With the free time I had this week, I wanted to head to a nice long yoga class. But with my head feeling like it’s stuffed with cotton, I dreaded the hour and half commitment. Plus the idea of going upside down was enough to make me crawl back into bed.
Usually when I practice at home I have an MP3 to guide me, or at least a cut out from Yoga Journal. When I just go it alone, I tend to get distracted. I know I’m supposed to be able to let the energy flow through me and guide me into poses that my body needs. But with this cold? Nothing is flowing. So, with a little research, here’s a Head Cold Plan:
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
This is a great way to start, especially when I haven’t really decided I want to be on my mat. It gives me time to get grounded and get excited for practice.
Adho Muka Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) Variation
I know, upside down with a head full of snot is not the most appealing thing. So, instead, I used the back of my couch for support. I put my hands on the back of the couch instead of the floor. This way, I can get the same gentle opening in the shoulders without inverting, and without stressing this body that’s been lying on the couch for 3 days.
Back on the mat to your knees. I find it’s great to move from Child’s Pose into Gate and back out again. It adds a nice flowing movement. For Gate, come from Child’s Pose up onto your knees. Extend the right leg to the side, knee and foot and hips all facing forward. Then reach up out of your pelvis until the whole spine lifts. Once lifted, then tilt over to the right – extending the entire side body. Do both sides.
For a break, come into Hero’s Pose or back into Child’s Pose.
Ardha Matseyendrasana (Seated twist)
From Hero’s Pose, swing the right leg gently around to the front and cross it over the left with the right knee pointed up. Raise your right arm and lift the body out of the hips. Then hook the right arm over the right knee, or hold the knee into the chest. Twist slowly and breathe. Twist on both sides.
Paschimittanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
With both legs straight in front of you, rise up from the torso. Then extend the arms and go forward. Breathe here for 1-3 minutes. Inhale to come up. Don’t go too quickly. Breathe in a seated position for a couple of breaths.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Supported Bridge Pose)
Lean back onto your back. Take a moment here to breathe. I was still a little wonked from the forward bend, so I stayed here for a couple rounds of breath. When I was ready I folded my knees into my chest and rocked a little, massaging the spine. THEN, I laid supine and prepared for supported bridge.
In this pose, you can support the torso on a block or bolster, depending on how open your chest is. After coughing for a day or two, my chest is not very open. So I opted for a rolled up blanket under my shoulder blades instead of a block. I love this pose. Stay here for as long as you can, opening the chest, breathing with your head and arms resting comfortably on the floor.
If you’re feeling it, go ahead into plow pose or shoulder stand. To be honest, even though I wrote down these poses, I didn’t end up doing them. Maybe next time.
Supta Baddha Konasana (Supine bound angle)
Take that rolled up blanket and lay down on it so it’s parallel to the spine. Bend the knees with feet touching, knees falling out. I love this pose.
Still on the back, having removed the bolster, go right into a supine twist. Pull one knee into the chest, across and toward the floor. Try to keep the shoulders on the floor and look over the opposite arm. Twist on both sides, taking your time.
Legs up the Wall
I actually didn’t think of this until I was writing all this up, but this might have been a nice addition here.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Breathe. My nose was still a little stuffy at this point, but I gave it the old College try and then just relaxed into whatever breathing I could muster.
Thanks to Yoga Journal’s Pose Guide for all the sanskrit names. I don’t know those by heart. Yet.