Should You Practice Yoga When Sick? • Yoga Basics
The winter months are synonymous with flu season, stuffy nose, sore throat and nasal congestion. Yet, it is possible that your immune system is failing at any time of the year and that you end up with cold symptoms. When you are feeling bad, you might ask yourself, "Should I continue to practice yoga while […]

The winter months are synonymous with flu season, stuffy nose, sore throat and nasal congestion. Yet, it is possible that your immune system is failing at any time of the year and that you end up with cold symptoms. When you are feeling bad, you might ask yourself, "Should I continue to practice yoga while I am sick?" Can I attend a yoga class when I have a cold? "

While we cannot speak for the doctors, some yoga teachers I know suggest that you stick to your yoga practice during times of illness - although your "practice" should be different from when you are feeling well. physically. Asana, especially in soft forms, is inherently healing and body balance. So are meditation and certain purification and cleaning practices.

If you are feeling sick, it is best to stay away from the yoga studio to avoid infecting your fellow yoga practitioners. Instead, practice at home. This is especially important if you are coughing and sneezing! If you are feeling really sick, do not practice the asana and instead focus on rest. While you are sick it is especially important to listen to what your body needs, and sometimes the most yogic thing you can do is rest.

How to practice yoga when you are sick

Practice gentle movements

yoga pose in case of illness

Slow, gentle movements are part of the key to recovery. If you have the energy for it, try a gentle class or a restorative practice. If you are practicing at home, focus on these poses: Child pose, Shoulder support, Downward Facing Dog, Installation of the bridge, and twists of the seated spine. End your session with a long Laying the corpse. Support these poses with blocks, pillows, and blankets so you can hold them with minimal effort. If your nasal passages are generally open, try doing several minutes of alternative nostril pranayama. These yoga poses and breathing practices can stimulate lymphatic fluid, help blood flow, open internal organs, oxygenate the body, clear the sinuses, and calm the mind.

Incorporate heat

I once heard a yogi say she preferred the power of hot yoga vinyasa run when she was sick because they heated her body and helped her "purge the virus". While taking a yoga class might seem logical at first, most yogis agree that you must take it easy when your body is working hard to fight disease. And if you have a fever, a hot, sweaty class can dehydrate your body and make things worse! If you feel the need to heat the body for cleansing purposes, do so at home instead of going to the studio. Choose less vigorous options like hot showers, hot broths, ginger tea and rich in vitamins, medicinal foods.

Remember yoga is more than Asana

Being sick can be a perfect opportunity to practice the other yoga limbs we too often ignore. In fact, the member of niyama (which precedes the limb of the asana) is divided into five parts, which can and should be practiced during illness. For example, shaucha, or cleansing, can be done by bathing, eating nourishing and nutritious foods, and using a neti pot to cleanse the nasal passages. If that is not enough, consider meditating on the concept of samtosha and take the opportunity to make peace by modifying the asanas or choosing a Shavasana for your physical practice. The last niyama, ishvara pranidhana, or devotion, refers to surrender to a higher intelligence beyond our limited sense of self. Sometimes being sick can be an essential reminder of our humanity. When we see it as such, it can be a humbling gift.

Enjoy the benefits of "Eastern" and "Western" traditions

It is tempting to think of "Eastern" medicine as holistic and natural, while viewing "Western" medicine as modern and conventional - and to regard one as better than the other. As a yoga teacher, I encourage students and their families to consider holistic approaches to healthcare, while also recognizing that sometimes we need to seek medical advice. Be pragmatic on your path to well-being, integrating benefits of meditationyoga Ayurveda, and other "holistic" practices, while remaining open to modern medicine. The two aren't always mutually exclusive anyway -partnerships between health practitioners in East and West are on the increase, as holistic health methods are now frequently used hospitals and clinics. Consider this while you can deal food choices as medicine and practicing restorative yoga at home, it may also be a good idea to take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever control, or to take a decongestant if you have trouble breathing during a cold. Staying open to all forms of healing softens the divide between east and west and creates more harmonious spaces in which well-being can flourish.

