Since the 5th century, yoga has been benefitting people in keeping the body and mind in sound health. Most asanas make the body strong and flexible, and as health improves, the mind too is renewed with confidence. The practice of Pranayama regulates the purification of the internal system and the organs, acting as a superior and able supplement to asanas. The energy that is generated in the body through these physical practices is then channeled into meditation or dhian for stability, peace and calm. Yoga is known to boost our immunity and also to cure respiratory disorders. Pranayama or breathing exercises increase our oxygen intake by up to five times. Through this rich oxygenation of blood to the brain, heart, lungs, and digestive systems, the functioning of our organs is vastly improved thus also improving our overall health. Here are some yoga asanas that help improve the immune system:
Trikonasana or triangle pose
This is one of the best yoga asanas to improve your immune system.
Stand straight with your feet wider than your hips and hands by your side.
Now, turn your right foot to the right and keep your left foot facing straight ahead.
Bend your body from the waist to the right side and try to touch your right foot.
Lift your left hand up.
Hold for 5 breaths and return to the original position.
Repeat the same on the other side.
It also strengthens your arms, legs, ankles and chest and improves blood circulation in your body.
Assists in digestion, burns fat and keeps your mind calm.
Bhujangasana or cobra pose
You can practice this asana in the morning or evening but leave a gap after your meal.
Lie down on your stomach on the floor with your feet together.
Keep your palms under your shoulders and lift your upper body to resemble the raised hood of a snake.
Tilt your head back and roll back your shoulder. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.
Bhujangasana increases your metabolism and improves the digestive system.
It also builds your immunity and elevates your mood.
Vrikshasana or tree pose
When you perform this pose, you should keep your eyes open if you are a beginner and maintain your balance. Try this pose with your eyes closed if you are an advanced practitioner.
Start with your feet together.
Now, shift your body weight to your left leg and lift your right leg. Place the right foot on the inner thigh of your left leg.
Now, join your palms in namaste in front of your chest and raise it above your head.
Hold this position for a minute and repeat on the other side.
Strengthens the lower body.
Tadasana or mountain pose
Practice this asana on an empty stomach. Its benefits include improving your digestion, blood circulation and balance.
Start with your feet together.
Raise your hands up to the sky stretching your body.
Now slowly lift your heels and stand on your toes. Hold this position for about 30 to 60 seconds.
It prepares your body and calms your mind.
It improves overall body posture and creates self-awareness.
Matsyasana or fish pose
Fish pose or matsyasana has many benefits. It can strengthen your immunity and digestive system. It also helps you sleep better and relieves neck and shoulder pain.
Lie down on the mat with knees bent and feet flat.
Straighten your legs, and place your arms on either side of your ears/shoulders.
Exhale as you bend the elbows and push your upper body off the floor.
Lift the chest, and tilt your head backwards.
Place the crown of your head down.
Hold this pose for 5-8 counts and inhale as you rest your back on the floor.
Strengthens the neck.
Boosts digestive function.
Relieves neck and shoulder pain.
The power of pranayama
Breathing techniques in yoga are called pranayama and when done regularly they can have a powerful impact on your health and immune system. Bhastrika, Brahmari, Kapal Bhati and Anulom Vilom, help in building your body’s defense mechanism and also helps in healing and recovery.
(The author is a lifestyle coach & yoga preneur.)