Yoga With a Cold



I haven’t been feeling well the last couple of days and that is soooo rare for me.  Stuffy nose, cough, sore throat.  I have a cold.  A real cold.  Not one that’s going away after a day.  A true, honest-to-goodness-snot-everywhere-COLD.

And I’m miserable.

Yes…that negative thought has pretty much embraced me right now…so I’m embracing it.  I’m not in denial.  I’m not pretending I’m fine.  I’m not sending positive vibes to myself (okay…I should be doing this…).  I’m sick.  And I admit it.

So now that we’re all clear on that, the question becomes:  What happens to my yoga practice when I’m ill?  Do I give it up and lay on the couch all day?  Do I suck it up and go to a class?  Do I fill myself up with over the counter drugs?  Do I go to the doctor for something a little stronger?

The answer for me is to listen to my body and give it what it is asking for.  Tender loving care.

Here’s what Tender Loving Care means for me today:

1.  I do not go to a class.  Besides the fact that I don’t feel alert enough to be out there driving around, who wants to practice next to me?  Who’s going to be able to focus on themselves with my growing mound of used tissues next to my mat?  Who near me can pay attention to their own practice and their own body when I’m busy making some pretty awful sounds?  How do people convince themselves that I’m not spreading these germs all over the place?  And if someone in there is anything like me, will they be able to practically SEE the germs growing in that heat?  Ewwwwww!!!!

2.  I’m not ingesting over the counter or prescription drugs.  I already feel bad enough.  I don’t need something that’s going to knock me completely out and make me feel disconnected and groggy on top of what I already feel.  Not to say there isn’t a time, place and illness for this.  There absolutely IS.  I’m just not there.  If I get there, I will see my doctor.

3.  I brewed up and am sipping on detox tea.  A LOT of it.

4.  I’m filling up on as much water as I can drink.

5.  I am “steam cleaning” my nose with a neti pot.  If you’re not familiar with this, it is an ancient Ayurveda practice involving cleaning out the nostrils with warm salt water.  It has made a world of difference.

6.  I am NOT giving up my yoga practice but I AM well aware that my body needs rest.  I’m practicing a very gentle restorative yoga and using props to elevate my head while I relax.  I am not pushing myself AT ALL.  I am aware.  I am focused.  I am relaxing.

7.  I am NOT giving up my meditation practice.  I have not been able to go into any sort of deep meditation at all but I am remembering that any small moments of quiet are doing my mind, my body and my soul a world of good.  And I am remembering that any amount of time I spend with God is a joy and a blessing.  I am remembering that prayer is important for my soul.

8.  I am NOT giving up my pranayama practice but I AM giving up any vigorous practice.  I am using gentle alternate nostril breathing and I am practicing in a way that will help clear my sinuses…not make me uncomfortable.  I am learning that vibration can really help clear the sinuses naturally.  I am closing my lips and making the sound of a bee.  I am feeling movement.  I am feeling a loosening of mucus.  I am knowing that it is helping.

9.  I am resting.  I am going to bed early and taking short naps when needed.  I am soaking in detox baths.  I am staying calm.

10.  I am not beating myself up.  I am understanding that this illness is my body’s way of telling me I need to pay attention.  And I am paying attention.

Wishing each of you the best of health today.  Hoping you are all listening to your bodies and giving yourselves whatever it is you need.  If that means a longer, stronger yoga practice, a longer, deeper meditation and prayer session, a nap or a run, I hope you are listening.


Brigett (and everyone at Kahanu Yoga & Meditation Spa)


PS:  In case you’re curious, I don’t have amounts but here are the ingredients in my detox tea:

  • Fresh ginger
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Turmeric powder
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Water
  • Local organic honey added to the individual cup

And in the bath:

  • 2 cups Epsom Salt
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 15-20 drops of essential oils (I use eucalyptus and lavender)
  • 1/3 cup ginger powder (which will make you sweat.  A LOT.  Use less if needed and drink LOTS of water)