ZiZi is home from school again today. I know, I know…you saw her miraculous recovery on our Facebook page yesterday, so what happened?
Well…it seemed like she was feeling like her old self last night, but she woke up this morning feeling awful again, and couldn’t pull herself together to make it to school. So, she’s back on green juice and yoga, until further notice. Her energy seems better this afternoon, than it did at 7 AM, so I am hoping to put her on the bus tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
It strikes me, though, that her sick days are so much different than mine were, when I was a kid. My parents told me to “rest up” and “wait it out” when I was sick. As a result, I grew up thinking that I was powerless against colds and viruses.
So, I’d park myself on the couch, with a box of tissues, a bowl of soup, and Brady Bunch reruns. And I’d wait. And wait. And wait. Eventually, I would feel better, but it seemed to take forever, and I felt like such a victim.
Yoga changed that for me. The more I learned about this ancient healing practice, the more I realized that if I “yoga up” and “stretch it out ” when I am sick, I can reclaim some of my energy, and I feel better faster.
Why? Because yogic breathing and postures of naturally expedite the healing process. When we increase our heart rate and respiration, it stimulates the lymphatic system, which is responsible for destroying disease-causing organisms.
Our circulatory and respiratory systems work automatically, but the lymphatic system needs a “push” to do it’s job. It relies on us, instead of vice versa. When we move, stretch, and twist, we stimulate the movement of fluid through our lymphatic vessels. As this fluid moves through our body, it picks up viruses and other disease-causing organisms, and delivers them to the lymph nodes, where they are destroyed.
This is why I always practice yoga when I am sick. I think of my lymph nodes as my partners in fighting disease, and I want them to be happy! I tend to them the way I tend to my children, with awareness, intention, and gratitude. I use yoga poses and breathing for prevention, as well as medicine, all the time, and especially when I am ill.
It might seem like yoga is the last thing you want to do when you are sick, but believe me when I say it will always make you feel better! ZiZi’s response yesterday is the perfect example. Twenty minutes of sun salutations shifted her energy dramatically…so much, that she was begging me to do handstands with her, and she was actually smiling for the first time all day.
Our lymphatic fluid stagnates when we stop moving, so I think that’s why she felt bad again, after sleeping all night, but she was definitely better today than yesterday morning, and she seems like a new kid this afternoon.
It may not be a miracle cure, but yoga does help releive discomfort associated with colds and viruses, and can expedite the healing process. Perhaps most importantly, it teaches us that getting sick does not have to be a deal breaker. We have more control over how we feel than we think, and we can still enjoy the holidays despite a cold or virus, if we commit to “yoga up ” and “stretch it out”.