How to Practice Yoga When You're Sick

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Look, there's so much water around us in this blog post. It's wonderful and ironic at the same damn time (which I'll explain later).

By the time you read this, I will have left Manresa, Spain and the Rogue Yogi Re:Treat will have kicked off in Granada, Spain! Are you following all of the buzz in the FB group? We've got amazing students from the US and the UK joining in on a lot of tapas, wine, yoga and delicious history in the Andalucian mountains! (See all the excitement from the community here)

You know, it's been really amazing traveling to several countries over the past few months. Vietnam with its delicious and exotic cuisines. Cambodia with its pristine and undeveloped islands. Qatar with its vigorous daily reminder on the loudspeaker to pray (5 times a day to be exact). 

While the views were eye-opening, we did have to go through the initiation process known as the mosquitos, the sand flies, the humidity and the water system! Only bottled water to drink, to cook with, to brush our teeth with! 

That's right. No using the sink water to rinse or brush your teeth with. (Makes us really appreciate the water treatment system in the US.)

This was the advice given to us by the Travel Clinic in SF about South East Asia and India. 

Diligent and on point, we did just that. By the time we got to Qatar, we thought we could finally rinse our toothbrushes with their sink water.

No. Not drinkable. Not even in Qatar. 

Oh, ok. Cool. No problem. Stick with the water bottles. At least there's no more mosquitos and humidity to deal with!

"Can't wait to get to Spain!" I told the Mongorrian (aka my husband who isn't Mongolian at all). Thoughts of finally being away from the mosquitos, the humidity, the restrictive society of Qatar, and the water bottle living just painted the clouds we saw through the airplane window as we flew to Spain. 

Don't ask me why I didn't do the research on Spain's water system. Or why I assumed that it'd be ok to rinse my toothbrush with the airbnb's sink water in Manresa. 

Being sick/Dealing with allergies is not ok. It is not ok at all. Headaches every single day. Dry coughs. Red eyes. Lack of energy. No, none of this sounds great while traveling. Being sick sucks. 

So, let's answer the question, "Can you practice yoga while being sick?"

So, let’s answer the question, “Can you practice yoga while being sick?”

Knowing that many of my yoga sessions at the Rogue Yogi Retreat were going to consist of Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Yoga Nidra, I put the experience to the test. What would it be like to practice these forms of yoga while the body was not feeling so great? 

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Many times, people think about Power Yoga, Sweat-Inducing Vinyasa Flows, Inversions and the whole strength-building aspect of Yoga. So, when one is sick, it's natural to feel like there's no way to practice any of that. But, how often do we remember that there's so many other ways to take care of our muscles and connective tissues while they're aching? Wouldn't these other ways be great for the mind, too? After all, the best way to keep the mind calm is to have the body be in a state of relaxation. 

Honestly, as much as it felt like shit to walk around, the practice on the mat was so nourishing. SO therapeutic. My body and limbs felt so happy to be still yet be massaged this way. I didn't realize just how much my connective tissues (especially around the hips) were tightening up from the stress of being sick. Resting on piles of pillows for 5 minutes at a time felt amazing. The Yin sessions were a bit challenging as I didn't realize that my feet were clenching from feeling sick. It was so great to apply just enough stress so they could counter all of the gripping from all of the traveling.

This surely wasn't yoga? But, it was! It was legit yoga! 

The best part was listening to a 45-minute Yoga Nidra recording by Julie Rader. Allowing the mind to focus on each and every body part allowed everything to relax even deeper. Savasana was so fucking juicy. Especially with a blanket. Imagine if I just laid in fetal position all day? These gentle and restorative yoga sessions were so beneficial. I can't wait to share these sequences with my students at the yoga retreat. 

It's funny how I used to judge myself for considering practicing yoga with a chair, or to do "old people yoga". It's definitely not old people yoga. It's all people yoga when you need it the most. 

Check back for the exact sequences I used to take care of my body, so you can take care of yours.

Note: Thank goodness for the health insurance we got last year when we thought we were going to live in Barcelona for a year. Thank goodness for the company not cancelling the policy and refunding it when we asked them to. Thank *insert your favorite person to thank* for the insurance covering the ER bill completely and most of the medicine costs. We ended up paying only 8 euros for this. 

Another Note: Sometimes you can't control situations. Actually, you can never control situations. Being attached to how something's supposed to look or flow is a recipe for stress. Maybe being sick was the best thing that happened for me, as it has humbled me even further and forced me to let go of having to be perfect for this retreat. One thing's for sure, it's allowed me to receive so much love from my students. This is just all part of the retreat experience--going with the flow, the unforeseeable circumstances, remaining grateful and taking all the valuable lessons that come along with it.