Having the flu isn’t just annoying. It’s tiring and can be painful. The illness takes over your whole body, making it hard to breathe, move, and gain energy at all. The last thing you’ll want to do is exercise, but it can help improve your immune system and help fight the illness.
Of course, you do not want to go out running or take a trip to the gym. It’s all about exercise that will rejuvenate the energy levels and allow you to remain in your own house. This is where yoga is so beneficial. It’s something you can do anywhere and at any time.
Yoga helps to heal the spirit and soul, as well as the physical health. It can help to boost energy levels and the immune system. You can also clear the sinuses and make yourself feel better overall. You just need to do the right yoga poses to help.
These seven yoga poses are effective to relieve flu symptoms. There is no need to tip yourself upside down or perform strenuous movements.
How Can Yoga Possibly Help?
The big question right now is how yoga can even help. Doctors’ advice is usually that you allow yourself to get better naturally before you do anything strenuous. While that is important, yoga does not have to use up a lot of energy or force you into strenuous forms of exercise. The positions can be extremely calming and restorative.
Yoga uses deep breathing and some meditative practices to restore the internal health, as well as the physical health. It’s possible to connect with yourself and release more positive hormones into the body.
When you’re ill, the body releases more stress hormones. Cortisol helps to boost the inflammatory response to kick-start the immune system. However, it can leave you feeling lethargic and anxious. The cortisol sets off the fight or flight response and can make you feel worse before you get better! Encouraging the release of positive hormones can help to boost your immunity against infections and help improve your health.
Then there are the physical benefits of yoga. The poses involve a lot of stretching and support. It’s possible to ease the feeling of tight limbs and reduce the painful and weighted feelings in the limbs. Flu takes over the whole body and you can reduce some of the symptoms. When you get rid of the symptoms, you’re often more positive about your overall health. The positivity will help to support the immune system further!
There are times that you should even avoid yoga. If your symptoms are in the chest, such as raspy breathing or a chesty cough, then you’ll want to avoid aggravating it.
Now you just need the seven poses that will help to improve your health. Here are the ones you’ll want to try right away.
The Matsyasana for Sinus Relief
Let’s start with the pose called Matsyasana. This is when you lie on your back with your legs straight out. Place your hands on the glutes and arch the back, so the top of your head touches the floor. You can use a yoga block to offer support for your back to avoid strain.
Tipping the head back like this can help to provide some relief from respiratory and sinus issues. It opens the airways to improve breathing, which will help to make you feel better. The position also helps to open many glands in the neck and upper body area, which will improve the production of the right hormones. Your blood pressure, body temperature, and metabolism are all better controlled.
There is also the ability to stretch the body out. Your back and legs can feel under pressure when you have the flu. They feel tight and painful, but the position helps to improve the blood flow and get rid of that feeling of dead weight.
Move into the Pawanmuktasana
The next pose to try is called the pawanmuktasana. It’s usually used to treat abdominal discomfort, but can also be highly effective for treating the flu and preventing the illness from getting worse.
Lie flat on your back and then pull one of your legs to your chest. Hold onto the shin and pull your upper body so the nose touches your knee. Keep the other leg as straight as possible.
The asana improves the circulation of the blood, which helps to improve your overall health. You get more oxygenated blood around the body, supporting the immune system. The position also helps to relieve any tension within the legs, hips, and back. You can improve the feeling of dead weight in your limbs from the flu.
Sometimes flu can make you feel sick, which is why this position is also good. It helps to improve the movement of gas within the digestive system, helping to reduce bloating and discomfort. You’ll find it easier to pass stools to help restore balance in your body.
Seated Exercises for Better Breathing
Now it’s time to sit up and improve your breathing. The best pose for this is the Kapal Bhati pranayama. This is where you sit up with your legs cross and place one hand on your stomach. Focus on breathing in and out through the nose to unblock the channels. You’ll stimulate the digestive system at the same time.
Try improving your breathing further by using your spare hand to block one nostril as you breathe in. When you breathe out, block the other nostril. Then breathe back through the nostril that you just breathed out of and repeat on the other side. You’ll likely find one side of the nose is easier to breathe through than the other and it can help to unblock the sinuses.
