By Jenny Park
Many people who practice yoga regularly are much healthier than those who don’t. However, our bodies are different and not every person who decides to become a yoga instructor will be the best example of a person with an optimal immune system. Yet, there is a perception among students that yoga teachers never get sick.
It’s true that not one of us is the same. We all function completely different, and that includes the way our bodies fight sickness and disease. Some of us are just built to fight off germs, and others have a weak immune system. Of course there are all natural remedies and vitamins that boost immunity, and lifestyle choices that affect us as well. A poor diet, stress, and possibly drugs and alcohol can severely damage the immune system. Regardless, most have never thought of yoga training as a booster for the immune system. A hatha yoga session has proven benefits for the immune system by creating stronger systems in the body, including the endocrine, nervous, digestive, and circulatory.
Different poses (asanas) and types of yoga are appropriate for different ailments. For example, meditative yoga is wonderful for those who suffer with allergies by slowing the breath and relaxing the nervous system. When we consider symptoms of a cold or allergies they include cough, runny nose, and sore throat, which are all contained in the upper respiratory system and affecting mainly the lungs. Many asanas require you to open the chest, which in turn opens the lungs and frees the related systems to function, as they should.
The recommended asanas for boosting the immune system include twists, folds and inversions that release and remove toxins and impurities from the body. Inverted poses like downward dog and forward fold allow the lymph nodes to move through the body, which help transfer white blood cells. White blood cells are responsible for fighting off sickness. Spinal massaging and stretching poses such as the Plough focus on the spinal nerves. They help encourage blood flow which is an integral part of raising immunity levels.
Some other poses that help with immunity are shoulder stand, cobra, legs up the wall, child’s pose, bridge and pigeon. There are also poses that can alleviate cold symptoms. An example is the Alternate Nostril Breath. It involves the student alternate breathing out of each nostril by covering one at a time and breathing steadily and deeply. It should only be used in cases of simple congestion and not when an infection is involved.
As with any healthy routine, antioxidants as well as a diet rich in fruits and vegetables should be a key element. Drinking plenty of water also helps boost immunity.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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