Achoo! Gentle Yoga Practice for When You Have the Sniffles

woman savasana yoga

Getting back into the swing of things after the holidays or travel (or just dealing with life) sometimes lends itself to a case of the common cold. You know what it’s like: foggy head, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, dry eyes, general feeling of malaise. And before long, you sound just like Kermit the Frog!

Rest, hydration, and time are often the best remedies for the common cold. But if you’re feeling well enough to move around, try this yoga asana sequence, even when you have the sniffles.

Before you begin, make yourself a cup of tea and take a hot shower or bath.

Essential Oils

Essential oils will help clear the nasal passage and allow you to breathe a bit clearer.

  • Find a few essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, menthol, and camphor.
  • Find a comfortable seat and waft a bottle under your nose several times before and during your practice as needed. Enjoy a few deep breaths of the oils.

Intention Setting


Setting an intention before you practice will set the tone for your practice and your healing.

Sit quietly and set an intention for your practice. For example, you may set an intention of clarity, detoxification, wellness, health, or any positive word that resonates with you.

Neck Stretches


These stretches can help relieve neck and shoulder tenderness that may build up as you cough, rest, or sleep during healing. Do only as much as your body feels is OK and allows. If breathing is challenging, try these for just a few moments and use the essential oils.

  • Make sure you are seated comfortably on your knees or with your legs crossed.
  • Begin to move your head and neck.
  • Inhale, roll your right ear toward your right shoulder.
  • Exhale, roll your chin to your chest.
  • Inhale, roll your left ear to your left shoulder.
  • Exhale, roll your chin to your chest.
  • Continue for several rounds of breath. Option: Make a full circle if it feels okay for the neck and throat.



This self-massage can also help to relieve any neck and shoulder tenderness from coughing, resting, or sleeping during healing. Allow your hands to find the sore spots and open up areas that feel blocked.

  • Extend your arms to your sides as if you are reaching your arms out for a hug.
  • Reach around your shoulders and begin a self-shoulder massage: Hug yourself, massage your neck, tug on your ears in all directions, press on your temples, tap on your forehead, run your fingers down the bridge of your nose, and pinch your cheeks lightly.
  • Continue with any other intuitive massage techniques.

Table Top Pose (Bharmanasana)


The flowing spinal movements between Cow to Cat Pose will help to release tightness built up in the joints and muscles as your body heals from a cold.

  • When you are ready, come to your hands and knees in Table Top position.
  • Align your shoulders over your wrists and your knees under your hips.
  • Inhale, arch your back, open your chest, and tilt your up.
  • Exhale, round your back, push into your palms, and tilt your tail down.
  • Repeat for several rounds, holding any poses that feel especially good.

Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svānāsana)


Downward-Facing Dog Pose can help clear the sinuses, bringing energy to the head and respiratory area. You may only wish to hold for a few moments as the pressure will certainly build in your head, nose, and eyes.

  • Transition from your knees to Downward-Facing Dog Pose for a few breaths (lift your knees to create an upside down “V” with your body).
  • Hold for a few breaths.

Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana)


This forward-folding pose can help relieve tightness in the neck, shoulders, and back. You may only wish to hold for a few moments, as the pressure may build in your head, nose, and eyes.

  • Walk your feet forward into an easy standing forward fold with your knees slightly bent.
  • Allow your arms to hang heavy and shake out your head yes and no.
  • Hold for a few breaths.
  • As you come upright, allow the fluid to drain from your nose.

Garland Pose (Malasana)


This squatting pose can help relieve tension and tightness in the hips, low back, groin, and pelvis.

  • Come to stand with your feet as wide as your mat.
  • Turn your toes out and your heels slightly inward.
  • Bend your knees and squat down into Malasana Pose, yogi squat. Inhale here.
  • As your exhale, turn your toes in, straighten your legs, and fold forward.
  • Inhale, bend your knees, turn your toes out, and squat back down into Malasana Pose.
  • Repeat that sequence of squatting and folding forward several times. End in the squat.

Lion’s Breath


This playful pranayama technique symbolizes release and letting go as well as physically clears the throat and stretches the facial muscles.

  • Take a seat.
  • Inhale, scrunch up your face, including your eyes, ears, mouth.
  • As you exhale, open your eyes and stick out your tongue. Lion’s Breath!
  • Repeat three times as a symbol of releasing the stuffiness and sniffles.


Meditation will help to integrate all of the poses and practice into your healing.


Stay in a comfortable seat and enjoy a short-seated meditation. Use the essential oils to continue to clear your nose and throat as you transition back into your day.

If your nose is stuffed and you’ve got some sniffles, make sure to rest and drink tons of tea and water. If you’re feeling well enough to move around, hopefully this movement will stimulate circulation, relieve inflammation, and create an overall sense of well-being. Happy healing!

Learn the 7 Spiritual Laws of Yoga, our signature form of yoga that stimulates profound healing in every aspect of your being at Seduction of Spirit, our six-day meditation and yoga retreat led by Deepak Chopra. Learn More.

Chopra's signature Renew & Restore Detox Kit

Renew & Restore Detox Kit

The Chopra Renew & Restore Detox Kit is a gentle and effective 7-Day cleanse rooted in the wisdom of Ayurveda and backed by science. Inspired by our world-class Chopra Health Retreat, this kit includes all the ingredients and guided rituals you need to:
  • Clear away brain fog
  • Ignite your digestive fire
  • Rev up your energy
Purchase Today