How to Be Mindful When You’re a Sick Yogi
No one likes being sick. It’s not better or worse when you’re a “yogi” per se – but it’s just not great. Whether it’s sniffles, sore throats and lymph nodes, or just a general fatigue: being sick is a whole pile of irritation.
I’ve been sick over the past week. It seems that my yoga practice has correspondingly suffered. I wake up and ask myself: how can you make yourself healthier today? Yoga comes to mind, but when I’m sick, it feels more important to rest.
How should I handle this?
As a yoga practitioner, I want to get on the mat and go through my sun salutations (and surely… they can’t be so bad for you if you only run through a few). On the other hand, wellness is a huge part of yoga. If your body and mind are telling you that you need a rest- no question about it: you need a break.
Part of being ill is being mindful. I think if you deep down want to do yoga, you should feel free to do so. If you want to eat dairy, then go buy some yogurt. You can find any number of online articles telling you what is or is not good for you while you have the flu. Rationalization isn’t the issue here though!
When sickness hits, you should try to be more conscious.
Your body is telling you that it needs sleep, relaxation and a break from your busy schedule. It’s also probably telling you what it needs to eat and what practice you should or should not do.
Let me give you a little example of what happened to me last week. I was starting to feel ill on Friday, but dismissed it as a lack of sleep and nutritious food during the day. I also had a yoga course scheduled with one of my favorite teachers on Saturday morning, which I was not about to miss. Saturday arrived. I woke up and I felt absolutely horrible. As I’d already scheduled the class, I forced myself out of bed and took the power yoga class. No doubt in my mind that it was a fantastic hour. Here’s the issue: ten minutes out of class and on my way home, I had to stop in a bookstore to recover for a full 30 minutes before I was able to continue.
All this because I didn’t listen to my body. As I was sitting in the bookstore, I felt shaky, lightheaded and I had trouble regulating my breathing. At the time I didn’t really understand why. But now looking a week later, I can see that I overstrained my body and that even though I felt absolutely terrific during that class – the aftermath was less than the zen I was looking for. In the next couple days, I gave my body the break it was looking for. Now I’m healthier, happier and feel like I could (maybe) take on a full yoga class – and I can’t wait.
So just a quick piece of advice from your favourite yogi: please try to remain mindful as we head into spring of being sick. Listen to your body. Sometimes it’s telling us to relax by drinking tea, having a glass of wine and sometimes even taking an evening to indulge (and that’s all fine). Any sick stories that you have, yogis?