Should I go to class when I'm sick?
"Should I go to yoga when I'm sick?"
It's a question I hear from many dedicated yogis who don't want to miss their practice. Besides, couldn't there be some benefit to moving and stretching to support healing?
The not-so-simple answer: sometimes.
There are two times when you absolutely should not attend a class when you're sick: first, if you know you're contagious, do your fellow yogis (and citizens) a favor and stay home.
Second, if you have a fever or are on pain relieving medication (even OTC) to help you feel functional, you aren't able to accurately assess your body's needs and abilities in the practice and are more likely to hurt yourself. You're better off resting, and doing some gentle stretching at home. Emphasis on gentle.
When SHOULD you practice, and how?
It's true that moving the body will help drain the lymph system, sweating will help remove toxins, and many yogis report feeling better after a class. Choose something *fairly* mellow that won't tempt you to push beyond your ability and strength -- that will only make you feel worse. If you are recovering and still feeling weak, choose restorative or gentle practices that will ease you back into your practice.
Got a lot of phlegm? (Ewwww) A stronger practice will help you loosen it up. Just be prepared to blow your nose or.. ahem.. spit. (I'll let you figure out how to navigate that...) Be aware that the students around you may have varying levels of comfort with your processing, and be conscientious.
When in doubt.... see the image above. Stay healthy this season, yogis.