Cold or flu got you down? Here is a short and sweet little sick day flow for those times that you are unable to carry on normal physical activity levels but are still in need of some movement in the body. This sequence is easy on the sinuses, and it gently incorporates all kinds of movement through the spine. As always, listen to your body, and give yourself permission to rest whenever rest is due.
1. Neck Stretch. Sit in Sukhasana, or a simple cross legged seat. Slowly and gently, roll the head in circles to one direction, repeatedly. Take it slowly, noticing where you are tight and consciously trying to release that tension. Reverse the direction.
2. Seated Cat/Cow. With hands on knees, take a big breath in and pull the heart through the shoulders, extending the spine and dropping the head back to open up the throat. As you exhale, round through the spine, tucking the chin into the chest. Repeat for several breath cycles.
3. Seated Side Stretch. Still sitting in Sukhasana (or any comfortable seat that may work better for you), place your left hand on the mat by your left hip and reach your right arm up and over to the left. Maximize the stretch in the right side body by keeping the right arm plugged into the right ear so as not to close off the front body, and also by staying grounded through the right sit bone. Repeat on the other side.
4. Seated Heart Opener. Sitting in Sukhasana, clasp your hands together behind your back and gently pull them out and away from the lower back. Take your gaze upward if it’s comfortable for the neck. Hold for several breaths.
5. Sphinx Pose. Lying all the way down on your belly, stretch the legs out behind you and start to come up onto the forearms, stacking the shoulders directly over the elbows and bringing the forearms parallel to each other. Inhale the torso up off the mat, keeping wrinkles out of the back of the neck so that the neck stays in line with the rest of the spine. Treat this as a passive pose, or make it a little more active by pressing firmly through the fingertips to pull the heart forward even more. Hold for several breaths.
6. Supported Child’s Pose. From hands and knees, shift the hips back toward the heels, keeping the knees together or taking them mat-width apart (yogi’s choice). Let the torso drape down over the thighs and rest the forehead on a block at its highest position. Rest the arms back by sides or clasp hands around the block. Stay here for several breaths.
7. Supine Spinal Twist. Lie all the way down on your back. Hug the knees into the chest, then allow the arms to come out to the sides of the body in a T shape. Take a big breath in here, and as you exhale, allow the knees to gently fall down to the left side of your body, taking the gaze over the right fingertips if comfortable for the neck. Hold for several breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
8. Legs up the Wall. Bring your seat as close to the wall as possible, and then begin to lie on your back, sending your legs straight up the wall. Simple as that. Stay here for as long as you like.