6 Yoga Practices to Support the Immune System

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  • Pranayama - builds strength in the lungs to maximise oxygen intake to the blood and therefore optimizing the functioning of the internal organs and glands responsible for immunity. Diaphragmatic breathing, used in yoga, also assists in moving lymph back to the heart for removal of waste and toxins.

  • Inversions - by inverting the body we allow gravity to pull the lymph fluid back to the heart to remove any waste. The lymphatic system doesn't have a pumping mechanism like the cardiovascular system (aka. The heart), so inverting greatly assists in moving lymph fluid from the lower half of the body.

  • Surya Namaskar A & B - builds agni (digestive fire) and tapas (heat) to kill off any ‘bad’ bacteria in the body. Both Surya Namaskar series require movement of almost every part of the body, therefore contracting lots of different muscles and facilitating movement of lymph fluid.

  • Yoga Nidra - allows the student to enter a deep state of relaxation where the body can rest, digest and repair. Shifting the body away from the SNS response where the immune system is not prioritised. Yoga Nidra lets the body move into a healing state.

  • Twists - BKS Iyengar's ‘squeeze and soak’ theory means that we are able to wring toxins out of the organs and bodily systems by twisting the torso. All of the nerve plexuses along the spine become free and this allows the digestive, endocrine, immune and lymphatic systems to rebalance upon release of the twist.

  • Restorative poses - providing rest and relaxation restores and boosts the immune system by giving our body and mind the space to naturally recharge in the PSNS state. Allowing at least 8 minutes in Savasana is essential to absorb the entire yoga practice and let go.

 

References

Yoga Basics. 2016. 8 Ways to Boost Your Immune System with Yoga • Yoga Basics. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.yogabasics.com/connect/yoga-blog/8-ways-to-boost-your-immune-system-with-yoga/. [Accessed 24 October 2016].


DOYOUYOGA.COM. 2016. Yoga For Immunity - How To Fight Off Illness With Yoga. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.doyouyoga.com/yoga-for-immunity-how-to-fight-off-illness-with-yoga/. [Accessed 24 October 2016].