Chronic stress is one of the leading causes of disease. We’re more susceptible to illness during times of stress, when we’re pushing ourselves too hard without taking time for selfcare. When I’m working long hours, eating on-the-run, not getting enough sleep, operating full-speed ahead, and essentially burning the candle at both ends, I know I’m headed for disaster unless I make a change soon. As a longtime yogi, I know that a consistent asana practice provides a sustainable and natural way to support the immune system on a daily basis - regardless of how busy my schedule might be.
The benefits of yoga reach beyond the surface of a sculpted flexible body into the cellular level. Yoga calms the nervous system, improves the respiratory system, and lowers stress hormones, like cortisol, that when remain elevated, compromise your immune system. Pranayama (breathing techniques), and asanas (physical postures) strengthen your lung’s mechanical efficiency through respiratory tract conditioning, increasing lung elasticity and overall capacity. This increases the amount of oxygen available in your bloodstream. Blood needs oxygen to keep the body healthy and aid in cell function. Intentional breath work boosts the oxygen in your blood to generate new circulation.
Here are my favorite poses to de-stress my nervous system, calm my monkey mind, and support my body in cultivating wholeness and vitality.
6 Asana Postures to Boost Your Immune System
- Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
- Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
- Standing Backbend (Anuvittasana)
- Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
- Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
- Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Take time during this pandemic to practice linking your breath with movement and to listen to your body. Incorporating Ayurvedic practices into your lifestyle, eating whole foods and keeping up with your hygiene are empowering habits to reduce the risk of common illness. Yoga helps fight disease by reducing stress and strengthening our functions and systems. Remember that the whole is the goal.