The ears are sensitive organs and when something goes wrong -- such as pain, stuffiness, loss of hearing -- it can be a sign that the body's energy is out of harmony. A good all-around yoga regimen can help restore balance to the body's doshas, the three types of mind-body energy.
Certain poses can stimulate both blood and neuro-circulation to the ears. In addition, many ear disorders such as Meniere's disease and tinnitus, are exacerbated by stress. Because yoga helps calm the body and sooth the nervous system, it has enormous potential for reducing symptoms such as ringing in the ears and vertigo.
Vata and the Ears
Of the three doshas, the ears are the most sensitive to vata (the other two doshas are pitta and kapha). Vata is associated with the elements of space and air and can be thrown out of whack by travel, changes in the weather and over-stimulation.
Because vata is seated in the colon, it's receptive to asanas that stimulate and clarify the lower abdominal region. Paschimottanasana, for example, is a simple seated forward bend -- accompanied by deep breathing, it can do wonders.
Another effective seated bend for settling the vata is Bharadvaja’s Twist. If you're feeling jittery or like you're running on fumes, do restorative poses like Child's pose or Corpse pose to quell the static.
An Ayurvedic practice for protecting the ear canals and soothing the vata is to drip a few drops of sesame oil or warm ghee (clarified butter) into the ear canal in the morning when you get up.
Bee's Breath for Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to perceive sounds when there's no actual external noise. It can manifest as ringing in the ears, or other noises such as whistling, hissing or buzzing. Tinnitus can be either temporary or chronic, and it's notoriously difficult to cure.
According to the Journal of Yoga and Physical Therapy, the yogic breathing exercise Bee's Breath can help resolve tinnitus. Bee's Breath is performed by making a humming sound during exhalation and allowing it to create an echo in the ears. This is thought to have a similar effect to ultrasound therapy, which has been used to treat tinnitus. The rationale is that high frequency vibrations stimulate the auditory hair cells and stimulates neural programming.
To perform Bee's Breath, sit comfortably with your eyes closed and gently insert your index finger in your ear canal. Inhale deeply, then slowly exhale, making a loud humming sound as you focus your attention on your inner ears, allowing the sound to echo in your cranium. A high-pitched tone gives the best results, according to the journal.
If you already have a regular yoga practice, it's best to avoid doing headstands or other extreme inversions when you have an acute ear or sinus infection, especially one that involves discharge. The inversion can cause the infection to spread to other areas.
Read More: How to Lose Weight Using Chakras and Reiki