Every day you or your family are at risk of infections. This year-2020 it is even more grave due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking care of your immunity becomes more imperative than ever.
Apart from following a healthy diet and good physical hygiene what else can you do to boost your immunity?
The answer is: Yoga
Immunity is your body’s natural defence against germs. When your body encounters a foreign object, the immunity system kicks in and the chemical processes kill these invaders.
However, if your immune system is weak, your body will not be able to fight these infections. It can be weakened if you,
a) suffer from a disease
b) have chronic stress
c) take an imbalanced diet
d) lack physical activity
e) have a compromised immune system by birth
So, people with a weak immune system become vulnerable to seasonal flu, allergies, respiratory or digestive infections.
You can take medications to ward off infections but you will keep getting them again and again.
The two practices work on your body from the inside out and amplify your body’s natural defence instead of treating the symptoms.
1. Cleansing poses that remove toxins, improve circulation, and open blocked channels in the body
2. Pranayama for improved respiration, strong lungs and better supply of oxygen
3. Reduces stress
Ayurveda, a 5000-year-old medical science, believes that most problems in the body occur due to a weak digestive system.
Most of the yoga poses (for immunity) work on strengthening your digestive system and flushing out toxins.
Even if you are not a yoga person, including these 13 poses will keep your system in check.
Yoga for immunity: 13 asanas explained
1. Sun salutations
Number one on the list is sun salutation or Surya Namaskar. Sun salutation is an extremely powerful sequence for waking up and energising your body in the morning.
Though not a pose, the entire sequence is a must if you are looking to do yoga for immunity.
It is a simple gratitude sequence to the sun for sustaining our lives. It improves Prana in the body and balances all three doshas.
Doing 5-10 sun salutations in the morning on an empty stomach is a perfect start to the day. It recharges your body and your mind.
A daily practice of sun salutations is a must if you have any digestion related problems like constipation or IBS.
The poses in the sequence stretch on your intestines, stomach and liver. This optimises the process of assimilation and elimination.
It also helps in flushing excess toxins from the digestive system.
Also, if you practice this early morning in the mild sunlight, you replenish your daily vitamin-D content, making your immune system strong and your bones healthy.
2. Standing forward bend or Uttanasana
Forward fold or standing forward bend or Utkattanasana is one of the most basic and the most effective postures in yoga.
This pose involves the active participation of the entire body. It stimulates the nervous system and relieves tension in the body.
It stretches and strengthens the hamstrings, calves and lower back.
This pose is therapeutic and helps in opening up your chest for enhanced lung function.
It massages your internal organs and improves digestion. Better digestion ensures that your body is able to absorb important nutrients from the food and thus a strong immune system.
This pose strengthens your liver and kidneys. It cleanses the system by flushing out the toxins.
This also relieves stress and anxiety and promotes a good night sleep.
3. Triangle pose or Trikonasana
Triangle pose or trikonasana is a standing posture involving the use of pelvic muscles and psoas muscles. It stretches your calf, hamstrings and ankles.
It is a great pose to open your heart and develop some strength in your lower body.
It is excellent for your kidneys and helps in flushing waste from your system. The subdued function of kidneys can cause severe diseases in the body.
The toxins in the body are removed giving a boost to your immune system.
This pose effectively stretches your organs and activates them.
4. Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana
Cobra or Bhujangasana is a yoga pose named after the mighty cobra.
Cobra stimulates your nervous system and expands the chest to strengthen your lungs.
Cobra pose stretches your entire digestive system and massages your spine.
It s increases the flexibility of the spine and strengthens the spine and shoulders.
It is therapeutic for asthma as it aids in opening the lungs. This pose also works on the abdominal organs, improving digestion.
5. Half lord of the fishes or Ardha Matsyendrasana
Twists have a special place in Yoga for increasing metabolism and flushing out toxins.
The squeezing motion is what removes toxins and makes it a great yoga for immunity asana.
