The Two Best Yoga Poses For When You’re Sick

Sometimes it just happens. You get run down. Or stressed out. Or too emotional. Or your kids come home from daycare with a touch of the we-know-exactly-where-that-came-from. Maybe it’s some combination of these, and you get sick.

When it does happen and you’re down for the count, don’t give up on your yoga practice. Instead try these two restorative poses to get better.  They’re the best for when you’re sick and also work well when you’re exhausted.

1. Supported Plow Pose

This inversion may be prop intensive, but the effects are so worth it. Using props is my preference so I can completely relax and receive the benefits of the pose (listed below). Here’s what you’re looking for: the feet should be overhead with you thighs supported, as if hanging on them, legs roughly parallel to the ground, hips above the shoulders and head curled in to the chest.

If you have challenges with your neck, or just want some freedom there, then you’ll want to elevate your shoulders on a bolster as I’ve done here. (A stack of firm blankets would work, too). This is a less severe angle for the neck and is, frankly, safer. If you elevate your shoulders, you’ll want to elevate the ground you lie on for entrance and exit out of the yoga pose. That’s the second bolster on the far right of the image. Lastly, you need some sort of bench or chair you can rest your legs on, but the most important feature is to be able to slide your head under it. I got this one at Ikea years ago.


  • soothes a sore throat
  • boosts a tired immune system
  • relieves fatigue and feels like a nap
  • drains the lungs and the lymphatics
  • calms the adrenal glands to ease stress and tension

Pro tips

  • Always roll out of plow pose slowly and stay on your back for several minutes before sitting up.
  • Use sparingly if you have a sinus infection, the pressure may be too much when you’re upside down.
  • Ideally you’d stay in the pose for at least five minutes, but if you’re not used to being upside down, use your judgment and back off that duration.




2. Prone Twist

Resting is always good when you’re under the weather. If you can throw in a spinal twist at the same time then even better.  All you need for this one is one long lift, a bolster or a couple stacked pillows, or the cushion off your sofa.

Place the lift lengthwise on the ground and line up your hips with it. Turn towards the lift with your chest, lengthen your spine then lie down on the prop. Legs can be relaxed in any way that feels comfortable. Practice in each direction for at least two minutes per side.


  • balances the nervous system
  • calms the mind
  • opens the ribcage and lungs to allow for deeper breathing
  • soothes the kidneys and adrenals
  • stretches the hips and low back

Pro tips

  • If you turn your head face down, place a pillow under your forehead so you don’t smash your nose.
  • Need a bolster?: Go here My friend Meghan hand-makes all of hers, including the one on top of my bench! And she donates a portion of her sales to several non-profits, including American Cancer Society & the National Museum of the American Indian.