Coughing, stuffy nose, and scratchy throat – symptoms of the common cold, prolific this time of year, are no picnic. The CDC estimates that 22 million school days are missed each year due to the common cold, while Americans may suffer from more than 1 billion colds collectively each year.
Most colds last 7 to 10 days, and plenty of rest with generous hydration makes a winning combination for optimal recovery. Another time-honored remedy? The ancient practice of yoga. Try these 3 poses for natural relief to common cold symptoms:
Standing Forward Bend: This easy pose increases blood flow to the head and helps clear the sinuses. Stand upright with knees slightly bent and feet together. Bend at the hips and place your hands on the tops of your feet or the ground in front of them (or on the fronts of your legs as far as you can reach). Inhale and extend your chest to lengthen your spine, looking forward. Exhale and gently straighten knees. Repeat this rhythm as desired.
Fish Pose: This pose opens up the throat and lungs, increases circulation, helps to break up congestion, and relieves tension in neck and shoulders. Lie on your back on the floor with your palms pressed to the sides of your thighs. Raise your upper body by propping up your elbows beneath you. Arch your chest and lower the top of your head toward the floor, creating a bridge effect from your head to hips. Expand your chest as much as possible and breathe in and out deeply.
Alternate Nostril Breathing: Designed to clear congestion as it calms the mind and body, this technique begins with a comfortable, crossed-leg sitting pose on the ground. Rest left hand on thigh and bring right hand to nose, touching nostrils with thumb and ring finger without constricting. Inhale and exhale, then close right nostril with thumb and breathe in through left nostril for 4 counts. Squeeze both nostrils shut and hold for 4 counts. Then, release right nostril and exhale for 4 counts. Repeat sequence in reverse, breathing in through right nostril and out through left. Repeat cycle as many times as desired, ending on left nostril exhale.
Take a bit of extra time to pamper yourself when a cold has you down, and if symptoms haven’t improved (or have worsened) after 10 days, be sure to enlist your healthcare provider for professional guidance. In the meantime, here’s to cozy pajamas, chicken soup, and yoga!
Resources:common cold, Yoga