Yoga and its influence on our immune system

It is a well-known fact that constant practice of Yoga positively influences many systems in our bodies on physical and mental levels. Most of you are probably aware of the fact that practice of Yoga asanas in a complex with Mediation and Pranayama helps to boost our immune system, making us more resistant to cold and flu.  How does the following mechanism work and what asanas are the most efficient to fight cold or flu?

By Practicing Yoga we stimulate main physiological systems that are connected to the immune system: the circulatory, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems. We also condition our lungs and respiratory tract and stimulate the lymphatic system to displace toxins from our body, bringing oxygenated blood to organs to ensure their proper function.

In general, inversions and forward bends are very helpful to ease nasal congestion and prevent the complications of secondary infections as they are draining the lungs. Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand) puts pressure on the thyroid gland at the base of the throat, stimulating the endocrine system to help the body fight with stress and infections. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) encourages blood flow to the sinus. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) directly affects digestive system, increasing blood flow to the abdominal organs while Kurmasana (Tortoise pose) supports the thymus.

It is important to note that in case of having fever it is not recommended to practice Yoga in order to avoid further aggravation. Moreover, if you feel that going into some posture leads to a headache or any discomfort – exit the pose.

Conditioning the lungs and maximizing your breathing capacity through Pranayama helps to build resistance against cold and flu.  Sectional breathing and rapid abdominal breathing (Kapalabhati) leads to increase in the resistance of the respiratory tract. Nasal wash with saline and alternate-nostril breathing helps to increase the resistance of your sinuses.  20 minutes of daily Meditation increases the level of endorphins and decrease the level of cortisol hormone, which distresses the mind and leads to a state of balance. This also helps to boost your immunity.

In case you got sick, a good method to reduce fever is sitting in Sukhasana (Easy Pose) in Jnana mudra and breathing trough U-shaped tongue for at least 3 minutes.

A research conducted in the University of Oslo revealed that Yoga impacts our immune system on a genetic level, creating a change in the expression of 111 genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (these cells play a key role in the body’s immune system). This means that there is a clear scientific proof of positive influence of Yoga on our immunity.

If you have already integrated Yoga into your daily life – you are greatly helping your body to be strong and resistant to different viruses.

Health is Happiness Yoguis!

Namaste.