While in the seated position, you can also improve the flow of blood and movement of the muscles with a spinal twist. Put your feet straight out in front of you and then bend the right knee, getting your heel as close to your glutes as possible. Cross the leg over your left, keeping the left leg as straight as possible. Now place the right hand behind you on the floor and reach upwards with the left arm, twisting towards the right. Hook your left arm around the knee and look over your right shoulder to the wall behind you.
Hold the position for a few minutes, before repeating on the other side. The twist will help to stretch out the back muscles while improving the flow of blood and air around your organs. Your immune system gets another boost to help fight the infection.
Place the Legs on the Wall
It’s time to lay back down again. This time you want to do it close to a wall, so you can lay with your feet upwards. You’ll improve the flow of blood, reduce back pain, improve sleep, and improve lymph fluid to improve the immunity.
This is one of the easiest poses to do and you will feel the air circulating around your body more. Work the muscles to help improve the feeling and stretch out the aching muscles.
You can continue the stretch by arching the back, allowing more airflow around the headspace. However, if this is too much for you, there is the option to prop your head up to stay above the chest and pelvis level. This can be beneficial for those with head colds.
Try Out the Bridge Pose
The next position to try will involve a little more effort, but it’s still excellent for improving your immunity. It helps to support the core muscles and will stimulate the thymus glands.
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet firmly on the floor. Place your heels as close to your glutes as possible and place your hands on your hips. Push your butt off the floor, keeping a straight line from chest to knees.
If you’re struggling with the energy, you can lower and rise back into the position. It’s like a pulse, rather than holding the pose for a long period of time. You can also push your feet a little further out to reduce the need to tense your quads as much.
Do not bounce yourself back to the floor. Work one vertebra at a time to return to your laying position.
Concentrate on your breathing while holding the position. You’ll feel the stretch in your legs while boosting the circulation around your body.
Move onto the Seated or Standing Forward Bend
There are two versions of this position depending on the amount of energy you have available. Let’s start with the seated forward bend.
Sit on your mat with your feet straight out in front of you. Reach up to the sky and then hinge forward, bending purely at your hips. Drop the arms towards your toes. Keep your spine straight throughout. The only part of the body that can continue to drop is your arms, which should remain palms down and land on the legs. If you can keep bending forward, allow your whole upper body to rest on your legs.
While this helps to improve flexibility, it can also help to reduce headaches and fatigue. You stretch out all the muscles, too, boosting blood flow and reducing pain.
If you have the energy, stand up and do the standing forward bend instead. This will help to stretch out more of the leg muscles and can help to quieten your mind to reduce anxiety during the flue.
Stand straight, with your feet together. Reach up overhead and then hinge at the hips. You want to reach to the ground with the upper body along with your legs if you can. If you cannot reach your toes, bend your knees a little. You’ll still feel the pull and gain all the benefits. Avoid locking your knees, as this can cause injury.
Finish with the Downward Facing Dog
The last thing you’ll want to do is tip yourself upside down, but it’s something to do to help get rid of the flu symptoms. The downward facing dog helps to improve the movement of the white blood cells through your body, furthering the improvement of your health. Meanwhile, being upside down slightly will help to drain your sinus passages to get rid of the stuffed feeling.
You can start this by laying on your front or from the standing position. If you’re doing it from standing, walk your hands down your legs and then out from your feet. Bend your knees if you need to and try to keep your heels flat on the floor.
Keep your head lose between your arms. Press the chest towards your legs, keeping your back as flat as possible.
If you start on your front, start with the upward facing dog. This is where you push up on your hands and arch the back. Your chest and lungs open to help you breathe better, and then you can push yourself upwards into the downward facing dog.
It’s All About Breathing
Do not worry if you cannot hold the positions if normal. You’re ill, so it’s perfectly understandable. It’s about the quality of the pose. Make sure you focus on your breathing and being more mindful. You’ll gain more benefits from any of the positions you do and boost your immune system.
You’re not necessarily going to feel like you have the energy for yoga or any type of exercise. Listen to the way your body makes you feel. As you start to overcome the worst of the flu, you can then start yoga to improve the rate of recovery.
Do not forget about plenty of fluids, too. Even yoga will make you sweat more. Your body needs to remain hydrated to repair fully and keep the immune system active. Hot broth, especially chicken broth, can help. It’s also worth following a diet that’s colorful and organic to help boost recovery.