Time and time again, a yoga practice of asana and meditation have proven to help people get healthier in mind and body. But having and keeping a healthy body sometimes means recognizing when it’s time to modify our yoga practice. If you’ve ever had a migraine, the flu, an injury or something else, you know that it can be hard to keep up with a yoga practice and that’s an important message to receive from your body.
As the song goes, you gotta know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. When we get a nice momentum or groove going it can be frustrating to take a step back for rest, but rest is important — especially when you’re sick. And then comes the dreaded ego sneaking in with messages like, “You can do it, it’s all in your head” or “If you take a break now, you’ll never get back into it” or even “If I want to look like Jennifer Aniston, I have to push myself.” None of which are factual or helpful.
I like this post from Mary Catherine Starr, yoga instructor & studio director in Arlington, VA. She writes about her own struggle with maintaining a yoga practice during a sinus infection, and has some great tips on how to practice when you can’t practice.
This inability to do exactly what I love when it comes to asana and the abundance of sick or sniffly people around me got me thinking, how do you still “practice” yoga when your’re under the weather? I have a few ideas, pulling from what I’ve actually done over the past week, and thought I would share them with you today. But let me also say that these tips are for people who are struggling with seasonal allergies or sinus infections–for people who, like me, can still go about their day, albiet uncomfortably, but are just under the weather enough to be unable to practice–not those who are so weak that they’re stuck in bed or unable to do much of anything.
Read the full post ‘Yoga for when you can’t do yoga‘ on her blog, Starr Struck. And, here are some great yoga poses for when you have a cold from Yoga Journal. When all else fails, approach your practice like a beginner. Once your’e feeling better, take it back to square one. Allow your body to re-experience the newness of yoga and get reacquainted with the poses.
The most important thing to remember is that yoga ISN’T just about physical poses. When you’re sick or rundown, expand your meditation and pranayama practice (if it’s accessible). Perhaps it’s the universe’s way of reminding you that there’s more to your practice than asana. Try some guided meditations or transcendental meditation in place of asana (or shorten your asana practice and opt for a longer meditation.)
It is better to perform one’s own duties imperfectly than to master the duties of another. By fulfilling the obligations he is born with, a person never comes to grief. ~ Krishna from The Bhagavad Gita
– Your Charmed Yogi
(Photo: Suddenly Susan)
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- A letter to yogis with chronic illness
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