By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
When An Apple a Day is Not Enough
Battling a cold is a strategy and may require contacting your physician. Yoga might not help you build a better mousetrap, but it can help you with battling a cold. The congestion, fatigue, headache, and sore throat, which accompany the “common cold” can keep people at home all year round. Beside drinking plenty of fluids, and getting enough rest, try some of these asanas for symptom relief – and even an ounce of prevention.
Yoga for Congestion
To fight congestion, try Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward-Facing Dog Pose. Bring the chin in gently, close to the chest, which will provide increased circulation in the front of the face. Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes extends the chest and reduces nasal congestion and sinus problems. It is said to stimulate the thyroid and parathyroid glands, as well. Shashankasana or Hare (Rabbit) Pose improves blood flow to the brain, relieves nasal congestion, massages the thyroid, and compresses the throat.
Yoga Asanas for a Headache
Regular Sun Salutations help prevent headaches. When a headache is already present, a gentle Bhujangasana or Cobra asana, and a forward bend, can help relieve the pressure associated with a congestion or sinus headache. Viparita Karani or Legs up the Wall Pose can be a wonderful headache reliever when combined with a weighted eye mask or small sandbag on the eyes or forehead. It gently pulls the head back and relaxes tension in the neck muscles.
Prevention with Yoga
Salamba Sarvangasana or Shoulderstand, Salamba Sirsasana or Headstand, Viparita Karani or Legs up the Wall, and Halasana or Plow, are all inversion poses, which improve the passive circulation of the lymph system, or the flow of lymph and immune cells, through the body. Hip openers and twisting poses activate the spleen and the lymph nodes, which are the secondary organs of the immune system. Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes, Namaskar Parsvakonasana or Prayer twist, and hip openers, such as Baddha Konasana or Bound Angle, and Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or Pigeon Pose, all activate the secondary organs and help protect against catching a cold. Practicing Restorative Yoga poses is very helpful, if you feel illness coming on, but symptoms have not yet appeared.
Health Precautions and Yoga
Treating or battling a cold should be taken very seriously. Sometimes, a cold is a precursor to a flu, bronchitis, or pneumonia. If you are very ill, and experiencing a fever, chills, or body aches, take a break from practice and rest. It would be wise to give your physician a call, as well. Overexertion, during illness, can extend the course of the sickness and cause you to feel poorly for even longer. Neglecting a cold is flirting with disaster. Remember to wash your hands frequently and try not to use shared mats during practice, if you have a cold. Cleaning the mats and props you use regularly should be a habit and will facilitate good health.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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