Yoga for Coughs & Colds
The seasons are changing. Yesterday the cars were covered in frost, the clocks go back this weekend and coughs and sniffles are in the air. I have had a cold for a while now and it is really lingering in my chest. I wake up each morning hoping that it will have gone but it seems to want to hang around for a little while longer! A good time to practice acceptance. What I have noticed though is that simple things like gentle yoga & steaming are so helpful to keep things moving and stopping it from getting worse. So I thought I would share what I have been doing periodically throughout the day to help.
- Move gently. Even if you don't feel like moving I can promise you that some gentle breathing & yoga will help you feel better. 5-10 minutes is all you need and it is particularly effective first thing in the morning. Anything that opens and invigorates the chest, shoulders and neck is good as the lungs, chest muscles and upper/ mid spine can get a bit tired, inflamed and sore. Try a gentle Reclined Twist (see below) and moving in and out of Bridge pose. From a side lying position try a Shoulder Clock taking your arm softly around in a semi-circle and back again a few times before repeating on the other side a few times. Inversions are also excellent and you could try Standing Forward Bend leaning with hips resting against the wall or a gentle Downward Dog. Humming-Bee Breath is really clearing for the lungs and throat, in fact all of the cells in the body! Lie or sit, breathe in fully and then make a humming sound through closed lips as you breathe out. Try 10 rounds. You may cough and splutter a bit but it should clear by the 10th round. And not forgetting rest either in Savasana or a restorative position like Reclined Cobber or Legs-up-the-Wall. Pop a timer on for 5 minutes and allow yourself to stop and follow your breathing.
- Tapping. Try a Do-In self-massage to stimulate the flow of energy in your body. This is a great video and only takes 10 minutes. Better still ...go for some massage, shiatsu, which is a style of acupressure massage from Japan, is wonderful and works in the same way as Do-in.
- Steam. A couple of times a day add 1 or 2 drops of essential oil (Olbas is ideal or eucalyptus) to a bowl of hot water and pop a towel over your head to keep the steam in. Breathe in the hot vapours until the water cools down.
- Stay warm & cosy. Whilst fresh air can be clearing and invigorating I generally feel that staying warm, with a scarf around my neck and a hot water bottle on my lap really helps.
- Stay hydrated. Let's be honest, with a chest cold there is snot and often lots of it. Lots of warm drinks like hot water with lemon, honey & ginger really helps your body clear the mucus and keep it moving.
- Stay nourished. Now is a great time to reintroduce warm, comforting soups. I really like to combine butternut squash with red onion, pepper, ginger, tumeric, thai 7 spice and coconut milk. Herbs like Echinacea are great for immunity and juices are a great way to get a boost of essential vitamins & minerals.
All of these suggestions are by no means a quick fix but they encourage us to slow down enough to let the body's natural healing mechanisms take effect.
May you find time to rest and take care of yourself.
Namaste, Orla x