Why is Yoga called as a holistic wellness tool? Because practicing Yoga regularly provides us with physical and mental health benefits. But what if we tell you that Yoga also build immunity? Often, we link immunity to only to what we eat and not necessarily our activities. Indeed, other than keeping you stress-free and enhancing your flexibility, Yoga is also an immunity-boosting tool. It helps build resilience from within and outside.
Yoga helps boost our immunity in three ways, namely, reduced stress, enhanced respiratory and digestive systems and optimal functioning of the various organs. We know stress leads to free radicals in out body, causing inflammations. Therefore, reduced stress keeps our cells healthy and fit to fight any inflammations and infections. It is this innate capability of our bodies that we call as immunity, after all. To relieve stress, Shavasana and Sasakasana are very helpful. Apart from this, certain other asanas (poses) are said to provide maximum immunity-boosting benefits. Today, we look at five Yoga poses that you can practice regularly to build your immunity and stay healthy.
Note: It is advisable to get a clearance from a doctor before you start practicing Yogasanas other than what you have been doing. Also, kindly take assistance from a qualified instructor to get set in doing the asanas.
Prana refers to breath, and it is this breath that keeps us alive. The moment our breathing ceases, it’s all over. Perhaps, that is what Yoga stresses on breathing techniques to build our immunity and keep us healthy. Perhaps, Pranayama is the most popular and also the easiest of the Yoga techniques to follow. One must sit in the Sukhasana (meditation) pose and do breathing exercises that strengthen our lungs. You could also sit comfortably on a chair, if you are unable to sit down. However, for best results, it is advisable to maintain a connection with the floor with your feet.
How to do: Sit straight, tuck your chin slightly so your head is over your shoulders, and inhale and exhale deeply, slowly. You should feel the breath all the way up your spine. Repeat for ten counts. There are variations of pranayama called kapalbhati, anulom vinulom, etc. which can be explored.
This asana resembles a fish, helps detoxify the body and boosts the energy levels. It also opens your lungs and relieves congestion and stimulates your thyroid gland. There are a few variations of this pose and all are good to boost immunity. The story goes that if the matsyasana is performed in water, people will float on water!
How to do: Start from Padmasana or Lotus position. Maintain the leg position and put down your back to the ground. Then raise your upper back and support it with your elbows and palms. Your head must be touching the ground and back slightly above. Use your palms to hold the foot on the same side with your legs still crossed. In variations you can you can let your legs straight down and let your hands be palm up on the sides. Or you could put you hands underneath your buttocks to support the pose. Hold this pose for 1-5 minutes.
- Viparita Karani
In this asana, one moves the legs up against a wall supported by the body on the floor. This asana boosts your nerve connections, improves blood circulation, and helps destress.
How to do: Sit down facing the wall. Slowly move your hips and legs towards the wall and put up the legs against the wall. Do not do it all at once. Ensure not to put excess weight on the lower back and hamstring muscles so as not to injure them. Rest your head comfortably and try to elevate your hip muscles a little bit and hold the position for 5 to 15 minutes.
This forward inverse pose boosts oxygen supply to your brain. It relieves congestion and clears mucous membranes to help your body fight infections. It is one of the easiest poses to help rejuvenate your immune system.
How to do: Keep your feet at your hip distance apart in a standing position. Start bending, relax your hips and knees. Try to rest hands your hands on the floor. You may have to initially place them on thighs or ankles and then move downward slowly. Stay in this position for 15-30 seconds or 5-10 breaths and unwind.
- Ananda Balasana
The happy baby pose helps people calm down and is relatively easy to do. We often see small tots in this position. This pose stimulates the kidney and digestive system and relieves body from all toxins.
How to do: Lie down on your back. Bend your knees towards your chest with hips relaxed and touching the ground. Flex your feet and make your soles face up. Hook your first two finger around your toes and pull them down slightly so that your knees are close to your chest. Relax, breathe for a few counts, and unwind. There are minor variations of this pose as well.