The winter months are synonymous with flu season, nasal congestion, sore throat, and nasal congestion. However, it is possible that your immune system will fail you at any time during the year and you will experience cold symptoms. If you feel sick, you may ask yourself, “Should I still practice yoga when I am sick? Can I take a yoga class if I have a cold? "
Although we cannot speak on behalf of doctors, some yoga teachers I know suggest sticking to your yoga practice during times of illness – although your "practice" should be different from when you are feeling physically good. Asana, especially in gentle forms, naturally heals and balances the body. So are meditation and certain purification and purification practices.
If you feel sick, it is best to stay away from the yoga studio to avoid infecting your fellow yogis. Instead, practice from home. This is especially important if you cough and sneeze! If you are feeling really sick, don't practice asana and instead focus on resting. Listening to your body's needs is especially important while you are sick, and sometimes all the yoga you can do is rest.
How to practice yoga when you are sick
Practice gentle movements
Slow, gentle movements are part of the key to recovery. When you have the energy, try gentle teaching or a recovery practice. As you practice at home, focus on the following poses: child pose, shoulder stand, down facing dog, bridge pose, and seated spine rotations. End your session with a long corpse pose. Support these poses with blocks, pillows, and blankets so you can hold them with minimal effort. If your nasal passages are mostly open, try practicing alternating nostril pranayama for a few minutes. These yoga poses and breathing exercises can stimulate lymphatic fluid, promote blood circulation, open internal organs, oxygenate the body, cleanse the sinuses, and calm the mind.
Build in heat
I once heard a yogi say that she preferred hot yoga power vinyasa classes when she was sick because they heated her body and helped her "get rid of the virus". While attending a yoga class may seem sensible at first, most yogis agree that when your body is working hard to fight off disease, you need to take it easy. And when you have a fever, a hot, sweaty class can dehydrate your body and make the situation worse! If you feel the need to warm the body for cleaning purposes, do so at home instead of going to the studio. Choose less vigorous options like hot showers, warm broths, ginger tea, and vitamin-rich medicinal foods.
Remember that yoga is more than asana
Getting sick could be a perfect opportunity to practice the other limbs of yoga that we too often ignore. In fact, the limb of Niyama (which precedes the limb of Asana) is divided into five parts that can and should be practiced in case of illness. For example, shaucha or cleansing can be done by bathing, eating nutritious, nutritious foods, and using a neti pot to cleanse the nasal passages. If this is not enough, meditate on the concept of samtosha and use this as an opportunity to make peace with changing asanas or choosing a 20 minute shavasana for your physical practice. The final niyama, Ishvara Pranidhana or devotion, refers to devotion to a higher intelligence beyond our limited conception of ourselves. Sometimes illness can be a much needed reminder of our humanity. When we see it as such, it can be a humiliating gift.
Take advantage of the "Eastern" and "Western" traditions
It is tempting to think of "Eastern" medicine as holistic and natural, while "Western" medicine is viewed as modern and conventional – and one better than the other. As a yoga teacher, I encourage students and loved ones to consider holistic approaches to health care while realizing that sometimes we need to seek medical advice. Be pragmatic on your path to wellbeing and take advantage of meditation, yoga, Ayurveda and other “holistic” practices while staying open to modern medicine. The two are not always mutually exclusive anyway – partnerships between Eastern and Western naturopaths are on the rise, and holistic health methods are widely used in hospitals and clinics today. Remember that you can treat food as medicine at home, and practice restorative yoga at home. However, it may also be advisable to take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to control a fever, or take a decongestant if you have difficulty breathing during a cold. Staying open to all forms of healing softens the gap between the east-west divide and creates more harmonious spaces for wellness to flourish.
Whatever form of yoga you choose, if you are feeling under the weather, proceed with kindness and compassion for your sick body. And just like a pose that feels uncomfortable or unsafe to your body – if it doesn't feel right, you don't. Your mat will always be there tomorrow.
What do you think of yoga when you are sick? We'd love to hear your comments on how yoga helped you recover from a cold.