As the Seasons Change, Be Prepared

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana

Chair backbend – great for your lungs and respiration

 Winter is Coming!

Down Under we’ve gone off daylight savings, and the weather has turned chilly. I’ve started to think of the ways I need to prepare for the coming winter. I’ll be putting away those short shorts and sarongs and bringing on the jumpers. But I’m not quite ready to order our winter’s supply of firewood.

Meanwhile, my doctor has reminded me that this season’s flu vaccine is going to be available soon.

At my age, I’m in one of the ‘at risk’ categories for flu. This is the group of people whom the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends should be vaccinated against influenza:

  • people aged 65 years and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years of age and over
  • anyone over 6 months of age with any of the following chronic illnesses:
    • heart conditions
    • lung/respiratory conditions, such as asthma
    • diabetes (and other chronic metabolic diseases)
    • kidney disease
    • impaired immunity
    • chronic neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis and seizure disorders
  • pregnant women
  • residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

I used to smile politely and nod my head when my doctor advised me to get the jab. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve actually been vaccinated. I figured, why not? I trust my doctor.

It’s also relevant that Australia records many deaths from influenza annually – between 1500 and 3500. 

Has the vaccine worked for me? Hard to say for sure what’s protected me – yoga practice, good diet, happy lifestyle? The fact is, though, I haven’t had the flu in years.

Colds and Flu Sequence

If you choose not to get a flu injection, you might want to add the following sequence to your repertoire. It’s a program that helps strengthen your immune system and eases the symptoms of a common cold or the flu.

The sequence is a “download” from The Path to Holistic Health by BKS Iyengar and comprises poses for treating respiratory ailments and boosting your immune system a boost.

This is my go-to sequence for self-nurturence. It may not cure an illness but you’re likely to feel better after doing the program. The shoulderstand (sarvangasana) and plough (halasana) poses are especially good for draining nasal congestion.

If you are cold-free at the moment, that’s great. I hope you manage to escape winter or summer seasons without a flu or cold. But just in case….

Be warned. You’ll need to every yoga prop you can get your hands on. These aids are the very things that can make a practice nurturing. The timings for the poses are recommendations, but always, always listen to your body’s needs.

The Poses:

Uttanasana, head supported on blocks or chair, 1 – 2 minutes

Prasarita Padottanasana, head on blocks, chair or bolster, 1 -2 minutes

Adho Mukha Svanasana, blocks support hands, a block for forehead, 1 – 2  minutes

A.M.S., as above, but with a bolster support for forehead, 1 -2  minutes

Sirsasana, wall, 1-3 minutes

Viparita Dandasana, 2 chairs, one for legs and feet, the other for lying back over, rolled towel under lumbar, mat on edge of chair, folded blanket & bolster support head, and yoga belt to bind legs, 1 minute

As above, with one chair, wall, rolled towel, folded blanket, bolster, legs straight and feet at wall skirting board – 1 minute

Supta Baddha Konasana, bolster, blanket, yoga belt, 2 blocks, 5-10 minutes

Supta Virasana, bolster, folded blanket, 5-10 minutes

Setubhandasana, supported on 4 bolsters, belt for legs, 5-8 minutes

Halasana, two chairs, two bolsters, blanket, 3 min. Shoulders rest on bolster, legs on bolster on chair. Second chair is for Sarvangasana so you can go from one to the other pose.

Sarvangasana, chair, bolster, 5 minutes

Repeat Halasana

Setubhandasana, as above, 5-8 minutes 

Viparita Karani, wall, 2 bolsters, block, belt, 5-8 minutes

Viloma 2 Breathing, chest supported on bolster, head/neck on blanket, eye covering, 20 cycles

Savasana, bolster & blanket, 5-10 minutes

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