Boost your immune system with yoga

Olivia Jones

The seasons are changing, we are in closer proximity to one another, stress levels are high, and let’s face it, we are probably drinking more.

What does all of this mean? Lower immune systems.

Aside from the typical solutions like staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest and incorporating more vitamin C into our diets, we should resort to one simple practice that has been around for thousands of years. Yoga.

By moving your body into different shapes and poses, incorporating mindful breathing techniques, and giving a little love to your soul, yoga can heal the body from the inside out.

Don’t know where to begin? Try a few poses from each category (twists, inversions, standing poses, openers, restoratives, etc.) by themselves, until you can link them into a sequence that’s most comfortable for you.

Twists are probably the most important group to focus on if you don’t have much time to dedicate to your practice. Think of twists as a sort of internal massage.

Twisting poses stimulate the organs, rid the body of toxins and promote a sense of balance with your systems. Great twisting poses include reclining spinal twist, revolved chair, revolved downward facing dog, and any variation on thread the needle.

While inversions may be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling a case of the stuffies, it’s definitely something you should try. Inversions stimulate the lymphatic system which, like twists, helps to flush out toxins as well as give you a little endorphin rush from the excitement of being upside down.

Not quite up for a grand handstand or pinchurasana? Don’t worry, inversions can also be as passive as lying with your legs up a wall or a supported bridge pose; and, technically, downward dog is also an inversion.

Some standing poses can help open your chest and lungs so that air flows more freely in and out of your body. Also, standing tall and strong in any shape is going to make you feel better than if you had spent all day curled up in bed.

Crescent warrior, dancing warrior, and chair pose all incorporate opening as well as muscle engagement, reminding your body that it’s all working together as a team to get you well and healthy again.

Restoratives almost speak for themselves: rest, rest, rest. Really, you could take any position you adore and hold it passively for a good five to ten minutes and it would be a restorative pose. The purpose here is to bring mental awareness into the game. A little good energy goes a long way.

Still, if you don’t know where to begin, reclining bound angle pose or corpse pose can never fail you. Think about letting your knees and shoulders sink into the mat while your heart and rib cage are being drawn up toward the sky, then let the rest of your body just be where it is.

Relax, breathe, repeat.

For more information and visuals of specific poses visit https://yoga.com/poses

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