It’s winter, which means it’s cold and flu season. I came down with a cold not too long ago, bad enough that I had to take time off of work to rest and regenerate and spent the majority of my time in bed. Somewhere between being sick and spending a lot of time lying down, my body felt sore and stiff. I knew I wasn’t well enough for a full yoga practice, but I found myself really craving some nice stretches to help my body feel better. Voila, Sick Day Yoga was born!
Disclaimer: I am a yoga teacher, but I’m not your yoga teacher. Always practice yoga mindfully and if you have any questions, consult with your teacher.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m not feeling well and I’m laying around a lot, my neck and shoulders get really stiff. To loosen up, I’ll gently flow between cat and cow pose, listening to my body and following my breath. Cow pose is traditionally done on an inhale, with cat pose on the exhale. I love this gentle, easy flow because it helps you limber up a bit without being too vigorous, making it perfect for sick day yoga.
After I felt warmed up with cat and cow, I moved on to a gentle side bend to help loosen up my side body and my shoulders. A nice addition to this is a gentle neck press, just gently resting your right hand on top of your head as your right ear falls toward your right shoulder, then doing the same stretch on the other side.
I also wanted to get in a nice stretch through my back, which had also become pretty tight from laying in bed all day, so I added in a supine twist. When I did this in bed, I placed a pillow under my top knee to make this pose more restorative so I could just relax.
To restore a sense of calm and peace, I did a little supported child’s pose. When I was sick in bed I used my pillow, but if you have a yoga bolster that would work great, too. Having the support of a pillow, bolster, or blanket under your chest really allows you to reap the restorative effects of this pose.
And, I ended my sick day yoga with some supported Savasana to open my heart and shoulders a bit more. Again, I had my pillow handy when I did this in bed, but a yoga bolster or a folded blanket would work nicely here and may even allow more of an opening through the heart than my pillow did.
When was the last time you were sick?
What do you do when you’re not feeling well?
Stay in bed? Push through it?
Any favorite gentle yoga poses or stretches for loosening up?