Sitting on BART hearing your fellow riders cough and sneeze can be nerve-racking – especially during the colder months of the year as this indicates the looming and ominous illness we all know as the common flu. There is a longstanding question of why the flu typically appears strongest during winter months and many studies have taken place to test this correlation. The term “influenza” is an Italian word that historians believe to have originated in the mid-18th century as “influenza di freddo” which translates to “influence of the cold.”
There are many theories as to why this virus is so common in the winter time versus other seasons of the year. These include things like lack of abundant sunlight, meaning a deficiency of vitamin D and melatonin which compromises the immune system’s ability to fight off illness, as well as various research explaining that the nature of the virus thrives in colder, drier climates than in warmer, humid ones. Flu season begins roughly around late October, peaks in January and February and can last as long as May in the Northern Hemisphere.
In order to understand this virus and how to prevent it, we must first understand what it is and how it spreads. Influenza is a viral, highly contagious respiratory illness that is easily spread through airborne transmission such as sneezing and coughing, close contact with an infected
person, or by touching a surface where the virus lie present.
So what are some natural, preventative measures we could take to help protect ourselves and others from this chilly and vicious illness? The good news: there are SO many!
Yoga being the amazing life elixir that it is, is one way to ward off this nasty illness. Various poses have physiological effects that strengthen the bodies ability to improve immune, adrenal, and nervous system function and keep us at optimal health.
These include poses like:
● Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall) – this inversion pose helps to increase circulation of lymph fluid throughout the body boosting the immune system;
● Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog) – a go-to pose that allows for circulation and energy boost;
● Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge), Matsyasana (Fish), and Bhujangasana (Cobra) – all of which are heart openers that allow for the decongestion of the lungs and sinuses.
Other tips include:
● Washing your hands with soap and warm water, often and for at least 20 seconds!
● Using a humidifier in your bedroom or house to create a warmer, more humid environment where flu cannot easily spread
● Choosing natural Green Tea as your morning kick instead of coffee so as to keep stress off your adrenal glands
● Get sufficient rest each night (8 hours)
● Stay hydrated! People tend to drink less water during colder times of the year but it is even more crucial to drink plenty of water especially during this time as it helps to keep the bodies organs lubricated and working at their full potential
● Warm lemon water in the morning is a great way to start your day and also helps get your digestion started (plus it tastes yummy!)
● GET A MASSAGE! Research shows that getting a massage regularly can help to fend off sickness (HUZZAH)! As an immune booster, massage helps to lower the production of stress hormones like cortisol and maximize functionality by increasing production of good hormones like serotonin and dopamine leaving you feeling at your best!
Massage is a natural approach to stimulating your lymph system to help maximize functionality and thus decreases your chances of coming down with something nasty! It also boosts oxygen-rich blood flow and lymph circulation throughout your body allowing it to work more effectively and remove toxin build up.
Looking to stay healthy and feel your best? Try out our Intro to Wellness package that includes three 60 minute massages for $249 – $51 of savings and a great way to show yourself some love and care in the winter months!
Rhiannon is a true, wild adventurer pursuing wellness at heart, and a total lover of life. Originally from the Rocky Mountains of Denver, she came to the Bay Area in 2013 to finish her degree in Psychology and feed her hunger for exploration. She is on a journey pursuing Yoga Therapy and has recently completed trainings with the Art of Yoga Project based in the greater Bay Area, and her RYT-200 hour certification in Yoga Therapy and Alignment in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Her passion for the world of wellness is something that is deeply rooted in her everyday endeavors and something she wishes to share with her community and the world! Time well spent to her means practicing and teaching yoga, meditating, writing, snuggling her kitties, cooking yummy, healthy food, dancing, backpacking, rock climbing, and traveling. To learn more about her journey, and for some fun inspiration, follow her on instagram @truewildwell!