Strengthen your Immunity with Yoga
A fully functional immune system is important for optimum health. There are many things that effect the immune system's efficiency. These factors can be positive or negative.
Our immune system consists of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body and fight off infections and diseases. These defensive cells are located in our white blood cells. They are transferred around the body by the lymphatic system.
The lymph nodes move through the body by muscle contractions, unlike blood, which is pumped naturally by the heart.
Echinacea is a great herb to strengthen the immune system. It works naturally, by helping your body prevent and destroy germs, bacteria and viruses from causing illness.
There is one animal in the world that never gets cancer. It's the shark. That's because it's in constant motion. It even moves it's fins while sleeping. We can learn from the shark, that physical activity is a good way to help prevent cancer.
Physical movement, such as yoga is a great way to get your lymph flowing. Certain yoga postures, such as inversions affect gravity. (When your head is below the heart). This helps lymph move into your respiratory organs, where germs and infections often enter the body. When you return upright, gravity drains the lymph and cleanses out your system. This improves your immunity and strengthens your ability to fight off disease.
Here are 6 yoga postures that should be practiced on a regular basis to build a strong immunity.
Be sure to hold each posture for a few minutes to gain the most benefit. Breath deeply in each posture, in order to send out oxygen throughout the body for proper cleansing.
This pose sends out energy throughout the body. It provides a great inversion, by increasing circulation. It's a great lengthener and strengthener. It stretches the calves, hamstrings, back, shoulders and abdominal muscles. Like all poses, Downward Dog helps develop openness and flexibility when practiced often.
Steps for Downward dog
- Make sure heels are hip width apart and parallel to the floor.
- Press your fingers into the mat with equal weight on both hands.
- keep your shoulders away from your ears.
- Relax your head and neck.
- Pull your abdominals towards your spine.
- Hold this pose for eight breathes, then rest in child's pose.
This pose boosts immunity. Your head is lower then you heart, therefore you recieve more circulation to the face. Child's Pose also stretches the low back, massages and tones the abdominal organs, and stimulates digestion and elimination.
Steps for Child's pose
- Knees are at least hip width apart.
- Rest your front ribs on the tops of your thighs.
- Forehead is a great stretch is on the floor. Heels are apart, big toes touching.
- Arms can be down by the feet (palms facing up), or arms can be extended forward. (palms facing down).
- Press hands and feel your sitting bones on the mat.
- Hold this pose for about 10 deep breathes.
Straddle forward bend
Forward Bends are very soothing. They encourage the face to drop, therefore the head receives more blood, oxygen and vital nutrients.
Steps for Straddle Forward Bend
- Stand with feet in a wide stance. (if you were to stretch out your arms, your ankles would be in line with your wrists)
- Keep feet parallel.
- Bend forward from the hips.
- Seat bones should be lifted up to the ceiling, and crown of head towards the mat.
- Make sure legs are straight and not hyper extended.
- Place your hands on your hips.
This pose is an energizing inversion. It stimulates the pituitary gland, which governs blood pressure, regulates water in the body, metabolism, sex organ function and thyroid function. Include Head Stand in your practice often and hold it for as long as you can to gain the most benefit.
Steps for headstand
(You can do this pose against a wall.)
- Place your forearms with your fingers interlocked and elbows in front of knees on the mat.
- Place the crown of your head between the interlocked fingers. Wrap the hands around the head to make a firm support to protect your head.
- Lift the knees and buttocks off the floor and straighten the legs.
- Slowly walk the feet as close as possible to the head. Transfer your body weight from the toes on the head and arms, maintaining balance.
- Raise one leg at a time, to reach the wall.
- Slowly straighten the whole body, as it should be in one straight line, with your feet relaxed.
- Close your eyes and relax in this pose.
- When done return to the starting position.
This pose stimulates the spinal nerves and and strengthens your spine and back. It increases the blood supply and provides healthy nourishment for your internal organs and improves overall blood circulation within the body. Plough Pose helps to develop mental poise and inner balance.
Steps for plough pose
- Lie on your back with your legs stretched out and your arms by your sides.
- Bring one knee into your chest at a time.
- Straighten and raise one leg at a time and point your feet upwards.
- Exhale and kick your legs upwards reaching behind your head. Do not let your hips pass your shoulders.
- When your comfortable in the pose, hold for 5 seconds. (Can be held up to 5 minutes if advanced).
- To come out of the pose, slowly roll your back onto the mat vertebra by vertebra, from top to bottom. Bend your knees and stretch out your legs and rest.
This pose strengthens your abdominal muscles and opens up the hips. It stimulates the thyroid and pituitary glands, therefore improving your overall health. As you stretch in Wheel Pose, you're also improving your flexibility.
Steps for Wheel Pose
- Lying on your back, keep your heels flat on the floor, parallel to the floor and close to your sitting bones.
- Finger tips should point towards you.
- Keep your feet hip width apart.
- Slowly come on top of your head, push with your hands and feet into the mat and lift your body.
- Open your chest.
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