RESTORATIVE FLU-FIGHTING YOGA
Over the last few years my immune system has slowly been getting stronger. I used to be that weak, sickly person…you know the one? That poor weedy human being that catches the most lingering of colds when someone sneezes 20 metres away.
I guess it all comes down to a change in lifestyle and yoga! It’s happened so gradually that I’ve barely noticed, but then one day I got through a whole winter without coming down with anything, and that’s when I started to piece it together.
Now, however, I tend to get a little weaker and more susceptible to colds around seasonal changeover. As winter clocks off and spring moves in I can feel the dampness building in my chest and the telltale irritable throat tickle kicking in.
What I have learnt is how to stave it off as much as possible. If not totally, then to the point where I can shake it off a lot faster than before.
The first thing I do is pump a lot of garlic, hot lemon tea and natural remedies like olive leaf extract, Echinacea and vitamin C. The other thing I do? I create a short yoga sequence that works on releasing whatever crap is building up in my chest but also a restorative set of postures to energise the body and immune system.
So, with spring battling winter and trying ever so hard to move on in, be careful with the slight shift in temperature. Try these poses if you are feeling a little run-down or even if you’ve noticed a cough slowly creeping in.
These poses really help to calm the nervous system down, allowing the immune system to focus on fighting! But also, by either being gently inverted, or opening the chest your body can work to release any build up in the chest. Try to hang out in each pose for at least five minutes and focus on maintaining long, slow, deep breaths.
If you have a regular practice doing 3 x Sun Salutation A is always a nice way to warm up the body with out depleting your energy.
1) Uttanasana – standing forward bend
You can perform this with bent or straight legs – this will depend on the length in your hamstrings. If you feel uncomfortable in the pose try leaning against a wall as well.
2) Supported Adho Mukka Svanasana – supported downward facing dog
Same as the traditional down dog but resting the head on the bolster softens the pose and makes it less active.
3) Viparita Karani through the chair
This is a beautiful gentle back bend that can easily be performed through a yoga chair or off the edge of your lounge or even a low table if you have one strong enough. As you can see, the chest is open and the head and heart are inverted.
4) Supta Baddha Konasana – reclining bound angle pose
If you don’t have a bolster (as in picture) you can try a folded blanket. Lay the bolster/blanket lengthways along your spine. Press the base of your feet together and butterfly the knees out to the sides. Stretch your arms or hold onto either elbow above your head. Enjoy the pure symmetry of this pose, allow the chest to lift and open.
5) Legs up the wall
As simple as it sounds. Using the bolster (cushion/folded blanket) elevate your hips and chest and stretch your legs up the wall. If you can keep your head, heart and chest below the rest of the body then you’ll maximise the release and really quieten the body and breath.
Enjoy the peace and quiet that these poses bring, but mostly, enjoy your return to health!
Do you have a restorative yoga sequence that you like to do? Or any other secret cold/flu fighters?
Signing off with an exhale.
Pause. Listen. Live