Depending on where you live in the world, Fall has officially arrived! Even here in Hawaii, we are getting a break from the intense heat of summer and are enjoying some cooler, slightly overcast days. I welcome it! However I do not welcome the common cold that can come with seasonal change. Stuffy and runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, fever, sore throat, headache and body aches are all symptoms of a common cold that can have you feeling fatigued and lethargic for days to weeks. The common cold is highly contagious and can be spread from contact or even through airborne coughs and sneezes. But this fact doesn’t have to keep you from your yoga practice! But instead of heading to the studio to “sweat out” your cold, try practicing these four postures at home with an emphasis on relaxing. Your body is busy fighting your infection, and these restorative postures work in harmony with the healing process.
Four yoga poses to fight the common cold:
Uttanasana [Standing forward bend] : Stand with your feet hips width distance apart. Lower your upper body forward and rest your forearms on a chair, the couch or whatever is available. Breathe long and deep for 3 to 5 minutes. This posture brings energy t the head andrespiratory area and helps clear the sinuses. Forward folds also have a calming energetic effect on the body, helping to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system which conserves energy by slowing the heart rate.
Viparita Karani [Legs up the wall]: The ultimate relaxation pose, next to savasana, of course!). Take a blanket or a bolster to the wall and position the sitting bones on the blanket then swing your legs up the wall. Take your arms out wide to the side and breathe into the heart space. Hold this posture for at least five minutes to reap the benefits, which include bringing energy to the legs and groins and opening up the chest to help facilitate breathing.
Matsyasana [Fish Pose]: Lie flat on the floor with your palms pressing into the ground. Shift your bodyweight to your elbows and raise your head and trunk of the body. Arch your chest and lower the crown of your head to the floor, creating space between your buttocks and head; expand your chest. Hold for 30 seconds-1 min. To come out of the pose, place your body weight on your elbows again and raise your head gently. Fish pose opens up the throat and lungs, increasing circulation while helping to break up congestion.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana [Supported Bridge Pose]: If you have a block, you will place it underneath the sacrum at the height of your choice. If you don’t have a block available use 2-4 blankets running the length of your body. Bend your knees and place your feet hip width distance apart facing forward. On an inhale lift the hips up and place the block underneath the sacrum. Allow yourself to be supported by the prop and take your arms out wide, palms facing up. If you are using blankets, position yourself in the middle and lie back. Slide back until your shoulders are gently touching the floor. Relax for at least 5 minutes. Click here to learn more about the benefits of this pose.
When you catch the common cold, your body is sending you a message to rest. Listen to it! Slow down an enjoy a more gentle practice until your body is ready to resume your usual agenda. Happy Fall and stay healthy!