Be compassionate

Whichever form of yoga you choose to practice when feeling under the weather, proceed with kindness and compassion for your ailing body. And as you would with a pose that is uncomfortable or unsafe for your body - if that isn't right for you, then don't. Your carpet will still be there tomorrow.

How do you feel about practicing yoga when you are sick? We would love to hear your feedback on how yoga has helped you recover from a cold.


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Everyone seems to be a yogi these days, from your BFF to your co-worker to your aunt—heck, even dogs and goats are getting their zen on. But if you have yet to attempt Warrior II or Mountain Pose, taking your first yoga class can be a little intimidating. What if your hands sweat and you fall off the mat ? What if you hate it ? What if you can’t do a solo. damn. pose ?

Okay, rewind a second—there’s a reason so many people have hopped on a mat over the past few years. ' Yoga is a non-judgmental practice, ' says Claire Ewing, certified yoga instructor and studio marketing manager for CorePower Yoga. It’s is a totally accessible way to unwind and break a sweat, so there’s nothing to worry about before checking out a class.

But to help you feel a little more comfortable before you say your first ' om ' or ' namaste, ' Ewing has some yoga tips to answer all those questions floating around your head.

When in doubt, Ewing says opt for a vinyasa flow chic, ' where you have the opportunity to explore the postures and fundamental principles of yoga. ' These are the genres of classes most of your friends probably do, and it’s a great form of yoga for beginners. But oui, it never hurts to check out a couple different types of classes to see what feels best to you.

' Definitely go for something breathable and easy to move in, ' says Ewing. ' You will work up a sweat, so consider wearing something with moisture-wicking abilities. ' Oh and FYI : Yoga is a no-shoes kind of workout, so don’t worry about sporting your best sneakers to chic.

Like with any workout, it’s totally a personal preference how much you mazout pre-yoga. But Ewing points out that yoga is a pretty soutenu workout, and fueling your body properly will help you get the most out of your practice. Keep it light, though, ' I usually start with a protein shake or bar knowing that the classes can physically take you in dynamic directions, ' says Ewing. ( A. k. a. don’t down that massive avo toast right before class. ) If you’re just having a small pre-workout snack, you can probably do that about 30 minutes beforehand; but wait a full one to two hours before working out after a meal.

She adds that hydrating beforehand is also key, especially if you ever do attempt a heated flow. ' Drink a full glass of water about two hours before class—that way you have something to sweat out and you will feel better during chic. '

' Absolutely ! ' says Ewing. ' A regular yoga practice increases flexibility and strength in your groupes de muscles. It has you work your full range of motion in every joint of your body and build strong and long groupes de muscles. ' ( In fact, vinyasa yoga even made this list of the top calorie-burning workouts. )

This depends on the type of yoga class you take—for example, a slow flow or hatha class may require you to hold a pose for an extended period of time. But in vinyasa, ' it comes down to the intention of how the posture was designed, ' says Ewing. ' For example, balancing poses are held longer to benefit concentration and focus, while transition postures build strength while teaching fluidity in movement. '

For the most part, though, poses are held for three to five breaths during the first round to help them sink into your memory. Then they’re held for a solo breath when you repeat the pose, to help amp up the cardio component of yoga.

Don’t stress ! No one expects you to master every pose your first go-round ( or really, ever—it’s a constant learning process ). Your yoga instructor should offer options for pose modifications, especially for the more challenging ones. ' Your breath is key in yoga, if you are losing sight of this, you may want to consider modifying or completely backing off, ' says Ewing. And don’t be afraid to ask your instructor for assistance.

Also, try to avoid comparing yourself to the other yogis in the room—all bodies are unique, and have varied strengths and challenges. Plus, every time you step on the mat, it’s going to feel a little different, ' for both your body and your mind, ' says Ewing. ' If there is one thing you can take away from the classroom, it is learning how to modify and create a practice that is fit for you. '

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