Yoga has emerged as an exercise of the first choice for many people. Yoga originated in India and has been part of Indian civilization for a millennium. It is a practice that aligns our mind, body, and spirit and enhances mental clarity. It is a fact that Yoga is very effective in developing immunity against many diseases.
You can achieve the following benefits by practicing Yoga regularly:
- Improving your lung capacity
- Prevention from viral attacks
- Stability of mind and freedom from stress.
- Improve motor responses, thus keeping various health problems at bay.
Hence in the current era of the pandemic, Yoga is playing a vital role.
Lungs and Immunity. How does yoga help in strengthening your respiratory system?
The human body needs oxygen to live. Hence you must keep the respiratory system in good condition. The lungs oxygenate the body, initiate oxygen delivery to all cells, and remove carbon dioxide. Yoga can help prevent colds and coughs. Yogic breathing helps to expel toxins from the respiratory tract.
Most of the exercises that contribute to lung health require correct and deep breathing. Activities that involve deep, mindful and intense breathing can help improve lung health.
Stress and Immunity. How does Yoga help to combat stress?
If you are in a frequent state of stress that extends for long periods, your Immune system is being suppressed. Cortisol is a stress hormone that suppresses antibodies which are like your body’s military’s police. They identify and neutralize viruses and bacteria. Hence, if the body is bombarded with cortisol continuously, your immunity is compromised. Let us consider an example. In the medical system, when doing an organ transplant, the immune system needs to be suppressed for some time so that the organ is not rejected. Therefore, steroids which are an external form of cortisol, are given to the patient because if there is no suppression on the Immune system, that organ is going to be rejected.
Yoga is a practice that makes us aware of our breath. Focussing on the breath helps to tame our thoughts and choose whether or not to respond to them. Yoga helps tell your mind that there is no need to go into stress response and that everything is fine.
Yoga helps improve motor responses.
From the Journal of aging and physical activity, “Yoga may be an ideal preventive and therapeutic option for balance training and reducing fall risk in older adults.”
- Yoga can help improve strength and flexibility(range of motion).
- Yoga can help with postural control, attention, and confidence.
Why has Yoga witnessed an unprecedented rise in its followers in recent times?
The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the public health system, leading to a substantial loss of human lives. In addition, the ever-mutating virus has kept many of us indoors, increasing stress on our bodies and minds.
This public health crisis has brought the importance of strengthening our immune systems. For this, we need to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Studies suggest that Yoga improves the immune system since it combines physical exercise, controlled breathing, and mental concentration — all of which have health benefits.
A study featured in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine in 2018 reveals that Yoga helps decrease inflammation in the body. In addition, it helps improve your overall immunity with relaxation, exercise, and meditation.
Even though countries have vaccinated a section of their population, a robust immune system remains the only recourse for people against coronavirus.
Yoga can also help strengthen our body’s functions and systems. Hence people have realized the power of Yoga in recent times.
Various Yoga poses help to boost the immune system. Some of these yoga poses are:
Pranayama or yogic breathing exercises Breathing techniques such as pranayam improve the functioning of the respiratory system. It is a significant pillar of yogic practice. It helps strengthen the immune system, calms the mind, and aids in better sleep. For example, the following yoga pose is a pranayama exercise known as Bhramari Pranayama.
- Bhramari Pranayama: This yoga pose is a pranayama exercise that helps to calm the mind and strengthen the immune system. You can do it by sitting in any comfortable position. First, inhale deeply and then exhale completely, making a humming sound like a bee while you do so. Hold your breath out, and then repeat the process.
The following yoga pose is known as Vajrasana or the Thunderbolt Pose.
- Vajrasana: This yoga pose helps to improve digestion, strengthens the immune system, and calms the mind.
- Kneel on your yoga mat with your knees hip-width apart. Let your toes touch each other.
- Position your hands beside your hips on the floor. Point your fingers forward.
- Sit up tall and lengthen your spine.
Remain in this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.
The following yoga pose is known as Sukhasana or the Easy Pose.
- Sukhasana: This yoga pose helps to improve flexibility, reduces stress and anxiety, and strengthens the immune system. To do this yoga pose, follow these simple steps:
- Sit down on a yoga mat with your legs crossed.
- Keep your hands on your knees with your palms facing up.
- Take deep breaths several times with your eyes closed.
Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.
The following yoga pose is known as Balasana or the Child’s Pose.
- Child’s Pose: This yoga pose helps to improve flexibility, reduces stress and anxiety, and strengthens the immune system. To do this yoga pose, follow these steps:
- Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart and let your toes touch each other.
- Seat yourself on your heels and lower your torso forward until it rests between your thighs.
- Outstretch your arms, making sure that your palms are facing the floor.
- Rest your forehead on the floor and take a few deep breaths.
- Try to hold for 30 seconds to a minute in this position.
The following yoga pose is known as Ustrasana or the Camel Pose.
- Camel Pose: This yoga pose helps to improve flexibility, strengthens the immune system, and calms the mind. To do this yoga pose, follow these steps:
- Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart.
- Rest your hands on your lower back, pointing downwards.
- Then, pressing into your hands, lift your torso up and back, arching your back.
- Remain for 30 seconds to a minute in this position.
The following yoga pose is known as Shavasana or the Corpse Pose.
- Corpse Pose: This yoga pose helps to improve flexibility, reduces stress and anxiety, and strengthens the immune system. This is done in the following steps:
- Lie down on your back. Keep your feet hip-width apart, and place your arms by your sides.
- While closing your eyes, take a few deep breaths.
- Again, hold yourself in this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.
Yoga is a fantastic way to boost the immune system and stay healthy. So practice these Yoga poses regularly to keep your immune system strong.
Sun salutations are a great way to kickstart the day. They are a series of Yoga poses done in a sequence. For example, the following is a sun salutation sequence that can be done to help boost the immune system.
Sun Salutation Sequence:
- Start in a mountain pose with your feet hip-width apart and your hands by your sides.
- Inhale and raise your arms overhead.
- Exhale and bend forward from the hips, bringing your torso down toward your legs.
- Inhale and place your hands on the floor beside your feet.
- Exhale and step back with one leg, coming into a low lunge position.
- Inhale and step forward with the other leg, coming back into mountain pose.
- Repeat this sequence for a total of three rounds.
Breathing is the most powerful tool that can be mastered with each yoga posture. Yoga helps to empower the mind, and the more control we have in our minds, the better control we have over our lives. The mind is the ultimate control over our health. Only one percent of all illness is linked to genes. Ninety percent of all illness is related to stress which makes our mind work over things constantly.
Start with some easy poses and work your way up to more difficult ones. Remember to breathe deeply and relax into each pose. Stay in each pose for 30 seconds to a minute. Yoga is a great indoor exercise when the weather is terrible outside. These poses are easy and can be done by beginners. Yoga is an excellent way to boost the immune system, so make sure to practice regularly!