How to Heal Colds and Prevent Illness with Yoga Practices

Many people, especially now that it is winter, feel a bit more congested than usual. And may even be starting to get used to this feeling already as a “normal” part of winter, but remember it’s not normal and you can wake up feeling energetic and healthy even when it’s dark and cold outside!

Colds here and there may not be so bad, and they may even be nice when you get to take off time from work. But the problem with colds is that they drain your positive energy, and make you feel more down and sad when it is already hard to fight this tendency with the stormy winter weather. Sometimes when I get sick, I even think that I am just sad instead of realizing my brain is just reading the cues of my physical body that mimic sadness like fatigue/lack of energy. And the holidays are supposed to be fun and about families coming together and celebrating the Christmas story of love and hope, and giving.

Motivated? So now let’s get down to the possible causes of sinus congestion build-up, and while we are at it put an end to the accompanying lethargic moodiness too.

Here are some of the most likely causes of sinus congestion, and yes it has A LOT to do with the accompanying changes in diet during the holidays:

  • Eating too many dairy products (milk, cheese, butter, or yogurt)
  • Eating too much sugar, especially late at night
  • Eating a heavy meal less than 3 hours before going to sleep, or overeating before bed
  • Allergies to pollen, mold, pets, or foods
  • Smoking or being exposed to smoke or other environmental pollutants in the air

And now, here are some ideas for what you can do to avoid having congestion:

Exercise daily to where you break a sweat—this means your nervous system is in an active fighting mode, and sweating purifies the body—releasing the built up toxins that our body stores as mucus.  In the morning this kick starts your fat-burning metabolism for the whole day!

Try for one week limiting your intake of dairy products which are a common cause of excess mucus.

Coating the nasal passage with sesame oil (other oils are not as pleasant). The oil traps allergens entering through the breath into your nose, and keeps them from entering your body and thus from causing an allergic reaction that leads to sinus congestion.

Eat dinner 3 hours before you go to sleep. When your body is processing too much food late at night, it builds up more toxins than it would normally and some body types are likely to store these in the form of mucus or body fat cells. You can have the same problem from overeating.

Try not to eat sugar for 2-3 days (important to double check food labels).  Excess sugar is also a cause of excess toxins. After these few days, see how you feel. If you feel lots better than try to keep this up throughout the Christmas parties and family celebrations.

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Neti Pot

Use a neti pot, a device that rinses clean the nasal passage and washes out all irritants and allergens before they can cause an allergic reaction. It can also clean out any left over mucus that could be stuck from your last cold/flu that is still causing problems.

Practicing yoga postures where your head is upside down (inverted) or a few rounds of sun salutations or inverted poses in the morning. Even just a forward bend and a few others you know how to practice safely help to increase the heart rate, eliminate toxins in the body, and relieve congestion.

If you are aware of the energization exercises of Paramhansa Yogananda, these also work wonders for battling the feeling of fatigue and lethargy. Not only do they improve your mood, boost your immune system, and raise your heart beat, but they use your body’s own electric charge to basically zap the germ cells right out of you. Click here for instructions.

And most importantly try to stay in balance this season. Each day, despite whatever things are going on– stop for a moment and take the time to relax, get exercise (break a sweat!), and eat healthy. and remember, as long as you keep trying  you will achieve success!

Further Reading:


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