Yoga for the Summer Cold

We've all been there, right? Learn how yoga can help.

There's a lot going on and going around right now. And while some are serious and require serious medical attention, there is also the common summer cold. Yes...the dreaded summer cold...sometimes mistaken for allergies. You'll know, though, that it's a cold if:

  • The symptoms don't last as long as seasonal allergies

  • There is a fluctuation in the severity of the symptoms

  • The onset of symptoms is individual at separate times instead of all at once

  • The symptoms don't change if you travel to a different region

  • Your mucus is yellowish or greenish instead of more translucent

So, if you find yourself sniffling and congested with the common cold this summer, try some of these natural tips and techniques for finding relief (in no specific order):

  • Colds are a mix of water and earth (mucus and phlegm), which is kapha in Ayurvedic terminology. So, we need to increase vata and pita. Eat raw foods like fruits and veggies and avoid heavy warm oily slow digesting foods like cream sauces, dairy, starchy root veggies, etc.

  • Protect your body's vata regions (neck, throat, head, and hands).

  • Oil your body's vata regions. Normally, you would circle oil on each joint 3 times and then straight down the limb three times. However, with a cold, you'll want to reverse the direction toward your heart to increase lymph.

  • Learn more about Ayurveda HERE.

  • Thymus Thumps: 12 thumps with one hand and 12 with the other (x3).

  • With a flat palm, smoosh from the ear down (nodes), let the heel and palm of your hand slide down the throat from top corner under the jaw near the ear down toward the sternum several times with the intention of moving lymph toward the heart area (turning the head sideways will help) . Avoid pressing the lymph upward.

  • During your yoga asana practice, keep your head higher than the heart.

  • Work with your hips to increase lymph: Upavistha Konasana, Baddha Konasana, Supta Padangusthasana are all great options for asana.

  • Avoid arm movements as they increase the openness of lymph in the armpits.

  • When we are sick, our bodies tend to go toward fetal position, but we actually need to open up the chest (without a lot of arm movements). Practice any chest openers without bringing your arms higher than your heart.

  • Use a neti pot and/or oil your nostrils with a Q-tip or your pinky.

  • Try Ujjayi breath on your inhale only (exhale is too drying): it pulls mucous etc. down. Exhale out your blocked nostril (if necessary) or perform a gentle non-drying exhale.

  • Make your inhale (size of rope) greater than your exhale (size of fine silk thread).

  • Use sound to vibrate the sinuses: Brahmari (bee breath) and Mantra (stimulating/activating sound) are two great practices.

And remember to stay hydrated and well-rested. It's okay to take some down-time when you aren't feeling your best.

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