February 1, 2014

Real Yogis Get the Flu & the Flu Shot. ~ Michelle Marchildon

Source: via Jil on Pinterest

I feel a certain amount of yogi-shaming that I have gotten the flu.

In addition to having fever, chills, aches, sweats, congestion, headache and overall disgustingness, I am deeply embarrassed. That’s because if I had consumed enough green drinks, or meditated more, this wouldn’t have happened to me.

Even though yoga is not supposed to be competitive, of course it is. We see the Instagram photos of the uber-yogic-yogis drinking green drinks and eating their nuts and berries. It is supposed to be inspiring, but some of us feel like schmucks.

I could do better with my diet. I am gluten-free, drink green drinks and eat healthy food. I am almost vegan—and by that I mean I eat a little bit of farm-raised, grass-fed, antibiotic-free animal protein.

However, I also drink vodka, eat Swedish fish and swallow enough Splenda to kill a Green Bay Packer.

Furthermore, if you practice Hot Yoga of any kind, Bikram or Power, you are not supposed to get sick. That’s what everyone says. I even take supplements and inhale essential oils.

I do all that stuff to thrive—but then I took a dive.

Therefore, when I got the flu, I was afraid. I knew it would cost me readers, respect, and of course, my students who are looking for a real yoga teacher.

Because real yogis don’t get the flu!

Now, and I know this is controversial, I have decided to get a flu shot.


Yes. I said it. You know I’m not afraid of controversy. I’ve written about kale and gluten. I’ve written about bad girl behavior, which apparently happens everywhere except in Denver.

I’ve written about the bad boy behavior of our gurus. I’ve written about rape in India and the Republicans in the U.S., and I have no idea why I put those two things in a single sentence but I might still be feverish. I have written about gun control and abortion. I even wrote about, gasp, what to wear to practice yoga.

Now I am venturing into the fray by saying that I am getting a flu shot. After this, I may go into witness protection.

I know that there is some evidence that the flu shot may be bad for you. It has mercury in it, but probably not as much as the tuna I’ve eaten. It costs around $25 in my area. And the last time I had it, in 2008, it made my arm hurt. A lot. I couldn’t do Crow Pose for six months.

On the other hand, this flu was really freaking bad. In fact, 45 people have died from it so far, and one was described as a very nice middle-aged woman with a great sense of humor. That could have been me!

I lost work from this [email protected]#king flu. My husband and teenage children are shunning me even more than usual. My girlfriend came to visit and I had to hug her knees! So I bought Tamiflu to fight it, which costs around $250.

Now I am out $250, which in yoga-dollars is like an entire year’s pay. I am still sick, and I am ashamed. This little yogi cannot win, so I give up.

Crucify me if you will, but I’m getting the flu shot.

It has to be better than this hell I’ve been through with the flu.


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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives

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Leigh Feb 4, 2014 10:09am

I don't judge you for getting a flu shot. I just wish people would refrain from advocating the vaccine unless they have done some research into its safety and efficacy. It's my belief that anyone who understands the truth about this particular vaccine would decline it. Recent legitimate scientific studies demonstrate several things: it offers only "modest" protection, vaccinated people are more likely to contract one of the other 200 respiratory viruses that circulate (this is why people contend that the flu shot makes them sick), no studies have demonstrated that vaccination decreases the chance of hospitalization (despite claims that it lessens illness severity), and there are real, serious risks associated with it (Guillan-Barre syndrome, death, and fetal demise–it's safety has not actually been tested in pregnant women). Furthermore, the real risk of serious consequences from the flu is overblown. There are multiple studies from medical journals to back up everything I'm saying here.

Han Feb 3, 2014 7:04am

Let's get well soon. Coz right at this moment, I am also sick. Maybe I shouldn't have done my 2 hour yoga class on saturday while I was sick. Get the flu shot! in Yoga you are not supposed to be judgemental. so here I am NOT judging you. xoxo

Kat Feb 1, 2014 11:15am

Now I am out $250, which in yoga-dollars is like an entire year’s pay. – brilliant!!! I laughed so hard 🙂

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Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at www.YogiMuse.com. And you can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com.