Studies have shown that yoga has the ability to lower our stress levels that are known to compromise the immune system. Yoga does this while also conditioning the lungs and respiratory tract and stimulating the lymphatic system to help reduce toxin levels in our body.
Below is a series of 5 poses that I use to help boost my own immune system.
Sukhasana & Pranayama (Sitting and breathing)
Sukhasana is traditionally a meditation pose that helps us to breath fully and focus on moving 'prana' (our life-force energy) throughout the body.
Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Spinal twists work be decompressing and nourishing the spinal column. In addition to this they are also fantastic for helping tremendously with our bodies internal functions in particular releasing of toxins and digestion.
It is thought that improper digestion causes toxins to build up within our bodies, such toxins cause us to suffer from inflammation and put us at a greater risk of infection. Yoga poses such as Ardha Matsyendrasana where we are gently compressing, twisting or stimulating the stomach to aid in bettering our digestive system are great for boosting our immunity.
Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana Variation)
Supported fish pose is considered to be a truly great restorative pose. I recommend doing this pose whenever you are feeling beat. It works by boosting your energy levels through opening up the chest. Similarly, it targets the lungs as you inhale deeply inflating right through the stomach into the chest cavity. As such it helps to relieve congestion.
Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Inversions bring us a wealth of benefits both to body and mind. A forward fold such as Uttanasana is a perfect gentle inversion to help boost your immune system. Inversions such as this one work by bringing your blood flow and prana (life-force energy) into the sinuses. In doing this you can relieve any congestion building up there. It is important to focus on drawing our blood into the sinuses as they along with our mucus membrane are our bodies first line of defence against infection. By working on them and keeping them healthy we are able to naturally boost our immune levels.
It is important to note that depending on the level of congestion you are experiencing it might be uncomfortable or agitating for your sinuses to do this. As with any time you practice yoga I recommend that you take the time to take notice of your body and back off a bit in a pose or skip it altogether if you need until you are healed enough to do it fully.
Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
Viparita Karani the ultimate stress relieving pose. This pose is fantastic and is considered one of the most relaxing yoga poses for your whole body. It works by allowing lymph drainage, whilst evening our blood circulation and releases pressure from your back, all of which work to help you feel grounded enough to relax and reset your nervous system.
To ensure optimal immunity we must work on fortifying our nervous system and ensure that it is functioning properly.
Yoga is a fantastic method for growing and maintaining a strong immune system and keeping all of our bodies systems working at a optimal level that helps us to avoid getting sick or to at least recover faster.
By cultivating balance throughout our body we are able to support, strengthen and build our health, immunity, energy and overall quality of life. I find that these 5 yoga poses are a great place to start when wanting a starting point.
This cold and flu season I would recommend adding some of these poses into your daily routine to help fight off any unwanted infections!