by Theresea Hughes
Amongst the long list of ‘I want…’ somewhere there should also be mentioned the want for a good, strong immune system for the body. We all want a toned and flexible body, glowing complexion, ideal body weight, shining hair and good health.
But most of us forget that to help keep a body healthy, toned and strong, an equally powerful immune system is required. Instead of depending on pills to boost your immune system, rediscover the natural and healthy method to bolster the resistance power from within, with yoga.
Our physical body is the manifestation of the matter, the mind and the spirit, all blended into one. Any irregularity in the normal functioning of the body affects the mind, and likewise, any negative thoughts manifests as a disorder of the body. This in turn affects the immune system. The benchmark of optimum health is a balanced and fully functional immune system.
Imbalance of the immune system could be due to a poor dietary habits, improper nutrition, environmental pollutants, leading a sedentary lifestyle along with daily stress and anxiety.
The daily practice of yoga to a large extent helps lessen, the day-to-day stress and strain of coping with a hectic life. When undergoing a stressful situation, the body automatically reacts to protect itself, to fight or to flee, by releasing large quantities of the chemicals, adrenaline, cortisol and noradrenaline, into the blood stream. This in turn compromises the digestive and immune systems while our breathing, heart rate and blood pressure increases.
Dhanurasana or the bow pose activates the thymus gland (responsible for producing T cells which defends the body from colds and flu) and strengthens the immune system.
Viparita Karani, or the inverted pose, directly stimulates the thyroid and the parathyroid glands, harmonizes metabolism, detoxifies blood, increases blood flow from the feet to the heart and thus strengthens the chest region.
Adho mukha shvanasana, the downward-facing dog pose, aids digestion, increases blood flow to the sinuses, soothes the tired muscles of the body and augments the immune system.
Setu Bandhasana, or the bridge pose, while strengthening the core and the lower body, helps boost the nervous and the endocrine system.
Matsyasana, the fish pose, is therapeutic for various respiratory complications and prompts the thyroid gland to work normally.
Yoga postures are gentle, and are yet, very effective physical exercises for the body. The yogasanas not only help decrease the stress chemicals in the blood, release the feel good chemical like endorphins, but also strengthens and helps build the immune system while calming the mind.
The amplified intake of more oxygen in the lungs during yoga, helps oxygenated blood to reach the internal organs faster, thus guaranteeing they operate at their best. This in turn galvanizes the lymphatic system to remove the toxins through breath, perspiration, excretion and urine and keep the body healthy.