Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Is it just me or did cold season come a little early this year? I’m a sniffly, sneezy mess and it’s barely even November! Thankfully, I can rely on my yoga practice to help me through even the sniffliest of times. Here are a few ways my practice helps me get through cold and flu season.
1. Boosts the Immune System. It might not be particularly comforting when your throat is sore and your nose is stuffy, but studies show that practicing yoga regularly can actually help keep your immune system strong. That means that when you’re healthy, practicing yoga can help you stay that way!
2. Eat More Mindfully. If I could choose one benefit of practicing yoga that has been most helpful to me, it would be its uncanny ability to increase awareness. The more I practice, the more mindful I am of the things around me–including what I put into my body. When I have a cold, I actually crave citrus, ginger, and other healthful foods that have been shown to help the body recover from a cold.
3. Listen to Your Body. There’s a reason you feel tired and achy when you have a cold–you need to rest! Yoga teaches us to follow our bodies’ cues and listen when it tells us to back off a pose or the hustle-and-bustle of daily life.
4. Incorporate Restorative Poses. When I start to feel like I’m coming down with a bug, I take a little more time to incorporate restorative poses to my daily practice.
5. Rest. Here’s a piece of advice I bet you never thought you’d find on Yoga Journal’s website: When a cold is taking over, it might benefit you to skip your regular yoga class altogether! I’ve been forgoing my studio classes and practicing at home where I can just lie over a bolster or meditate while my body is recovering. I think the extra rest time helps me get better faster (and I’m sure my classmates appreciate that I kept my germs at home, too!)
How does your practice help you survive cold and flu season?