THE BLOG

Yoga for an Immune System 'Boost Up'

09/20/2013 11:17 am ET | Updated Nov 20, 2013

by Holly Walck, devoted Iyengar yoga student and teacher

There are countless studies that show that yoga improves immune functioning, most recently the one mentioned in a post here by Dr. Eliaz that describes "how yoga is actually working to benefit us on the genetic level."

The online Oxford English Dictionary defines immunity as "the ability of an organism to resist a particular infection or toxin by the action of specific antibodies." As human beings living in the world at this time, we are faced with many enemies to our own organic immunity (air, water, soil, and noise pollution, just to name a few).

One of my students told me that when her son is experiencing stress, he comes to her and asks for "a boost up," and she responds by holding him in her arms and asking him if he wants to share with her what's happening for him. When she told me this I thought, "Oh, yeah, that is what yoga feels like to me: a big embrace and an ongoing dialogue with myself."

The dialogue yoga ignites is about how to move beyond the perceived limitations of the body and the mind caused by pollutants to our own Divine nature. I have directly experienced that the practice of yoga is an organic immune system "boost-up" that provides me with natural ways to reduce the effects of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pollution.

To decide whether you should practice yoga, ask yourself if you need to do more of the following in your life:

  • Improve strength and stamina, both physical and mental
  • Increase body awareness and support healthy behaviors
  • Develop internal coping mechanisms and strategies for approaching challenging situations
  • Cultivate a compassionate relationship with yourself and others.
The philosophy of yoga states that direct experience is the highest form of right knowledge, which deepens our relationship to the practice itself. As the saying goes, "Yoga is to be known by Yoga and Yoga itself leads to Yoga. [One] who remains steadfast in Yoga always delights in it."

With PR like this, you can't resist trying the following "Boost-Up" yoga sequence for improved immunity:

Legs Spread Wide Apart Intense Stretch Pose (Prasarita Padottanasana)
and
Intense Stretch Pose (Uttanasana)

Together, these two poses:
* Stretch the backs of the legs and the spine
* Tone the abdominal muscles and organs
* Quiet the mind and cultivate mental stability.

Headstand (Sirsasana)
or this alternative:
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Either of these poses:
* Improves digestion
* Reduces fatigue
* Offers mental rejuvenation
* Builds emotional stability.

Chair Shoulderstand (Chair Salamba Sarvangasana) and Plough Pose (Halasana)
or this alternative:
Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani) and Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Either of these poses:
* Balance the functioning of the endocrine system
* Improve elimination and therefore reduce toxins
* Develop the proper functioning of the lungs
* Build peace of mind and a feeling of overarching wellness.

Deep Relaxtion Pose (Savasana)

BOOST-UP!

  • Brings profound rest to the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) and the entire body-mind
  • Opens the windows to the soul.
Holly Walck is a devoted student and teacher of Iyengar Yoga. She teaches public classes at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles. Read more about Holly at www.iyengaryogamalibu.com.

 

 

 

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