By Jacob Maslow – Branded Content
When done at moderate intensity, exercise is beneficial to our physical and mental health and our immune system. However, this does not justify getting out of bed and heading to the yoga studio if you are unwell. There are two concerns: Should you practice yoga when sick? Should you go to a yoga class when ill?
Doing yoga with a fever will only make things worse—and if you think you can sweat out your sickness, think again. “You can’t sweat out a cold or the flu,” says a well-known doctor. “And if you try to do too much when you’re already feeling crummy, you may make yourself feel even worse.” So what should you do when you’re under the weather? Get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and take some over-the-counter medication for your symptoms. And leave the yoga for when you’re feeling better.
Yoga When You Have a Cold
A virus causes the common cold, and there is no cure other than time and rest. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to make yourself feel better. For example, gentle yoga may help relieve some of your symptoms, such as congestion and headaches.
According to yogadivinty.com, if you have a cold, avoid any poses that pressure your head or neck, such as inversions or shoulder stands. Also, use props, such as blankets and blocks, to support your body and avoid straining yourself. And finally, listen to your body—if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Yoga When You Have the Flu
A virus causes the flu, and the best thing to do is rest and let time take its course. But, unlike a cold, exercise may make the flu worse. The flu is a systemic illness, meaning it affects your whole body. So when you add the stress of exercise on top of that, it can tax your system even further.
In general, it’s best to avoid any type of exercise—not just yoga—when you have the flu. But suppose you’re feeling up for it and your symptoms are above the neck (such as a runny nose or congestion). In that case, some light movement might help you feel better by increasing circulation and helping to clear your sinuses.
Once again, avoid any inversions or other poses that pressure your head or neck. Also, be sure to use props and go at your own pace—there’s no need to push yourself.
Yoga When You Have a Stomach Bug
If you have a stomach bug, you’re not feeling up for much of anything—let alone yoga. It’s best to avoid exercise until your symptoms have passed. “Exercise can increase nausea and worsen vomiting,” says Beaser.
So what should you do if you have a stomach bug? First, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. And when you’re feeling better, start slowly with some gentle yoga.
When to Practice Yoga
The bottom line? It’s best to avoid practicing yoga—or any type of exercise—when you’re sick. But if you’re feeling up for it and your symptoms are above the neck, some light movement might help you feel better. Just be sure to use props, go at your own pace and listen to your body. And when in doubt, always err on the side of caution and take a break from yoga until you’re feeling better.
So, should you do yoga when you’re sick? The answer is, that it depends on many factors! If you have a cold, the flu, or a stomach bug, it’s best to listen to your body and take a break from yoga until you’re feeling better. However, if your symptoms are above the neck and you’re feeling up for it, some light movement might help you feel better. Just be sure to use props.
Photo Courtesy // Jacob Maslow //