Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Restorative yoga: A series for compromised immunity

Stress compromises your immune system. Here is a series to do when your immune system is compromised, or you are stressed out.

I use it successfully to cope with minor stress. Things like: I can’t go to yoga class because I have a cold. Or, the family visits over the holidays. Or the car dies on the way home and needs a $100 tow and a $500 repair.

Caution: (Yes, this is a real caution. I learned this the hard way by doing the poses without proper instruction and injuring myself.)
- First: find a local Iyengar teacher and learn how to do these moves properly. 
- Second: take a list of these moves to your doctor (along with copies of pictures from this book) and get your docs OK before you do these moves.

Yes, you can injure yourself doing yoga if you don't know what you are doing, or if you over-do it. A good teacher will show you how to do each move safely, and what props to use, given your physical condition and your age. If you can't find a good yoga teacher (a surprisingly common problem), the next best resource is the book, B.K.S Iyengar: Guide to Holistic Health. It explains each move with detailed pictures and text, and shows how to use props like bolsters, blankets and straps.

Here is the sequence. I found this sequence to be very effective when I was dealing with a recurring flu infection. I have not included links or photos deliberately. If you don't know how to do these already, find a teacher and show him or her the list. A qualified teacher will show you how to do the moves safely, and may tell you to skip some of them.
1.     Viparaita Karani
Legs up the wall with two blankets under sacrum. (This is the most important asana of the twelve.)
2.     Supta baddha Konsana
Two long blankets with one in thirds.
Reclining, soles of feet together, back supported. 
3.     Supta virasana
Legs in virasana, lying back on a support.
Reclining hero pose.
4.     Supta padmasana
SI stretch. 3-5 minutes each side. Use support behind your back. neck and/or under your legs as necessary. If full padmasana position is not possible, put your legs in a half-lotus.
5.     Supta Padangusthasana
Legs long, spine long, arms long
6.     Supported shoulder stand with a chair
Do NOT do this one until you find a qualified teacher to show you how to do it properly, and you get clearance from your doctor.
7.     Supported plough
Do NOT do this one until you find a qualified teacher to show you how to do it properly, and you get clearance from your doctor.
8.     Setubandha Sarvangasana
Block under sacrum
9.     Supported purvottanasana
10.  Prasarita padottanasana
11.  Adho Mukha paschimottanasana
(seated on chair)
Seated forward fold while sitting on a chair
12.  Adho mukha marichyasna 1
(as twist from front of chair)
Twist while sitting on a chair

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