Yoga – to boost your immune system
There are certain yoga poses and sequences that are known to boost your immunity by opening up the energetic channels known as meridian lines in your physical body. I like to incorporate these into my yoga classes and often start a class with tapping meridian lines and connecting with the breath.
Did you know that Spinal twists, such as trikonasana, decompress and nourish the spine, but they can also help a lot with our body’s internal functions, including our immune system. By maintaining a healthy spine the spinal fluid can move effortlessly. The spine protects the spinal cord, nerve roots and several of the body’s internal organs, it also allows for brain signals to send the electric pulses that control muscle movement, including reflex movements. Your heart beating, your breath intakes are all reflex, involuntary movements.
It’s true to say that any regular yoga practice you currently do will be strengthening your body and helping it function as it should thus making you more resilient to fighting off viruses and stress related illness, however, adding or emphasising certain asanas will make your internal energetic flow even stronger and more prepared.
Here’s a relevant quote I read in the Yoga Journal recently – Yoga helps lower stress hormones that compromise the immune system, while also conditioning the lungs and respiratory tract, stimulating the lymphatic system to oust toxins from the body, and bringing oxygenated blood to the various organs to ensure their optimal function. “Yoga is unlike other forms of exercise that focus only on certain parts of the body,” says Kathleen Fry, M.D., president of the American Holistic Medicine Association in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Yoga works on everything.”
Anahatasana – (heart opening pose) opens the chest cavity, supports heart and lung function and promotes blood circulation.
Vrksasana (tree pose ) strengthens your spine and aids nerve-muscle coordination. It improves your mental capabilities and keeps you stable. It invigorates your entire body by stretching/lengthening it, increasing your stamina and keeping you mentally focused therefore relaxing the nervous system.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) encourages blood flow to the sinuses – as do most inverted postures or forward bends, they focus the immune system on the sinuses, as the head is lower than the heart and as gravity does it’s thing, helping to ease congestion. These particular types of poses can work to prevent the complications of secondary infections by draining the lungs.
Should you come down with the flu (high temperate), however, it’s best not to practice yoga at all, since the condition requires absolute rest.
Yoga provides many positive benefits, but only you know your own body and limits. Like any exercise, please consult your health care professional with any questions or concerns before starting any new exercise program.