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5 Yoga Moves to Beat the Flu

 

It’s cold and flu season. We all know it. We’re all a little extra sensitive when someone sneezes near (or on) us in line at the grocery store. But what's a girl to do to prevent it? I am a firm believer in stacking the odds in your favor in every way possible: get your flu shot, take extra zinc, eat nutritious foods, wash your hands, get lots of sleep—and do yoga! Yes, yoga. Each of the following poses are helpful in warding off the flu and colds, as well as managing the symptoms should you fall prey. They only take a few minutes, so try to do them right before bed three times a week, or every day should you feel something coming on. You'll not only reap the protective benefits of each pose (listed below), but you'll also reduce stress, which will help keep you healthy all flu season long!

Plus, be sure to check out these simple steps to stay cold-and flu-free.

 

 

Legs Up the Wall

All inversions help lymph fluid and immune cells move through your body.

Sit sideways next a wall (or the headboard of your bed). Lie down on one side, facing away from the wall with butt touching it. Using arms, lift legs up the wall as you roll over onto back. Allow arms to fall on either side of you. (Palms can face up for openness or down for an extra level of grounding.) Breathe here for at least 10 breaths.

 

Down Dog

Moves white blood cells through your body as well as draining the sinuses.

Begin on all fours. Tuck toes and lift hips high, reaching sit bones toward the ceiling. Reach heels back toward the mat without touching. Drop head so that neck is long. Wrist creases stay parallel to the front edge of the mat. Press into the knuckles of forefingers and thumbs to alleviate pressure from wrists. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

 

Bridge

Chest opener that stimulates thymus glands, which are a main immunity organ

Begin lying on back, bend knees and place feet on the ground hip-distance apart with arms on either side of you, reaching toward heels. Pressing into feet (especially into the big toe mound), lengthen through tailbone and lift hips. Interlace hands together underneath, and if it feels good, wiggle shoulders closer together one shoulder at a time. Keep the outer edges of feet parallel. Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths. 

 

Seated Spinal Twist

Twists help detoxify the body by getting things moving, as well as activate the secondary organs of the immune system

Sit with legs long in front. Bend right knee and place right foot outside of left knee. (You can keep left leg long or fold it in like a half-cross-legged seat.) Wrap left arm around right leg and place right hand on the ground behind sacrum. Use each inhale to lengthen spine and each exhale to let stress and worries go. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

 

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Clears congestion as well as calming mind and body

Sit comfortably and rest left hand on left thigh. Place right ring finger and thumb on either side of nostrils, lightly touching them but not constricting. Inhale and exhale, then close off right nostril with thumb and inhale through left nostril fully for 4 counts. Close off left nostril with ring finger and hold and retain the breath 4 counts. Release right nostril and exhale for 4 counts. Inhale deeply for 4 counts through the right nostril, close it off, and hold and retain the breath for 4 counts. Release left nostril as you exhale completely through it for 4 counts. Begin the cycle again, completing as many rounds as you like. Be sure to exhale through left nostril to complete your last cycle. Once you are done, relax both hands to thighs and take a few deep breaths through both nostrils.

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