by Olivia Christine:Cold, winter months are often associated with sickness, weakened immune systems and stress, leading to an influx of families searching for health remedies…
Truth is, however, while the holidays and changing seasons certainly do impact our wellness, a healthy immune system is something we should seek year-round.
Stress knows no season; and tension can quietly brew without us even realizing it! It isn’t always easy to calm anxiety, tension and noise around us. If ignored, our immune systems can be adversely impacted, leading to illness and ailments — so how do we prevent it?
For thousands of years, yoga has been used as a tool to support holistic wellness, cultivating mindful awareness and self-regulation. Today, many health experts and medical professionals support the notion that a consistent yoga practice can indeed positively support a healthy immune system.
That goes for the whole family! Both adults and children can benefit from yoga, and here are some of our favorite family yoga poses to promote a healthy immune system.
1. Candle Pose is Perfect for Re-energizing and De-stressing
Shoulder stand is an amazing, energizing yoga pose that supports immunity. Not only does it improve circulation and digestion, this inversion also helps reduce fluid retention! When you’re feeling under the weather, Candle Pose can reduce stress and fatigue while stretching your shoulders and getting your blood flowing.
2. Fish Pose Helps Provide Respiratory Relief
Fish pose is a great yoga pose for boosting your immune system and improving breathing. Bad posture, lack of confidence, and stress can cause our bodies to close off and shut down. When we open the chest and heart, and in turn — our lungs, we can help stay consistently energized and even provide relief when we have respiratory ailments.
Combining Candle Pose and Fish Pose, try our “Blue Footed Booby” yoga pose for an immune system boost for the whole family.
3. Dragon Breathing Helps Reduce Tension
With anxiety and body tension comes a higher probability of increased stress hormones and a weakened immune system. Like most ailments, stress is often a significant road block to good health — but mindful breathing can help! A low-impact seated exercise, Dragon Breathing can calm anxiety by improving concentration and focus.
Whether enduring the holiday season, weather changes, or environmental transitions, this type of conscious breathing helps us release anger and negative energy so we can rest and digest! Try it for yourself, or try any of these other breathing exercises for children (and their grown-ups).
4. Savasana Restorative Yoga for Stress Reduction
Savasana may seem like the easiest yoga pose in the books, but it is actually quite the opposite. It is difficult to let go and relax, and much of our built up stress is a direct result of this. When we ground and refocus our energy to positive affirmations, we are able to regulate our breathing, reduce stress, and promote good health.
Invite the whole family to experience Savasana with a guided affirmation relaxation; you can follow Dan’s guidance in the video below. If you are interested in other ways to help children transition to calm, try some of our “Calming to Quiet” tips too!
5. Forward Fold Helps Relax the Central Nervous System
Extra fidgety, anxious, or simply had too much going on around you during the holidays?
It is time to wind down, rest and digest! With various Seated Forward Fold yoga poses, both children and adults are able use their imaginations to relax the central nervous system and boost their health.
From increasing flexibility, lengthening the spine, and creating focus… it is one of our favorite exercises! If you love the train theme, check out more transportation yoga poses for kids.
6. Seated Twist Yoga for Improved Digestion
More and more health experts are linking our gut health to overall wellness — with good reason! Healthy digestion is a key part of our lives and when it isn’t going well, the rest of our bodies follow suit.
Yoga poses that include a body twist are often the best ways to boost and maintain healthy digestion. When seated, these poses become accessible to the whole family (and their abilities), and can also help strengthen our core muscles and lengthen our spines.
Our Seated Twist yoga pose variation, Helicopter Pose, includes a shoulder roll to release serotonin (which helps de-stress, relax and calm our bodies). Try it for yourself!
7. Volcano for an Energizing Yoga Pose
Sometimes we’ve worked up so much energy that we feel as if we’re about to EXPLODE! Maybe your brain feels exhausted, or stress and tension has built up immensely.
Take a note from nature and let it go; like a volcano erupting and releasing all that energy. Our fun and interactive Volcano Pose combines Mountain Pose, Forward Fold, and Star Pose to create focus, flexibility and strength.
8. Camel Pose Promotes Loving Kindness
Similar to heart openers like the aforementioned Fish Pose, the Camel yoga pose is a backbend that helps us connect, release grudges and pent-up emotion, and implement a deeper self-care practice.
It goes without saying that our emotions (and the hiding of them) lead to stress and tension in the body, and can ultimately affect our immune systems. Opening the front of the heart positively impacts how we treat others, helping us share more loving kindness. The back of the heart positively affects how we show self-love.
9. Sun Dance for Whole-Body Wellness
Practice the Sun Dance (Sun Salutation) to the rhythm of a fun song for a family-friendly yoga sequence that warms up the body, strengthens and stretches.
A regular Sun Dance practice promotes healthy cardiovascular stimulation and helps eliminate toxins. Whether grounding with Mountain Pose, stimulating digestion with core movement, or finding peace through movement meditation — your immune system will thank you!
What’s your favorite way to stay healthy with yoga?
Mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises, and the asanas are all crucial components in yoga — and all positive contributors to our good health and immunity.
The more we practice, the more we support and cultivate social-emotional development in children, emotional regulation and an effective mindfulness practice.