Did you know that there are poses in yoga for recovery from illness? There are specific forms of yoga for anxiety, yoga for menstrual pain, and yoga for sore muscles, to name a few.
The beauty of yoga is that there are so many options based on what you need, and that includes times when you’re recovering from an illness.
Yoga can be a helpful complement to more traditional tools when you’re on the mend and recovering from illness. Once you are ready to start moving your body, it’s best to take it slow and incorporate gentle movements to begin with.
This yoga sequence is designed to help you get back to movement once you feel ready. Be sure to consult your healthcare professional if you’re unsure of whether you are ready to start practicing.
Yoga for Recovery From Illness: Practice These 11 Poses
While you’re on the mend, some yoga poses may feel really great while others might not. So listen to your own body and follow its natural cues to skip whichever poses don’t feel great and linger for a bit longer in the postures that feel helpful.
1. Cat-CowWhen we’re sick, we tend to spend all our time laying down in bed. So this gentle spine warm-up can work wonders to get blood and other fluids circulating once you feel better and ready to start moving your body.
- Start on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees
- On an inhale, soften your belly toward the floor, draw your shoulder blades together, and lift your gaze
- On an exhale, press against your palms, draw your navel in and up, round your back, draw your shoulder blades apart, and gaze toward your belly button
- Continue to flow back and forth between these two shapes, following your own breath for as long as you’d like
2. Child’s Pose VariationWhen it comes to yoga poses to help you recover from illness, nothing really beats a nice, relaxing Child’s Pose.
- From all fours, place blocks on their lowest height setting underneath your hands
- Bring your toes to touch and release the weight of your hips back to rest over your heels
- Feel free to place any props (like blankets or pillows) between your seat and your heels or underneath your forehead as you relax the weight of your upper body toward the floor
- Hold and relax here for as long as you’d like
3. Downward Facing DogWhen practicing yoga for recovery from illness, only you will know exactly how you feel. If you’re still having sinus issues, headaches, or otherwise, going upside down might not feel great.
So only move on to this posture if your symptoms have already started to dissipate. If Down Dog doesn’t feel great for you, then simply stay in Child’s Pose a bit longer (you’re welcome). 🙂
- Return back to all fours and remove the blocks from underneath you
- Walk your hands forward about one palms-distance
- Tuck your toes underneath and lift your knees off the floor
- Stretch your sitting bones toward the sky to create an upside down V shape with your body
- Relax the weight of your head and neck
- Option to bend your knees as much as you’d like
- Pause and hold here for a few deep breaths
4. Half Sun Salutations
Again, only you can decide what feels good when it comes to practicing yoga to recover from illness. The poses in a half Sun Salutation may help re-energize you, but you may choose to skip Half Sun Salutations if going up and down bothers you.
- Come to stand at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose
- As you inhale, reach your arms up over your head
- As you exhale, hinge from your hips and fold forward over your legs
- On your next inhale, sweep your arms out and up overhead as you lift the weight of your torso back up to stand
- Repeat this Half Sun Salutation as many times as feels good
5. Seated Wide-Legged Forward FoldThese gentle forward folds can help release any aches and tension that may be lingering in your body.
- Come to sit down on your mat facing its long edge. You may wish to elevate your hips by sitting onto a block, pillow, or blanket
- Reach your legs out to the corners of your mat into a wide V shape. You may wish to bend your knees
- Slowly start to fold your torso forward between your legs
- Hold here for as long as you’d like
6. Low Lunge to Lizard PoseWhen you practice yoga to recover from illness, you may also want to focus on some gentle hip openers like Low Lunge and Lizard Pose.
- Rise back up to all fours
- Step your right foot forward between your hands
- Option to stay as you are or slide your left knee back down your mat
- Relax the weight of your hips toward the floor as you simultaneously lengthen the crown of your head toward the sky
- Option to stay as you are or place both hands on the inside of your right foot and then slide your right foot toward the right side of your mat
- Option to lower your forearms to props or the floor as you melt the weight of your hips downward
- Stay and hold for as long as it feels good before switching sides
7. Butterfly PoseGrab your yoga block again for this supported version of Butterfly.
- Come back to sit on your mat. Option to elevate your hips
- Draw the soles of your feet to touch and open your knees out wide into a diamond shape
- Draw your heels as close toward your pelvis as you’d like
- Soften the weight of your torso toward the floor and release your forehead to rest on top of a block on any height setting that feels good for you
- Surrender your weight down and hold for as long as you’d like
8. Supported Bridge PoseThis gentle inversion can help relax your entire body to aid in your recovery. Bridge Pose targets the glutes and low back, but in the supported version, it focuses on a feel-good lower back release.
- Come to lie down on your back with a block nearby
- Bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor roughly hip-distance apart
- Root down evenly into your feet and your shoulders to lift your hips off the floor
- Slide your block underneath your pelvis and rest the weight of your hips onto the block
- Soften your whole body into this shape for as long as you’d like
9. Reclined TwistSurrender even deeper into your sequence with this gentle supine twist.
- Remove the block from underneath you and come to lie down on your back again
- Draw both knees into your chest and then open your arms out wide into a T shape in line with your shoulders
- Release your knees over toward the left side of your mat and rest them either onto props or the floor
- Soften the weight of both your shoulders toward the mat and turn your head in any direction that feels comfortable
- Hold for as long as you’d like before switching sides
10. Happy BabyGently open your hips some more with this simple posture. Many people enjoy rocking side to side to massage the lower back, which can feel pleasant and comforting when you’re just returning to movement after an illness.
- Return to lie down on your back and again draw your knees into your chest and catch hold behind your knees
- Open your knees out wide and draw them down toward your armpits
- Option to stay as you are, or keep your knees bent deeply and stretch the soles of your feet toward the sky
- Option to stay holding behind your knees or slide your hands up to hold your calves, ankles, or feet
- Soften the weight of your pelvis toward the mat
- Hold for as long as you’d like
11. Legs Up the WallRound out your yoga for recovery from illness practice with this gentle and relaxing inversion often referred to as the king of stress-relieving postures.
- Come to find some clear wall space and sit with your right hip next to the wall
- Bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor
- Take your hands behind you and lean your weight into your arms so you can lift your feet off the floor
- Pivot on your seat to turn to face toward the wall and slide your feet up it
- Slowly walk your hands back behind you and lower the weight of your torso onto the mat
- Option to wiggle your seat in closer toward the wall
- Soften into this shape for as long as you’d like
Practice Yoga for Recovery From Illness With “On the Mend”
With Ashton August
After spending a lot of time in bed when you’re ill, your body craves gentle movement as you start to mend. Join Ashton August in this Hatha Yoga-style practice to introduce gentle movements and stretches back into your body after time spent being sick.
On the Mend on YA Classes encourages your body to restore and renew with this sequence of low-impact yoga poses strung together in an easeful, slow flow. Let this simple practice start to boost your immunity, open your chest and sinuses, and allow your body to return to a state of well-being.
Release tension and create space in this gentle flow to allow your body and mind to return back to a state of simply feeling better.
All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.