fortunately, breathing is not centered around the nose. That is merely one element in a vast system. Therefore, it might be beneficial to focus on abdominal movements instead.
Focusing and observing abdominal movements rather than a nasal flow can help ensure you are still implementing mindfulness meditation and can alleviate some of the initial discomforts of inhibited breathing. Your meditation position can play a big role here.
Initially, it might be difficult to observe abdominal movements from the common upright meditation positions, such as lotus or Burmese. To help promote focus and connection, you can either place a hand on your abdomen to help feel the movements and breath sensations.
Some find it helpful to move into a different meditation position, such as a corpse position, which requires you to lay flat on your back. You might also find that changing positions helps alleviate nasal blockage altogether.
Also see: How To Get Good at Yoga Faster?
3- Breathe Through Your Mouth
Although it might not be ideal to breathe through your mouth while meditating, particularly because it is a larger area to focus on, it can be an effective alternative with practice. To start, open your mouth slightly and keep your tongue down as you breathe.
The goal is to focus on the sensation of air flowing over your tongue and out your mouth.
Over time, slowly try to narrow this space and your focal point until it is comfortable, and you can enter a deep state of meditation.
Also see: 27 Powerful Yoga Poses for Immune System
4- Alter Your Meditation Goal or Focus
Breathing is not an uncommon focus for meditation. Teaching your body to slow your breathing and pulse is an effective technique to enter a deep state of meditation and encourage peace, creativity, and mental reflection.
Luckily, easy breathing is not a singular way to achieve these goals.
If you start the session intending to focus on breathing and quickly find you are struggling, the answer might be to change the goal or focus of the session entirely.
There are a series of cultures and techniques associated with meditation. Hinduism and Buddhism will often utilize sacred utterances known as mantras in meditation to aid concentration.
The consistent verbal utterance of the mantra, paired with the vibrations the sound sends through the body, provides plenty to promote self-awareness and increase focus.
Focusing on your chakras, another common practice in Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, can easily distract you from placing too much emphasis on nasal breathing. Chakras represent spiritual energy found in specific points throughout one’s body.
The number of points varies in traditions, but the concept is relatively the same.
Pinpointing your chakra, determining if it is blocked, and then effectively unblocking it (if necessary) is a lengthy and intricate process that will undoubtedly leave you feeling fulfilled.
Visualization is another alternative meditation technique. As a separate form of mindfulness, visualization of a particular event, person, or scenario can help direct a relaxed mind toward the desired outcome.
Techniques such as color breathing, compassion meditation, and goal visualization can help you create vast scenarios to stimulate your mind rather than focus on your breathing.
5- Resort to Herbal or Medicinal Remedies
Up until this point, these tips have all centered around recognizing you have a blocked nose and either choosing to accept this and work with it or altering your focus and goals entirely.
However, it is possible that the blockage is too frustrating to meditate even with these tips effectively.
Although it is suggested to work with your natural state rather than to alter it, there is no shame in resorting to medicinal or herbal remedies to alleviate your symptoms and make your meditation session more pleasant.
Essential oils are a great herbal remedy that could open your nasal airways and restore natural flow. The scent of the oils is also beneficial to meditating because it stimulates your sense of smell, which can be an effective and enjoyable focal point.
Humidifiers can also help improve your breathing and alleviate your symptoms by adding moisture to the air. Steam vaporizers can help humidify the room you are meditating in a while also providing a focal point for visual stimulation by watching the steam it creates.
Nose strips have been proven to effectively alleviate sinus pressure, which might reduce or eliminate any nasal blockage. Scent-infused nasal strips are also available, which can provide a stimulus for your sense of smell throughout your meditation.
By accepting your current state and incorporating it into your session, you can still have a sense of achievement and fulfillment without feeling inhibited throughout the process.
Meditation is centered on self-awareness and personal fulfillment, so, it does not adhere to the cut-and-dry criteria of success or failure. It is essential to remain positive during meditation and think about what you can control and achieve rather than dwelling on what isn’t going according to plan.
There are ebbs and flows to life, and those ups and downs follow you into meditation, so the best course of action is to take those challenges and use them to improve rather than shy away or force them into “success.”