Did You Know Yoga Helps Boost Your Immune System?

 

Yoga helps strengthen our muscles and relax our minds. Starting off as an ancient Hindu practice, yoga has evolved into a culture focused on overall wellness. However, despite the image we have of yoga as bringing balance to both our body and mind, the question still stands: 

 

How does it support our immune system? 

 

Chronic stress is a major culprit in many illnesses and infections. Whether we’re overwhelmed by impending deadlines at work or experiencing conflict with loved ones, prolonged stress is at the ready to attack our immune system. One research article claims that stress can decrease the activity of our hard-working T cells and natural killer cells that help fight viral infections in our bodies!3 It’s no wonder we often become sick after long periods of stress!  

 

Aside from contorting our bodies into various positions, yoga involves deep-breathing exercises and often meditation. Deep breathing has been scientifically proven to help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion, while increasing feelings of comfort and relaxation.In a study conducted on undergraduate medical students, the group that performed a daily 35-minute yoga routine over 12 weeks showed no increase in their heart rate, respiratory rate, or blood pressure from the start of the experiment. In comparison, the control group that did not engage in daily yoga showed a significant increase in the abovementioned health parameters.1

 

We’ve selected three easy yoga poses to incorporate in your daily routine to relieve stress and boost your immunity! 

 

Uttanasana (Forward Bend) 

 

A common daily stretch for many, this forward-bending yoga pose helps relieve congestion in your sinuses while stretching your back and hamstrings.  

 

Instructions: 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Don’t bend your back first. Instead, start rolling your head forward, followed by your shoulders, chest, and then back. 
  3. Slowly bend forward until your hands touch the ground or float above it. 
  4. Make sure your head is naturally tucked in towards your chest. Do not crane your neck to look at your feet.  
  5. Hold this position and engage in deep breathing for 5-10 breaths.  

 

Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall) 

 

This pose helps circulate blood flow to your legs after sitting for hours at your computer. Some folks mention feeling a boost of energy after performing this pose! Beginners can place a soft pillow or yoga block underneath their lower back for a more comfortable position.  

 

Instructions: 

  1. Lay down a yoga mat or blanket perpendicular to a wall.  
  2. Sit down with your legs facing forward. 
  3. Swing your legs gently up against the wall. 
  4. Lift your hips and pelvis so they are elevated off the ground.  
  5. Hold this position if you can or place a pillow or yoga block under your butt and lower back.  
  6. Keep your arms relaxed at your sides.  
  7. Now hold for 5-15 minutes.  

 

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) 

 

By stretching your chest and shoulders, this pose can help expand your chest and may even help with respiratory issues! One study found that yoga helped asthma sufferers experience less day and night asthma attacks.4

 

Instructions: 

  1. Place a yoga mat or blanket on the ground. 
  2. Lay down on your stomach. 
  3. Place your arms in push-up position and lift only the upper half of your body. Keep your legs and feet flat to the ground. 
  4. Bring your chest forward and allow your shoulders to fall back.  
  5. Hold this position and engage in deep breathing for 5-10 breaths.  

           

          Practice these yoga poses and tag us on Instagram @livetrulyfe to share your experience with your wellness community! 

           

           

          References: 

          1. Arora, Sarika, et al.2011. Int J Yoga. 4(1): 26–32. DOI: 10.4103/0973-6131.78178 
          2. Garbella, Erika, et al.2018Front Hum Neurosci12: 353. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00353 
          3. Johnston, Thomas P.2017. EXCLI J. 16: 1057–1072. DOI: 10.17179/excli2017-480 
          4. Mekonnen, Demeke MD & Mossie, Dr.Adualem PhD. 2010. Ethiop J Health Sci. 20(2): 107–112. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3275836/