by Emma Cunningham: Strengthening your immune system is more than the top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic…
Aside from keeping your vitamins, hand-washing, social distancing, and apple cider vinegar shots on repeat right now, there’s another ritual worth adding to your wellness routine: yoga.
For centuries, the ancient practice has been known to help boost immunity, with research showing that its ability to reduce stress does your body a lot of good when it comes to helping it fight colds and flus.
Stress and sickness go hand-in-hand. If we become chronically stressed, tissue that surrounds our muscles, organs, ligaments, and bones, becomes compromised, inflamed, or ache-y. By stretching and moving those tissues and organs, as we do in yoga, we’re able to release harmful toxins and energy within our cells.
Alongside this, the respiratory and digestive systems are often affected by flu-like symptoms as well. When flowing through various yoga poses with the incorporation of pranayama breathing, we’re helping with blood circulation throughout our system, which then leads to an overall strong immune system. With the digestive system often dealing with blockage, pain, and discomfort, twisting postures can help stimulate the GI tract to ensure everything flows as needed to avoid infections.
Practice These 6 Yoga Poses to Strengthen the Immune System
1. Standing Backbend (Anuvittasana)
Due to stress, our adrenal glands can often become irritated, so we can use backbends to help detoxify. A standing backbend (or any heart-opener) is particularly helpful in opening up the respiratory system. During flu season, incorporate a standing backbend into your practice to strengthen the lungs and breath.
2. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Triangle pose is typically known to strengthen the legs and core, but it is also a therapeutic pose that provides elements of tension release in the hips and shoulders. Triangle pose also stretches the muscles around the lungs, helping with deeper breathing. This pose is also great for those who hold tension, stress, or emotion in the hips, as it’s an opening posture that allows for the release of energy.
3. Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
This pose is considered to be a restorative yin posture as it’s highly therapeutic for the nervous system and is perfect for combatting anxiety and depression. It doesn’t require a lot from the body, and it’s wonderful to do in the morning as it can be energizing and opening. Sphinx also massages the lower abdomen and alleviates stomach pain.
4. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Eagle is a twisting (and balancing) pose that helps to stimulate fresh blood flow throughout the body by squeezing pressure points—giving the body a jolt of immunity-boosting fluid. The squeezing motion in the legs and arms helps to boost circulation and release toxins to strengthen the immune system.
5. Twisting Lunge Pose (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)
Another twisting posture is twisting lunge pose, which offers an even deeper “ringing out” of the kidneys and digestive organs, resulting in an internal detox. This posture is also excellent for the deepening of breath and is good for the spine.
6. Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Happy Baby is a favorite asana for many! The deep hip-opening sensation while laying on the back is a very therapeutic and non-confrontational way to give the body relaxed nourishment. Again, because we hold emotional tension in our hips, Happy Baby is a fantastic pose to relax the mind and ring out toxins. It also stimulates the kidneys and digestion.