As the seasons change, the chances of falling sick rise sharply. For the past few weeks here in Barcelona, there must’ve been a surge in Kleenex sales and it’s hard to avoid the spread of germs from other people especially in confined spaces such as the Metro.
What’s a preventative way to keep the pathogens at bay? Well, Yoga… naturally! We can certainly practice yoga to strengthen our defense mechanism and increase immunity levels. Something I’ve been working on recently. Do I notice the difference? Hell yes!
Antibiotics and other medicines do help the body recover from disease but they don’t help improve the body’s immunity. Yoga, perhaps, is one of the most effective and time-tested natural immunity boosters that we can adopt for a healthier life.
Be it seasonal allergies, flu, emotional stress or adrenal strain, a simple pranayama routine or a gentle yoga flow practice can help.
Here are a few simple yoga poses to incorporate into your yoga practice to help you put up a strong resistance:
Child’s pose – Shishuasana is an excellent pose to decongest the chest and build a better immunity defense system.
Bridge pose – The Setu Bandhasana opens the heart and improves blood circulation. It increases energy in the body to help put a better resistance against pathogens.
Plow pose – Halasana is a backward bend that releases white cells in the body and strengthens the immune system.
Cobra pose – Bhujangasana is a chest opening pose which helps release white cells that improve the body’s immunity.
Fish pose – Matsyasana expands the chest and stimulates the thymus. This helps improve the body’s immunity level.
Bow pose – Dhanurasana is yet other pose that improves the flow of white cells by putting pressure on the digestive system.
Yoga and the Lymphatic system:
Lymphatic congestion, a condition in which the lymphatic system fails to drain properly, allowing toxins and cellular waste products to accumulate in the body… No thanks! This is a particular problem for cancer patients who’ve had lymph nodes removed or otherwise damaged in treatment, but you don’t have to have a chronic disease to experience stagnant lymph. Yoga twists and inversions, as well as more vigorous flow practices that incorporate sun salutations and vinyasas, get the lymph moving again, and that alone contributes to restoring your lymphatic system.
For a deeper understanding of the lymphatic system and how yoga can help to drain the lymph, I recommend reading this article.
While yoga (and bodywork) can dramatically improve the flow of lymph, it will be even more effective if you modify your diet to keep all of your body’s systems flowing smoothly. So stay hydrated and do your best to avoid inflammation-causing foods like sugar, red meat, refined carbohydrates, soda and dairy products. Aim to eat more anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods like berries, leafy greens, beets, ginger, turmeric, avocados, fatty fish, coconut and olive oil to name a few.
Remember, the immune system heals and that’s the only thing that heals, so do your best to strengthen it! Whether it’s through yoga, outdoor activities, healthy eating, laughing, or deep breathing exercises.