Yoga for a strong immune system. Yoga is not a sport! Although the western World almost only advertises it like that. Yoga is a science and a way of life. In addition to the physical exercises (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), concentration exercises and meditation are used to form body and mind. And this is not even the spiritual side of yoga. All these exercises prepare the body for spiritual growth. Yoga improves the flow of Prana (life energy), which in turn gives us more strength, health, and endurance. Yoga has been proven to boost the immune system.
Yoga for the immune system – Asanas
It has already been scientifically proven that regular asana exercises increase the immune cells in the blood by up to 15%. Here is a small selection of asanas that strengthen our immune system:
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half spinal twist) stimulates the adrenal glands and the parathyroid glands, the so-called "guardians of health". In addition, the spleen is activated, which produces defense cells for lung infections.
Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) stimulates the liver and the thyroid gland and thus supports metabolism. Furthermore, the thymus gland is stimulated, resulting in improved immune activity.
Halasana (plow pose) stimulates the thymus, thyroid and pituitary glands. The latter regulates the hormone balance. This pose trains the lymph nodes in the neck area to better flight off pathogens.
Padahastasana (hand to foot pose) calms the mind and helps with stress. It activates the liver and kidneys, which in turn leads to more energy in the body. It also relaxes the central nervous system and improves sleep.
Yoga for the immune system – pranayama
Pranayama, the yogic breathing exercises, increase the physical energy and thus help the immune system. Nadi Shodhana, the alternate nostril breathing, not only expands the lung volume but also brings the energies into balance. The energy channels are cleansed, and Prana can flow freely again. Our instruction for Nadi Shodhana can be found here.
Yoga for the Immune System – Meditation
Meditation is already an advanced yoga practice used to increase the consciousness level. A nice side effect of Meditation is that the hormonal and immune system are harmonized. Since true meditation is too hard for most beginners, I recommend the so-called "guided meditations". They are no mediations in the true sense (bringing the mind to rest), but about fantasy journeys. You can count them to the yogic concentration exercises. They do not try to switch off the thoughts, but to steer them in a certain direction.
Stress happens not only in the mind but in the whole body. When we react with stress to a hectic, negative or life-threatening situation, more and more adrenaline is released. That causes our heart to beat faster and our brain is better supplied with blood. Unfortunately, there is not much energy left for everything else in the body. Stress, therefore, weakens our immune system. Stress does not come from outside. It's a natural reaction to a threat. However, as we are now rarely exposed to a dangerous situation that really threatens our lives, we need to learn to react appropriately. Yoga can help to stay calm even in hectic situations. Read more about Yoga and stress here.
Especially in Autumn and Winter, we notice, that our immune system is weak. A runny nose, sore throat, and aching limbs are the signs. But this doesn’t have to be like that. With a seasonally adapted diet, you can support your body.
In addition to a vegetarian diet (no meat, fish or egg) Yoga recommends warming food and spices in the cold season. Eat more pumpkin, beetroot, rice, oatmeal, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, ginger, anise, cardamom, buckwheat, rye, ghee, and nuts. You should avoid cooling foods such as raw food, milk and yogurt (also produces mucus), melon, strawberries, sage, mint and citrus fruits.
We wish you a strong immune system and a pleasant, cold season!
Leave us a comment and tell us your tricks for autumn and winter.