Can you do yoga when you're sick?

Mar 18, 2017

Can you do yoga when you're sick?

When you’re feeling under the weather, exercise may be far from your mind. But when you have a cold or flu, you may find that some mild physical activity helps your symptoms. Question is – can you do yoga when you’re sick?

Practising yoga when you’re sick

Before we get the downward dog on doing yoga when you’re unwell, let’s just make a little disclaimer. You know your body better than anyone, so it’s your call on whether exercise will help or hinder your healing.
If you’re unsure, take a trip to the doctor to get the all-clear first. They’ll probably tell you that if your symptoms are above the neck, it’s safe to do some gentle exercise.
Assuming you have the green light, there are some times when yoga can help when you’re feeling flat.
After all, many yoga poses give your immune system a helping hand. Twists and backbends, in particular, can help strengthen your body and help it fight invading bugs.
And if you’ve spent the whole week in bed, a gentle, slow-paced yoga routine may help shake off the cobwebs. It could also give you a hit of energy and warm up your body, so you can ease your way back to good health.
Notice that we say slowwww. The idea is to nurture your body, not push it too far. Focus on restorative practices like yin yoga, rather than a fast-paced hatha routine.

When you shouldn’t do yoga

Here’s one rule of thumb to always stick to: never, ever do yoga if you have a full-on flu. Yes, it’s tempting to try and sweat out the bugs, but you could end up making things worse.
Your immune system needs gentle support to fight the flu. But if you over-exert yourself, you may end up more dehydrated – making it harder for the body to get better.
If you have the flu, get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. And if you absolutely must do something, go for a slow walk in nature. Or do just a few simple stretches.
And whatever you do, avoid inversions. Poses like shoulderstand and headstand can increase the pressure in your head and make you even more blocked up.
So, listen to your body. Go gently. And see yoga as a gentle immune system support when you’re sick.

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