Half lord of the fishes or Marichyasana is a great pose for stimulating digestion along with kidneys and liver.
It allows secretion of bile juices and maintains good gut health. The gut is the biggest contributing factors towards a healthy immunity.
Improving gut health can boost your immunity and give you better skin.
6. Child’s pose or balasana
Child’s pose is a deep relaxation pose. It allows blood flow to your brain and stimulates your nervous system.
The enhanced blood in the brain alleviates stress and anxiety. It balances the hormones in the body including the stress hormones.
7. Bow pose or Dhanurasana
Bow pose aka Dhanurasana is named after the shape of the bow the body makes in this pose.
Bow pose is an excellent heart opener and stimulates your digestive system. The pose increases strength and flexibility in your pelvic and lower back muscles.
It is beneficial in curing constipation and other gastrointestinal problems. It improves circulation and lubricates your joints.
This pose should be approached slowly if you have lower back problems. Or do it under a trained professional to help you ease into the pose slowly.
8. Bridge pose or Setubandhasana
Bridge pose aka Setubandhasana is a pose we should do on a regular basis. This pose stretches your chest and spine and soothes your breathing.
It calms your mind and removes stress and anxiety. It is a great pose for your pelvic muscles and quadriceps.
Bridge pose improves the tone and strength of the abdominal muscles and thigh muscles.
In this pose, abdominal muscles are contracted and pulled up. This produces pressure on the abdominal and reproductive organs and improves their function.
9. Lotus pose or Padmasana
Padmasana is a cooling posture. It improves posture and prepares the body for meditation.
Padmasana or lotus pose is a cross-legged position which stretches the ankle muscles.
The ankles in this position put pressure near the groin, thereby releasing negative emotions.
This pressure activates the nerves in the sole and the reproductive system.
10. Shoulder stand or Sarvangasana
Shoulder stand or Sarvangasana is a supported inversion in yoga. It is extremely calming as it supplies our brain with ample blood and oxygen.
It stimulates the pituitary gland and realigns hormones in the body.
So if you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance or a weakened immunity system, this pose is a must-do.
Increased circulation calms the nerves by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. It decreases depression and anxiety symptoms, eases fatigue, and improve immune function.
11. Plough pose or Halasana
Plough pose or Halasana is an inverted pose that stretches the spine and shoulders while activating the nervous system.
The pose calms and relaxes the nerves, brain, and heart, it is best to practice it at the end before getting into savasana or corpse pose.
Avoid this pose if you are on your periods or are pregnant.
12. Fish pose or Matsyasana
Fish pose or Matsyasna is a great pose for opening up your respiratory channels.
It stretches your ribs and lungs and relieves congestion in the respiratory channels.
It is a great restorative pose for soothing an agitated nervous system.
13. Corpse pose or Savasana
Savasana or the corpse pose is a soothing pose after the dynamic session. It helps you feel the increased surge of energy and circulation in the body.
It allows you to relax and rejuvenate at the end of the session. It restores your energy and should not be missed.
Savasana is known as a great pose to calm the mind, reduce stress and fatigue. It also lowers blood pressure, relieves headaches and improves sleep.
This is an excellent way to ground the body and reduce the Vata dosha(imbalance of the air element) in the body.
Immunity is our original defence system. Overtime we abuse our bodies with wrong foods, a sedentary lifestyle and stress. As a response, our immunity weakens and so does our natural capabilities to fight diseases.
There are a lot of natural ways to keep it healthy. Yoga for immunity provides a holistic mechanism to heal your body from the inside out.
These thirteen asanas help in stimulating your nervous system and flushing out the toxins. They reset your digestive system and allows better absorption of nutrients from the food.
What is your go-to yoga pose when you are not feeling well?
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Chakshu is a US alliance certified yoga teacher, a biotechnologist and an Ayurveda evangelist. Her passion is to help people live a toxic-free life, emotionally and chemically. She loves reading self-help books. When she is not writing, she is busy thinking about life.