Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Yoga and the common cold

Homebound with a bad cold these past few weeks, I’ve missed my yoga. But then I began to think about how certain aspects of the common cold—coughing, nasal congestion, sneezing, wheezing—invoke a kind of involuntary yoga.

In yoga, there are a series of breath-control practices called pranayama. They are thought to enhance physical health and mental clarity.  They involve exercises like:

*ujayyi, or throat constriction, which produces a soft hissing sound—not unlike wheezing!

*kapalabhati, short forcible exhalations followed by passive inhalations—not unlike coughing! Or sneezing!

*nadhi shodana, alternate-nostril breath, in which you breathe through one nostril at a time—not unlike nasal congestion! Or blowing your nose!

So it turns out that we all do yoga, whether we like it or not.