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Reigning in the Flu with YOGA

I had been waiting awhile to blog on this subject. After all, it is the practical experience that supersedes the theoretical knowledge.   I have applied yoga therapy in case of many students suffering from cold and flu and it has worked beyond expectations.  But self-experimentation brings about a self realisation. Finally, I got my seasonal cold and cough after years and hence the chance for self-trial. Some of the discoveries during this trial helped me understand intricate nuances of recovering from flu. I am writing this to share my personal experience with you. It all began with a sore throat which, I thought was taken care of by gargling with saline water and taking simple precautions to keep my body warm (I made it a point to cover my head, ear, neck, chest and feet). Throat pain was almost relieved by 90% by the next day.  But this was just the beginning of a full-fledged cold. I needed rest and respected that need of the hour. However, few kriyas and asanas really heled me relax and cope with the whole episode gracefully. Jalneti and Vyut Krama worked as A Miracle Jalneti and Vyut Krama are kriyas - cleansing processes which are performed with lukewarm saline water. These practices not only helped clean the nasal passages, thereby, smoothing my breathing process but also helped ease my heavy headache. Even if you feel the nostrils are blocked, attempting to do this kriya would help release the phlegm in the stuffed nostrils. It is the usage of “salt” that helps dislodge the tightened phlegm. Positioning the head differently helps wonderfully

The forward bending of the head in postures like uttanasna,

prasarita padotanasana, paschimottanasana; postures where head is stretched down the back like ushtrasana, half chakrasana, chakrasana would help ease the symptoms of the flu. In fact, position as simple as placing of pillow in a way that half your shoulders and half your neck are on the pillow while your head is falling towards the floor can be effective.  Inversion postures such as supported sarvangasana, supported headstand or adhomukha svanasana (half inversion) or again something as simple as being on your bed and resting your crown on a pillow with your hips off your heels would also help the condition.  I practiced the above mentioned positions in a modified manner.

Some of the findings are definitely worth mentioning here. It was interesting to note that the postures in which my nostrils were towards the floor like adhomukha svanasana, the clearing of the stuffed nostrils was quicker and gave great relief after relaxing the asana. The postures in which my nostrils faced the ceiling such as sirshasan helped stop the running nose. In fact, I performed headstand for 5 minutes against the wall and noticed two immediate changes:

  1. The running nose stopped completely and restarted only after 6 hours.

  2. Lot of phlegm was spit out after release of sirshasan. The Third day morning saw no trace of the running nose. Body was definitely weak clearing signaling that it needed rest. Respecting that state of body and mind, doing very basic practices helped me recover and recuperate smoothly. As one approaches the recovery phase, restorative postures can be performed with support for fast recovery. Naturopathy Treatment Steaming with cabbage leaves: My students swear by this and so do I. Boil water, put few cabbage leaves and steam for 10 minutes. Do this twice a day. Nothing in this world can beat the self-experience of self-experimentation on your own body. It is only then that you learn the niche nuances, become more aware of your body and discover what exactly works, the best, for your body, as each human body is a unique composition.

Face this season’s cold and flu with confidence.

For any query, write to “Ask Shammi” on For other blogs on related subject, check

Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.

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