This month we are dedicating our blog posts to the topic of immunity! We can increase our immunity by giving our bodies plenty of rest, proper exercise, proper hygiene, an abundance of clean water, and whole foods. Throughout this month our practitioners will be covering these different aspects on boosting the immune system.
We know that yoga helps to strengthen muscles, but did you know a regular yoga practice also strengthens the systems that are not visible to the eye?
Studies have shown that Hatha Yoga reduces pro-inflammatory markers. Yoga helps to heal our physical bodies in many different ways such as:
- Improves circulation, making the heart a more efficient pump and maintaining the elasticity of arteries
- Tones the respiratory system, increasing exchanges of oxygen and carbon dioxide, helping the body to eliminate wastes
- Aids elimination by promoting the flow of perspiration and movement of the intestines
- Stimulates release of endorphins in the brain, fighting depression and improving mood
- Neutralizes stress, allowing greater relaxation and sounder sleep
The air we breathe converts into energy that fuels our cells. We know that the way we breathe matters – but how do our breathing habits influence our immunity?
If we have poor posture, it is more than likely that we are not able to breathe at optimal capacity. If we slouch, we are unable to breathe from our belly so we breathe from the chest. Hunching and compressing our diaphragm signals our body to keep activating our stress response. Breathwork can help to improve the efficiency of our lungs by conditioning and increasing elastictiy, strengthening the whole lung. And having strong lungs helps prevent against infection, thus improving our immunity.
Rest + De-stress
Our bodies are designed to move. But activity must be balanced by rest. Yoga helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and sleep is crucial for wellness. Sleep is very important in the healing process and contributes to a healthy immune system. When deep sleep is lacking, our brains are not able to operate at their highest potential.
The state of your mind directly influences your physical health. Yoga helps to lower stress hormones that compromise our immune system. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system and slowing down the thoughts of the mind, the immune system settles from attack mode, decreasing mucus and inflammation.
Pictured below are yoga poses that will help strengthen us connect our body and environment. Move slowly from posture to posture, and be sure to breathe DEEPLY and FULLY into each one.
Our outside world is a direct reflection of what we are experiencing on the inside. We create our reality, so it is our responsibility to show up for our own well-being. The following exercise can be done with the intention to aid in the healing of a compromised immune system or just as a preventative measure.
In your favorite journal, write down an aspect of yourself or your life that you’d like to heal. Close your eyes, and imagine in your mind’s eye that part of you or your life is already healed.
Write the following affirmations in your journal or say them aloud:
- I choose to heal from the inside out.
- I choose to love and accept myself.
- I choose to love and honor my body.
- Healing myself is helping to heal the world
- I’m connected to everything, so any healing that I do, is likely to benefit the whole.
- Rather than to just heal with symptoms, I’m going to the root of the problem – allowing myself to heal.
- I am clearing everything that is not love.
- I am releasing the fear that gets in the way of my healing.
- I am releasing fear at a cellular level.
- The more fear I clear, the more love I reveal.
Whatever may be going on outside, if we are aware of it, it is a reflection of something going on within us. So if we want to make a change on the outside, the best place to start is the inside. After writing your affirmations, take a few minutes to sit in silence and scan your body. Notice the areas in your body where you feel restricted, blocked, lack of energy. Then, notice the areas in your body where you feel more open and relaxed. Notice the areas of your body that want your attention, and listen to whatever messages may come through for you. Breathe slow, deep breaths. As we continue to strengthen our connection to our physical body, our environment, and Source, we begin to heal our lives in all aspects. Invite love to heal your body.
Additional Tips for Staying Healthy
- Drink plenty of clean water throughout the day
- Allow yourself to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night
- Include more vegetables in your diet
- Meditate regularly
- Minimize stressors
- Develop a gratitude practice
- Say or write positive affirmations daily (ex. I am healthy. My immune system is strong. I am full of vitality.)
Spontaneous Healing by Andrew Weil, M.D.