It’s the time of year when everything you see is about the promise of spring. The stores scream spring merchandise, the calendar says spring break, and everyone is sick of winter. But it’s not over yet. Even if you live someplace where you don’t ski through spring like we do in Montana, there’s usually this sort of dull, grey, just plain blah pre-spring period. And then, when you think you’re safely on the other side of winter maladies, a cold hits. A cold, combined with the March blahs, cries out for yoga.
These are my five favorite yoga asanas for when I have a cold, and for making it through March. Practice all five in this order, or sample one or two from this menu. And don’t forget to blow your nose in between poses!
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Waterfall (Shoulder Stand Variation)
This has been one of my favorites this winter, to get upside down without a big warm up. It’s a gentle inversion that charges up blood flow, and brings a fresh supply to the head and neck area. I find it helps with congestion. Hold for 3-5 minutes. You can do one leg at a time if you prefer. The block under your sacrum can be any height you choose.
This is my go-to pose when I have a cold. It opens the chest and throat, and takes some of the congestion pressure off. Hold for 10 breaths; added bonus if you can do a quick round of breath of fire here. Tip: remember not to have too much weight on your head – press into the elbows and allow the top of your head to rest lightly on the floor.
This is another gentle inversion. Full headstand is often way too much when I have a cold, so I do this version. If I’m really stuffy, I’ll alternate a few breaths here with the child’s pose in between. Or, hold for 10 breaths, then take child’s pose.
Using the wall to help open the chest is a great modification to full camel. Push your hands into the wall to create an arch in the upper back. You can also rest your head on the wall for more support. Hold 5 to 10 breaths. Take a few breaths in child’s pose after.
Supported Wide-Legged Forward Fold
The grand finale; two bolsters that work magic. If I’m sick and stiff, I also want to get rid of congestion in my hips. The support of the bolsters feels very nurturing. Put some kleenex under your face in case your nose lets it all run out, or turn your head to one side. Be sure to turn it to the other side for an equal amount of time to even things out. Hold for as long as feels good. This is a perfect before-bed pose.
Photos by Larry Stanley Photography