yoga and sickness

  • To Yoga or Not to Yoga?

    I awoke yesterday feeling not so groovy. Sniffles. Sneezes. Soreness. The works. You know you’re a yogi when the first thing you ask yourself in the face of sickness is, “To yoga or not to yoga?”


    Yesterday, I was too hung up on feeling sorry for myself to practice. I was turning a minor sickness into a life-debilitating ailment.

    Today, I had places to be and things to do. No longer did I have the option of whimpering in bed absorbed in some mind-numbing series on Netflix. Today, I really could not let this microscopic monster own me. Being that I’m at a yoga studio all day, it only made sense to practice. In fact, I couldn’t resist the temptation.

    So, here I am directly following a 1.5-hour crazy, sweaty Vinyasa practice. And you know what? I feel relieved.

    I’m not saying practicing during sickness is a smart move all the time. There are legit reasons why you shouldn’t practice, including difficulty breathing, build up of pressure in the sinuses and head, etc. However, don’t let yourself cop out when you don't have those legit reasons. Mindfully assess your situation. See how you feel. Maybe try it out. Post class, you could end up feeling revived. In my case, I do.

    Now, I’m pretty much a nut so a crazy, sweaty Vinyasa flow did me well. However, I would caution you to verge on the more restorative end of things, at least at the onset of your illness. Here are some therapeutic, calming flows to attempt while battling a bug.

    If you’re dealing with a cold, Ashley Turner’s Yoga to Relieve Cold Symptoms is what you want. In fact, I’m going to give this a go later this evening.

    As I'm well aware of currently, it is sometimes difficult to practice yoga at your normal pace or intensity when you have a cold. This online yoga class will help you increase the flow of oxygen through your body and get your prana moving in order to help your body heal itself. Practice a series of poses that can be held for longer if you are able. Listen to your body and take extra breaths if necessary. Finish feeling more energetic and less congested and foggy. Have a bolster (or bed pillow), blanket and eye pillow available to make yourself comfortable. (21 mins.)

    These bugs always seem to get worse as the day continues. To end your day on a high note, do Annie Carpenter’s Chill Sequence: End of Day Practice filmed at Exhale Spa's Venice location.

    This online yoga practice will help you calm your mind and body. You will run through simple prone releases and a guided deep relaxation to a blissful savasana. (24 mins.)

    To deeply relax in mind and body, do Yoga Nidra - a Psychic Sleep Relaxation Method - guided by Sri Dharma Mittra.

    Sri Dharma Mittra teaches that stress is the number one cause of injury and illness, and that we must explore methods to keep balanced and joyful in the thick of everyday life. Guided Relaxation removes tension and fatigue in the physical body, relieves depression and anxiety, relieves headaches, reduces cravings and desires, rejuvenates and energizes the entire system, bolsters the body's natural healing capacities, and normalizes the circulatory system's functioning. You will be guided into a state of deep relaxation where the breathing and the thoughts are slowed almost to the point of stopping, which can be as restorative as a full night's sleep. When done regularly and with pure intention, one can depart the body and cross over into Psychic Sleep, briefly experiencing the Astral Plane. It is through this deep practice that one can gradually come to recognize that you are so much more than the body or the mind. The benefits of this class are cumulative - the more you do it, the greater the benefit. No previous experience needed! (45 mins.)

    Lastly, if you have the strength and stamina, try Hala Khouri’s Therapeutic Flow filmed at Exhale Spa.

    This online yoga class starts with hamstring and hip releases and lower back stabilization exercises. Move into a grounding flow to create support in the lower back, which is followed by a series of shoulder openers. This therapeutic class is nurturing as well as challenging. (83 mins.)

    Even if you’re battling a bug, you can still find methods of practice. The first step is letting go of all the excuses and the feeling sorry for yourself nonsense. Getting sick sucks, but it happens. It is only temporary (as is everything). This too shall pass, yogis.


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