After over two years of hiding from covid, it finally caught up with me this Easter break. If you’ve had it you’ll know its a nasty with so many varied symptoms and seems to have a knack for hitting people in their weak points. My son had tummy pains and vomiting, I had a sore throat. Unfortunately it seems as if this virus is here to stay so here are five yoga tips I hope will help if you are unfortunate to be ill with this. If you’ve come through it and have some tips of your own please add them in the comments!
- Rest – don’t worry if you do no asana. It might seem obvious but if you are used to hopping on your mat and doing your asana you might feel strange, even guilty, not doing that. Asana is there to strengthen your body and improve your mental focus. When you are fighting a pandemic in your body, you need rest, so unless you are really called to some restorative or very gentle asana, drop it. It will be there for you on the other side and your body will thank you for the extra rest.
You can still do yoga without doing the poses.
2. Can be a tricky one with covid, but pranayama. Pranayama is so healing, it is the power to move prana (energy) around your body. The reason this might be tricky is that covid is an upper respiratory infection. It causes, blocked nose, mucus, coughing, chestiness and for me, a raw sore throat. Bringing awareness and deep breathing into your nose, throat and upper chest can feel not only difficult but very unpleasant.
Try this – lie slightly propped up or sit with your back supported so you don’t have that nasal drip to the back of your throat. Bring awareness to your navel. Imagine or feel you are breathing in and out through your navel. Feel as though the navel draws in the prana, breath in navel expands, out navel releases. Your attention stays with the navel. Don’t worry if you nose is blocked and you are mouth breathing.
Awareness stays at the navel, your source of power, connection to mama. All will be well.
3. Next is your neti. If you have a neti pot you know what to do. If you’ve never done this before it can seem a little strange. Basically you bath the inside of your nasal passage, back of your throat with warm salty water, think the benefits of gargling but getting into other spaces. Neti is amazing for asthma sufferers, hay fever sufferers or anyone with sinus issues so it works great to just clear out the gunk of congestion and give you a bit of relief so you can breath. It’s a little gentler than the sinus rinse you can buy in the chemist and you are supporting your body and immune system.
4. My fourth tip is a little more for the mind and soul.
Yoga is full of philosophical wisdom that can help us with all challenges, covid included. Much of our suffering when we are sick relates to what we think we should be doing, our cancelled plans, the potatoes that should have been planted, the bathroom that I planned to paint.
We can use this time to practice the yamas and niyamas. For example ahimsa, (compassion) for ourselves and for all beings that suffer? Understanding that all beings suffer and sending out love. And satya (truthfulness), how are you today? Super tired? That’s ok. Aparigrapha (non- grasping) letting go of our plans and how we think things ‘should’ be.
Can you enjoy the moments when you feel slightly better. My meditation practice while I was really sick was just that short poem from Thich Nat Hahn on drinking tea. The hot tea helped relieve congestion and rehydrate me. I took a moment of mindfulness.
This cup of tea
In my two hands
Mindfulness held perfectly
In the very here and now
5. My final and probably top tip is yoga nidra, maybe you can’t sleep, you body is fighting and tension has crept in to your jaws, neck and shoulders, back…So lie down and rest anyway. If your nose is a tap, prop yourself up a little and then follow a yoga nidra recording. Maybe you will fall asleep. If you do be kind to yourself. Use it to rest. If not enjoy it and use it to rest.
Here is a short yoga nidra you might like to try. Take care and be well.
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