Should you go to your yoga class when sick?
(This was written years before COVID.)
Living with colds, flus, strep throat and bronchitis during the winter period in northern Europe is a common experience, and generally people continue on with their daily activities unaware of the potential hazards that they may pose to others with suppressed immune systems and weak lungs.
We ask you to use the cancellation and replacement system when you are sick to avoid the risk of contagion. Even with a simple cold, coughing and sneezing produce airborne pathogens that leave those on the mat next to you and your teachers at risk. Many people believe that they are only contagious during the first few days of an illness, but in fact one remains contagious as long as one is symptomatic, even while on antibiotics.
While you may be able to weather an illness with little effect in your daily life and others may be able to withstand the airborne pathogens in your coughing and sneezing, those with a less robust immune response or with weak lungs may fall much more violently ill with a more difficult path to recovery.
By using the cancellation and replacement system when sick, you will still get the full value of your term registration without putting others in harm’s way.
Differentiating between chronic and acute bronchitis
There are two types of bronchitis: chronic and acute. Chronic bronchitis results from bronchial tube inflammation due to inhaled irritants and is not contagious. Those with chronic bronchitis with a non-productive cough are welcome to come to class in this condition.
Acute bronchitis is contagious, and, in 90% of cases, is caused by a viral infection. It cannot be treated with antibiotics and is most contagious within the first few days of symptoms but continues to be contagious as long as one remains symptomatic with airborne pathogens coughed or sneezed into the air.
While acute bronchitis is likely to have a viral origin which some may be able to shake off in a few days. For those with a suppressed immune system or weak lungs, it can easily progress into a bacterial infection with a productive cough requiring a long course of antibiotics.
Allergic reactions of coughing and sneezing from an overactive immune system are not contagious, and you are welcome to come to class in this condition.
Should I practice at home when sick?
Yoga is more than just asana practice and can be practiced 24/7. That said, as for practicing asanas while sick, use the following rule of thumb: practice to the point where you feel it balancing and increasing your energy rather than depleting it. A light, easy practice can stimulate the circulatory, lymphatic and respiratory systems facilitating the release of toxins, boost the immune response and assist the parasympathetic nervous system which counters the effects of stress and aids in rest and anabolic processes.
Source material: on bronchitis