6 Simple Yoga Poses You Can Do When You're Sick

Yoga has long been considered to be a holistic physical activity that helps improve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. While yoga is not a replacement for medical treatment while you are sick, it can be a vital tool to help you heal and feel better. Let's take a look at six yoga stretches that will help you when you're down with cold and flu and also boost general wellness.

Related: 10 Beginner Yoga Poses That Help Fight Diabetes

1. Child's Pose 

Child's Pose

Child's Pose, also known as Balasana in Sanskrit, is a relaxing and restorative yoga pose that can help you feel better when you're sick. This easy stretch relieves stress and tension, which can aggravate disease symptoms. It also helps the immune system by relaxing and lowering inflammation.

How to do it:

  • Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  • Sit back on your heels and reach your arms forward.
  • Rest your forehead on the mat or a block.
  • Breathe deeply and relax in this position for several minutes.

Child's Pose can help relieve congestion, headaches, and the pain that typically comes with illness.

2. Bridge Pose 

Bridge Pose

A well-known yoga stretch for cold and flu symptoms is Bridge Pose, or Setu Bandhasana. This pose opens the chest and throat, making it easier to breathe and improves circulation. It also activates the thyroid gland, which is important in immune system regulation.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift your hips off the ground, keeping your feet and shoulders grounded.
  • Interlace your fingers under your hips and press your arms into the mat.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute, breathing deeply.

By performing Bridge Pose, you will be able to flush out toxins from your body and boost your overall health.

3. Camel Pose

Camel Pose

Camel Pose, also known as Ustrasana in Sanskrit, is a powerful yoga stretch that not only improves flexibility and strength but can also help your body recover from sickness. When you're sick, your body can become tight and congested, and Camel Pose can help clear away lingering mucus in your chest area.

How to do it:

  • Begin with kneeling with your knees hip-width apart on the yoga mat.
  • To provide support, place your hands on your lower back, fingers pointing down.
  • Inhale as you arch your back and reach your hands for your heels, pushing your pelvis forward.
  • Maintain a neutral neck position or softly lower your head back.
  • While breathing deeply, hold the stance for 20-30 seconds, or longer if comfortable.

4. Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose

Similar to Camel Pose, Cobra Pose expands the chest, allowing for deeper, fuller breaths. Deep breathing not only helps relieve chest congestion, but it may also help reduce overall pain levels. Slow, deep breathing is associated with significantly lower pain levels, recent studies say.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your stomach on your mat, feet directed behind you about hip-width apart.
  • Place your palms down beneath your shoulders and your elbows at your sides.
  • Raise your chest and upper torso off the ground by pushing up with your hands. Maintain a long neck by rolling your shoulders down and back.
  • Look forward and take a big breath.

Related: The Ultimate Yoga Collection: Find Your Perfect Exercise

5. Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-Facing Dog

Apart from the primary benefits of stretching your hamstrings, calves, and Achilles tendons, this traditional pose acts as an inversion, effectively relieving headaches and enhancing blood flow to the sinuses. Use downward-facing dog in your yoga routine to find relief from cold and flu symptoms.

Research says that hatha yoga, which combines physical postures with controlled breathing techniques, may provide relief from the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, characterized by inflamed nasal passages caused by allergies.

How to do it:

  • Put your hands and knees on the mat with your fingers pointing forward and your knees hip-distance apart.
  • Curl your toes under and push into your hands, pushing your hips into the air and stretching your legs toward straight. Your body should form an inverted V shape.
  • Spread your fingers and rotate your inner elbows outwards toward the front of your mat.
  • Allow your head to hang down and move your shoulder blades away from your ears.

6. Legs Up the Wall Pose

Legs Up the Wall Pose

The Legs Up the Wall Pose, or Viparita Karani, is a restorative inversion that can benefit circulation and relieve headaches, fatigue, and congestion. This pose can help you feel more relaxed and at peace by calming your nervous system and reducing stress.

How to do it:

  • Sit with your back to a wall, then swing your legs up the wall while lying on your back. 
  • Depending on your comfort, keep your legs straight or slightly bent. Arms should be at your sides, palms facing up. 
  • Hold this stance for 5-10 minutes, concentrating on your breathing.

Viparita Karani promotes lymphatic circulation, which can help your body remove toxins and heal during illness.

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