There’s nothing new to report in this post, but it does serve as a wake-up call considering the ‘current situation’. While we can’t eliminate all threats to the community, we can take preventative steps to minimize risk. You know by now that personal hygiene and avoiding close contact are two of them. But did you know that yoga practice provides a gentle, natural means of supporting the immune system on a day-to-day basis? Now is as good a time as any to take action and choose a healthy lifestyle.
Although there’s still too much we don’t know to make decisions about how COVID-19 will or won’t transmit, we can at least consider being extra cautious about boosting our immune systems. Along with this wake-up call has come fear, panic, anxiety, and stress… all commonly touted reasons to start/continue practicing yoga!
Yoga for Immunity
Regular yoga asana practice helps lower stress hormones that compromise the immune system, while also conditioning the lungs, stimulating the lymphatic system to better oust toxins from the body, and bringing oxygenated blood to the various organs to ensure their optimal function. Yoga works on everything – mental and physical!
‘Yoga for immunity’ is a thing. A consistent yoga practice along with certain poses in particular can help to support the immune system. An article from the International Journal of Yoga found that, “Yoga resists the autonomic changes and impairment of cellular immunity seen in examination stress.”
If you are in good health, why not consider strategies to optimise your immune system? Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when stress is reduced. Here are some healthy-living strategies to reduce stress and boost your immunity:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a diet high in antioxidants, vitamins & minerals
- Get adequate sleep
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
- Laugh more!
- Do yoga!
In other words, yoga helps keep you and your cells healthy even when you’re stressed. And while yoga as a whole supports optimal wellness in our minds and bodies, there are certain yoga poses for immunity that can help if you’re feeling exhausted, sick, or simply looking for a healthy dose of prevention.
Try these yoga poses:
Spinal twists such as Half Lord of the Fishes (demo vid below) gently compress, twist, or stimulate the stomach and can help with some digestive issues. Digestive problems can cause a build up of toxins. Our gut is the major channel between the external environment and the internal systems of our body so yes, the digestive system is connected to your immune system.
Chest opening poses can help open up and relieve congestion in the lungs and reduce stress through diaphragmatic breathing. Supported Fish Pose is one of the best poses to access a deep diaphragmatic breath, and helps balance an agitated nervous system. Other great chest-opening poses include: Upward-Facing Dog, Bow Pose and Bridge or Wheel Pose.
Inversion poses & Forward bends such as Standing Forward Bend and Downward-Facing Dog, bring blood flow to the sinuses, which can help ease congestion. Sinuses and our mucus membranes are our body’s first line of defense against infection, so keeping them healthy can boost immunity. Legs Up the Wall pose is one of the most relaxing inversions for your whole body. It allows lymph drainage, blood circulation, releases pressure from your back, and helps you feel grounded, so in turn your nervous system can completely relax and reset.
Yoga can be one of the best tools in supporting a strong immune system and keeping all our body’s systems working optimally to prevent sickness, help us recover quicker and boost our overall health.
NB: This article and all included information is not intended as medical advice and does not treat or diagnose.