Immunity is the state of having adequate biological defenses to fight infections or diseases. It is the body’s ability to avoid inflammation, allergy, and autoimmune diseases. With rising stress levels and dietary habits, we are becoming prone to many illnesses, such as head colds, runny noses, coughs, and stomach aches.
What can we do to counter this? The answer is, of course, the age old secret of practicing yoga. Yoga can help us fight infections by reducing stress, boosting our immune system, and strengthening our body’s internal functions. It is also known as the elixir of life.
Yoga is a 5000-year old body of knowledge. It has amazing healing powers when it comes to balancing the body and neutralizing the harmful effects of today’s lifestyle choices. There are hundreds of different viruses that can infect our body at any given time. Psychological stress also increases the chances of sickness.
Through the practice of yoga, we can calm the mind and lower our stress hormones. Some yoga asanas calm the nervous system and enable the body to enhance immunity.
Video: 4 Simple Yoga Poses for Immune System Boost
1. Shashankasana / Hare Pose
This asana relieves depression, insomnia and mental fatigue; refreshes the brain; and improves concentration and memory. In addition to boosting your immunity, it reduces emotional instability and anger and helps tone the pelvic muscles and relieves sciatic pain.
- Sit in the Vajrasana position, with your hands on your knees and your legs tucked beneath you. Inhaling, stretch your arms above your head, keeping them shoulder width apart.
- Exhale and bend your body from the waist and place your forehead and palms on the floor. Your hands should be stretched out. Hold the position for a few seconds.
- Inhaling, go back to your previous position. Repeat this asana 5-10 times.
2. Kandharasana / Shoulder Pose
This asana helps relieve stress and rejuvenates the body. It corrects many vertebral disc issues and strengthens the female reproductive organs. It also relieves menstrual cramps and uterus-related disorders. It tones the organs in the abdomen, cures backache and strengthens the shoulders.
- Lie on you back. Bend your knees and clasp your ankles. Your back should be flat on the ground.
- Holding your breath, raise your buttocks and arch your back. Arch as much as possible, without feeling uncomfortable. Hold the pose.
- Exhaling, go back to your previous position. Repeat 5-10 times.
3. Paschimottanasana / Seated Forward Bend Pose
This asana is great for relieving tensed muscles. It massages and tones the abdominal and pelvic organs; stretches the muscle in the lower back, hamstrings and buttocks; and tones the shoulder muscles. Paschimottanasana is a also an excellent stress-buster.
- Sit with your legs stretched out in front. Slowly bend forward and try to touch your toes with your fingers.
- Try to place your forehead on your knees. Hold this pose as long as possible, without feeling uncomfortable.
- Go back to your previous position. Repeat 5-10 times.
4. Padmasana / Lotus Pose
This is a simple yoga asana that facilitates meditation and deep breathing. With regular practice, the digestion process can be improved, blood pressure can be controlled and muscular tension can be reduced. Padmasana can ease the pain of childbirth and reduce menstrual discomfort. We can practice these asanas to get a better body and a calmer mind.
- Sit with your legs stretched out. Bend your leg and place your right foot on the left thigh.
- In the same manner, place your right foot on the left thigh. The soles of your feet should face upwards. Your heels should be placed close to your abdomen. Breathe.
When practicing yoga, we need to remember that the asanas should be practiced on an empty stomach. There should be a gap of at least 3 hours between your meal and your yoga session. Relaxation is also very important.
Make sure that you relax for at least 10 seconds after each yoga asana. Excessive intake of caffeine of any kind should be avoided when practicing yoga. We can have our meal after an hour of practicing the asanas.
Yoga should not be practiced twenty minutes before and after taking a bath. The blood circulation in our body speeds up after we take a bath, which might create a shock for the body if done immediately before or after exercising.
These above asanas, with regular practice, will enable you to lead a more energetic life. They will free your body of diseases, make your skin glow, make you lose/gain weight and make your body more flexible. In addition, they will protect you from injuries by stretching your internal and external muscles.
Regular practice of yoga helps you to attain optimum mental peace and calm. When suffering from any kind of disease, we must remember that it is the mind that drives the functions of the body. If we learn to control our mind, we will be on the right track to help safeguard our body from external attacks.