‘Tis the season for the sniffles. A cold, stuffy or runny nose, itchy throat—all of these things may have you thinking you shouldn’t practice yoga, but yoga can actually have healing benefits that’ll help you feel better faster.
Practicing yoga when you’re not feeling well can actually help you fight your illness by boosting your immunity. The best part? I’ve created this sequence so it includes supported, restorative postures that require very little energy. Once you set yourself up with the appropriate props, you can just relax and let the pose do the work.
These postures will help open and stretch your intercostal muscles, which support the lungs, making breathing easier. The gentle inversions, Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose and Supported Shoulderstand, will help to get your blood and lymph fluids moving to naturally assist your own body in healing.
Try this home practice the next time you’re under the weather:
Supported Bridge Pose
Come onto your back and have your block by your side. Bend your knees, bringing your feet close to your hips and have your feet hip-width distance apart with your toes pointing directly forward. Press your feet down into the mat and lift your hips up off the ground. Place the block under your tailbone to support your hips. The block has three different heights and can go length-wise or width-wise beneath you. Try different heights to see what suits you best.
If you have a flexible spine, the highest height is probably good for you. If you are feeling stiff or weak, stay with one of the lower levels. Once you have the block placed firmly under you, lift your chest up slightly and walk your shoulders under you so you are not resting on your neck but rather propped up on your shoulders. You can interlace your hands or just have your arms resting by your sides.
Keep your gaze on the ceiling and resist the urge to move your head for the duration of the pose. Take at least 10 deep breaths here and when you’re ready to come out, push down with both feet evenly and lift your hips off the block. Gently slide the block out from underneath you and lower your hips to the floor. You can let your knees fall in towards each other, place your hands on your belly, and take a few deep breaths here before moving on.