Wearing a hat outside and choking down dozens of chewable vitamin C might help ward off the flu for a while, but if our emotions are out of whack, our immunity system is severely compromised.
I can’t remember the last time I got a cold or the flu, but it recently hit me hard, and I know it has everything to do with the sadness I felt due to the death of our family friend last week. I stayed home yesterday and tried to rest, but I’m not really good at being sick. I think it’s because I’m so rarely home that I get excited about the possibility of finishing a bunch of domestic projects. My boyfriend, Craig, is the complete opposite. He does nothing but sleep and sleep, when he has the flu. I have a really hard time falling asleep during the day, so I stare at the walls for a while, but then I get an idea and jump out of bed, regardless of how achy I feel.
Yesterday, I cooked Indian parakas, steamed a heap of veggies, made ghee, and lentil soup. I also watched a movie and tried organizing my computer. But I went to bed early and drank a litre or two of my mom’s special Anti-Flu Elixir (recipe is below). This morning, convinced I was fine after a long night’s sleep, I practiced yoga with Max, who insisted we wear masks to minimize the risk of sharing my cold.
It was kind of fun actually. The mask wasn’t annoying. In fact, I appreciated the fact that it kept my breath warm and humidified. Max has also been feeling a little congested and has had a sore throat for a few days (maybe I caught his cold), so we worked on chest opening poses like dancer, inverted plank, fish, camel and bridge. These not only help to open the lungs (good for asthmatics, by the way), but they also bring energy to the throat area. Shoulderstand is also excellent for sore throat relief, as it promotes circulation in this region. We did a few sun salutations too as they increase circulation throughout the whole body.
In case you want to try this Immunity Anti-Flu Yoga practice, here’s a sequence to try:
1- Restorative chest opening pose using a block or blanket under shoulderblades (3 mins)
2- Cat/Cow to warm up spine
3- Sun Salutations – slowly 3-5 x
4- Windmill – stand with feet hip width apart and twist torso right to left, keeping arms relaxed (6-10 x)
5- Triangle pose
6- Twisted Triangle or side angle pose
7- Wide legged forward bend, fingers interlaced
8- Dancer pose
*Transition to sitting
9- Boat pose (to increase digestive fire)
10- Inverted plank pose
11- Boat pose
12- Fish pose
13- Lying on back, knees to chest, head to knees
14- Down dog
15- Camel pose
17- Bow or Half box pose (also to increase digestive fire)
18- Down dog
19- Bridge and/or wheel 2x
20- Child’s pose – head on floor or block
21- Shoulderstand (supported with blankets under shoulders) or legs up the wall
22- Kapalabhati breathing
23- Alternate Nostril breathing
24- Savasana or same chest opener as start – if coughing, rest on side in fetal position (5-10 mins)
* All postures should be held for a minimum of five breaths. This practice is approximately 60 mins. Do what you can. (Photo is of my student Amber in progressions of Camel pose.)
I’d love to hear your feedback on the above sequence.
And one last thing, here’s the recipe for my mom’s Anti-Flu Elixir:
In a cup of boiling water, add: 2 cloves of crushed garlic, a tsp or tbsp of honey, juice of half a lemon or lime. Optional super ingredient: 1/2 a ‘thumb’ of crushed fresh tumeric or 1 tsp of dried tumeric! (Can use ginger instead of tumeric.)
Drink this concoction at least 3 x day. Yum!