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Healthy Body Yoga

How to Boost Immunity by Practicing Yoga with @theviviyoga

Do you consider yoga as a tool to boost your immune system? 

We come to yoga for lotS of reasons reasons: stress relief, increased flexibility, mobility, or strength, for spiritual connection.

Many don’t know that practicing yoga can help boost immunity. A regular yoga practice – along with certain yoga poses – can support and boost the immune system. 

Stress is one of the leading causes of sickness, and when we’re chronically stressed, the deep tissue that surrounds our organs, muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments (called fascia) is compromised. Because fascia is made up of nerves, we need to move and stretch our body. By stretching and moving, we release the stagnant energy within our cells, allowing it to remove the harmful toxins in our bodies. Also blood needs oxygen to keep the body healthy and aid in cell growth. Breath-work gives our blood the boost of oxygen required to generate new circulation. When doing asanas (yoga poses) and pranayama breathing, we’re helping this circulation process, which leads to a stronger immunity system.   What this means is that yoga helps keep you and your cells healthy even when you’re stressed. This is due to the fact that yoga reduces stress systemically in the body, which reduces inflammation overall. Less inflammation means that your body is working and defending itself the way it should be.

By incorporating yoga into our routines, we can significantly strengthen our body’s ability to combat sickness.  With yoga, there is no excuse of bad weather as it can be easily done at home. All you need to do is roll out your yoga mat and begin your practise of asanas, pranayama or meditation.

Let’s explore five yoga poses for immunity to help your body help itself.

5 Yoga Poses to boost your immune system

1. Sitting and Breathing (Sukhasana and Pranayama)

Sukhasana allows for optimal breathing and movement of “prana” (life force energy) throughout the body. Allowing yourself to relax and breathe deeply can help reduce stress hormones, heart rate, and nervous system distress (which all supports strong immunity).

Tips for your practice:

  • Find a comfortable seated position with your legs crossed.
  • Stack your shoulders over your hips, head over your shoulders, and slightly tuck the chin so the crown of the head reaches tall
  • Stay for as long as it feels good but at least 10 deep breaths

2. Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Forward Fold is the perfect gentle inversion to boost immunity. Forward bends bring prana and 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!

Tips for your practice::

  • From standing, bring your feet hip-distance apart
  • Slowly hinge at the hips and keep a bend in your knees as you come into a gentle forward fold
  • Allow your hands to rest on the floor
  • Stay here for 5-10 breaths or as long as feels good
  • When you come out of this pose, roll yourself slowly to standing to prevent any dizziness

3. Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Legs Up the Wall is one of the most relaxing yoga poses for your whole body. It allows lymph drainage, blood circulation , and helps you feel grounded, so your nervous system can completely relax and reset.

Tips for your practice:

  • Sit about 3 inches away from an empty wall
  • Lie onto your back and swing your legs up onto the wall, so the back of your thighs rest against the wall (you can scooch a little closer if needed)
  • Stay here for 1-10 minutes and breathe deeply

4. Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

The theory behind twists helping our immunity is that improper digestion causes toxins to build-up. These toxins send the body out of balance and have the potential to create inflammation. Yoga poses that gently compress, twist, or stimulate the stomach can help with digestive issues.

Tips for your practice:

  • Sitting with your legs straight out in front of you, plant your right foot on the outside of your left leg so the sole of your right foot is on the mat
  • Keep the extended left foot flexed. Option to cross the left foot under the right leg and near the right hip
  • On an inhale, plant your right palm directly behind your low back and bring your left elbow to the outside of your right knee
  • Inhale to lift and lengthen your spine, exhale to twist and shift the gaze over the right shoulder
  • Stay for 5 breaths on each side

5. Belly breathing (Pranayama) 

Belly breathing helps to strengthen the digestive system.  About 80% of your immune system is located in the folds of your digestive tract. Engaging the diaphragm by breathing in this way causes it to massage the internal organs and glands, which in turn helps move fluids containing the immune system’s white blood cells.A yogic breathwork-based study published in the Public Library of Science found that controlled deep belly breathing may also strengthen the body’s defenses by changing the gene expression of certain immune cells. Yogis have long known that the practice of voluntary breath control helps strengthen and purify the body so we can feel better and more energized. 

Tips for your practice:

  • You know you’re belly breathing when our lower belly expands outwardly when you inhale, and contracts inwardly when you exhale. 
  • Sit in Sukhasana for 1-10 minutes and breathe deeply

Take time during fall season (or any stressful season) to find the right remedies that work for you and your body. Find time to move, linking breath with movement and finding the right postures that work for you. Notice how you feel before and after your chosen asanas, and listen to your body, noticing how it responds in the long term.

Let’s practice yoga together.

This article and all included information is not intended as medical advice and does not treat or diagnose. Please consult with your healthcare provider for any health-related questions or concerns.

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