As we head into the cooler months of the year it is important that we find ways to support our immune system. I consider myself quite lucky that I don’t catch many nasties frequently. I am pretty confident that the reason for this is because of my yoga practice.
Yoga is great for the immune system and below I share with you just 3 ways as to why.
Yoga Helps Us Manage Stress Better.
Like everyone, I do worry and stress about things. I think in our day and age this is a given.
Life is busy, challenging and at its worst can be overwhelming at times.
Long–term stress is not good for us. It can really mess up how our hormones work, and this is not good for our health at all – especially our immune system.
When our hormones are out of whack, it means that certain bodily functions and processes are not working at their best or at all. Hormones after all are how the brain controls things like metabolism, reproduction, blood sugar levels, BP, energy levels, kidney function, sleep patterns, aging, appetite and so much more.
If any of these go out of kilter, then this will affect the strength of our immune system.
Luckily yoga has many tools to help us manage our stress levels and in doing so support the immune system.
If you think that managing stress is an issue for you then the following yoga practices, I promise will help.
They all helped me and without them, I would be lost now.
- Yin and restorative yoga practices.
- Flow yoga (but not the vigorous kind).
- Yoga Nidra. Try out a short one here
Yoga Helps Us Digest and Assimilate Our Food.
Yoga is great for our immune system as it supports our digestive system. Our health all starts with how we digest and assimilate our food. It is from food that our body keeps us in good working order. Without food, we would not be here – full stop.
Yoga can support healthier digestion in two ways:
The first is the simple fact that the practice of yoga helps to soothe the mind. We have already discussed the negative effect of stress on many of the body’s functions including digestion.
I know for a fact that my own digestive system truly goes out of whack when I am stressed. I get IBS and constant stomach aches. Also, if I rush a meal, I know I am going to be in trouble later.
Effective digestion only happens when we are relaxed and at rest (we call this the parasympathetic nervous system mode).
The yoga tools to help reduce stress are ideal for helping us keep our digestive system fully functioning.
The second way is that there are many poses which help to support digestion in a more physical way.
As I mentioned above, the poses are not a magic bullet, but if you are looking to try and reduce your reliance on over-the-counter remedies do give them a go.
If you are interested in reading more about the poses that support digestion, I discuss this more in an earlier blog post. You can access it here.
I also have a video practice you can try here.
Yoga Works Our Breathing System
Breathing is one of the ways that we take in prana (energy) from the world, so it makes sense to keep our breathing apparatus – the diaphragm and the lungs – as strong and healthy as possible.
When we don’t breathe properly, it is hard for the body to take in vital oxygen and rid the body of carbon dioxide. The optimum working of the body relies on a good balance between the two gases.
Good breathing also massages the organs of the body with every breath. If we chest breathe (also known as shallow breathing) the organs do not get a massage.
The massage action helps to move blood through the tissues which helps to keep the organs working better as they are constantly receiving a fresh blood supply. This is vital for removing waste and taking in nutrients.
As yoga’s foundation is based on breathing well, I think we have this pretty much covered.
Any practice from moving through poses on the mat and specific breath work will help to work and strengthen the diaphragm and lungs beautifully.
Why don’t you give the following breath practices a go?👇
I hope you have enjoyed reading about 3 simple ways that yoga can support the immune system.
If I have piqued your interest a little why not join me for a workshop on how yoga can support your immunity? Click here for more information.