As the chilly outdoor temperatures continue to drop, so does your immunity. The winter is not forgiving when it comes to flu-like symptoms and pesky colds, but that doesn't mean that there aren't ways to prevent congestion and coughing fits. Rolling out your mat and flowing through a few preventative yoga poses for a cold will help you ward off oncoming sicknesses and ease any symptoms that you may already be experiencing.
Keep in mind, the key to using yoga to fight an oncoming cold or banish the symptoms of sickness is to practice in moderation. Your body's already working overtime to fight the nasty bug that's plaguing you, and placing more unnecessary pressure on yourself can only make things worse. Rest is always key when it comes to fighting infection.
However, if you're feeling up to it, getting on your mat and using a few gentle, immunity-boosting asanas to keep your vitality and health in check is a great way to naturally combat aches, pains, and fatigue.
So, the next time you're feeling a bit under the weather or want to take some precautionary measures along with your Emergen-C shots, try these 10 relieving yoga poses to battle even the most brutal of colds.
1. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Sudafed and Afrin are great and all, but have you ever heard of whipping out a trusty standing forward bend? Let me tell you, this sh*t is literally life-changing when it comes to congestion and and sinus blockages. Uttanasana is an incredibly stress-relieving pose that invigorates your entire nervous system and allows for total body relaxation.
Be sure to relax you neck, shoulders, and jaw as you turn inward during your forward fold to promote even more calming and healing properties from head to toe.
2. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward facing dog is a foundational pose that is returned to frequently throughout yoga flows, but you may not have known that it can provide your body with a wealth of benefits for your immune system.
When you're in this pose, your blood circulation is able to work with more ease, promoting the movement of white blood cells, which in turn helps prevent oncoming sickness, or helps fight lingering cold symptoms.
Stay in your downward dog for about 10 deep breaths, savoring the alleviating properties of the asana.
3. Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Revolved yoga poses like seated spinal twist are very detoxifying for your internal organs, ridding them of any unwanted toxins trapped within.
As you inhale in seated spinal twist, straighten your spine and lengthen your body. As you exhale, twist a bit deeper into the pose, accentuating the movement as much as you can.
4. Supported Bridge Pose (Salamba Setu Bandhasana)
Many colds that creep into your system during the winter months leave you coughing or with a sore throat, plaguing your chest and your ability to breathe. Bridge pose will do wonders for opening up your chest and promoting fluid circulation throughout your body, combating symptoms of a common chest cold.
Add some extra support in this asana by supporting your lower back with a block or bolster to make the movement luxuriously restorative and rejuvenating.
5. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel pose is another incredible chest-opener that will efficiently clear out any blockages from your breathing passages and make you feel like a brand new version of yourself.
If your back isn't ready for the full expression of the asana, try tucking your toes and making your heels more accessible when you lean backward, making sure to take any unnecessary pressure off of your sacrum.
6. Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)
If you're feeling kind of under the weather, you might shudder at the idea of getting upside down. But TBH, some yogis could live in this peaceful inversion, even when they're not feeling so hot.
Depending on the level of your practice, a headstand could be extremely beneficial and soothing, allowing any unwanted toxins to drain out so your immune system can reap some benefits and fight off future illnesses.
7. Plow Pose (Halasana)
If you're not feeling ready or well enough for a headstand, try a more modified plow pose, which is technically an inversion, as well.
Halasana will be an amazing antidote to blocked-up sinuses. Stay in the pose for about a minute to experience all of the detoxifying properties.
8. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Fish pose opens your throat chakra and unlocks your chest, both of which are areas that can be really restricted when you're dealing with a common cold.
Matsyasana will feel especially amazing right after shoulder stand and plow pose, so be sure to sequence these two after one another to honor and restore your muscles in the best way possible.
9. Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
Personally, I'm convinced that legs up the wall pose can cure all ailments in life. But it's especially effective when it comes to respiratory symptoms during the dreary winter months.
Your circulation will get a nice boost in this gentle and subtle inversion, and the relaxing properties will have you wanting to chill in viparita karani for days.
10. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Savasana is always a crowd favorite, since you're essentially taking a meditative power nap, but it'll be especially helpful for any oncoming, stubborn flu-like symptoms.
Rest is so essential for any illness, so close your eyes and slowly unwind. Remind yourself to slow down, and give your body and mind some much-needed care, staying in corpse pose for as long as you need to relax and restore.