8 Yoga Poses to Boost Your Immunity
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8 Yoga Poses to Boost Your Immunity

Jump-start your immune system with these simple postures.

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The last thing anyone wants is a miserable cold -- or worse, the dreaded flu. But what if there were something you could do (aside from hand washing and vitamins) to help boost your immune system and possibly even keep you healthy? There is: yoga. We’re not saying that a few downward dogs will prevent you from getting sick. However, yoga can help relieve stress, promote relaxation, increase circulation, boost your mood and improve your physical health -- all of which can give you extra protection during cold and flu season. Here are eight simple yoga poses to try today.

Adept’s Pose (Siddhasana)

2 / 9 Adept’s Pose (Siddhasana)

When we get stressed, our bodies release stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) that make it harder to fight off illnesses. Relaxing in this meditative seated posture may help keep those hormones at bay so that your immune system can do its job.

How to do it: Get in a comfortable seated position with one leg crossed in front of the other. Pull the heel closest toward you into your groin. Sit up straight and elongate your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down. Relax your knees towards your mat. Place your hands on your knees, palms facing up. Breathe.

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

3 / 9 Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This simple resting posture increases circulation in the body because your head is lower than your heart. Promoting good circulation can help allow immune cells to flow freely so they can more effectively fight off infection.

How to do it: Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers wide. Push in to your base knuckles and finger pads, tuck your toes and press your legs straight. Your feet should be hips-width apart. Reach your heels towards the ground (it’s OK if they don’t touch). Widen your shoulder blades and tuck in your pelvis. Suck in your belly. Keep your neck long and gaze inward towards your belly button.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

4 / 9 Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

This mild backbend helps open your chest. Some experts say that this posture also stimulates the thymus, a gland that produces white blood cells (called T cells) that help the body fight off infection.

How to do it: Lie down flat on your stomach. Bend your elbows and place your hands flat beside your shoulders. Push your hands into the mat and straighten your arms. This will cause your back to arch. Press the tops of your feet firmly onto the floor and reach the crown of your head towards the sky.

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend with Arm Variation

5 / 9 Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend with Arm Variation

This asana or pose stretches your hamstrings without causing strain on your back. Forward folds are great for improving circulation, which may allow immune cells to move through the body more freely and efficiently.

How to do it: Stand on your mat with your legs wide apart. Turn your toes slightly inward and your heels slightly outward. Clasp your hands behind your back and pull your shoulders down. Bend forward at the hips, reaching the crown of your head towards your mat. Stretch your arms over your head towards the ground while keeping your shoulders away from your ears.

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend with a Twist Right

6 / 9 Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend with a Twist Right

This pose combines both a forward fold and a twist. Some yoga experts believe that twists are purifying and detoxifying because they can help improve circulation of the lymph system, which is responsible for filtering out bacteria and toxins in the body.

How to do it: Stand on your mat with your legs wide apart. Turn your toes slightly inward and your heels slightly outward. Push your left palm flat in the middle of your mat. Keep your back flat and lengthen your spine. Rotate and stretch your right arm straight towards the sky. Try not to twist your hips as you rotate.

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend with a Twist Left (Revolved Prasarita Padottanasana)

7 / 9 Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend with a Twist Left (Revolved Prasarita Padottanasana)

Now that you’ve twisted to your right, it’s time to balance your body out by twisting in the opposite direction. 

How to do it: Stand on your mat with your legs wide apart. Turn your toes slightly inward and your heels slightly outward. Push your right palm flat in the middle of your mat. Keep your back flat and lengthen your spine. Rotate and stretch your left arm straight towards the sky. Try not to twist your hips as you rotate.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

8 / 9 Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This gentle, calming backbend helps open up your heart and chest while also increasing blood circulation.

How to do it: Lie flat on your mat. Bend your knees and set your feet hip-width apart on the floor with your heels close to your butt. Push your arms and shoulders into the floor and lift your butt off the ground until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Clasp your hands underneath your butt and squeeze your shoulder blades. Make sure to keep your neck neutral as you continue to press firmly into your arms and shoulders. Try and keep your butt relaxed the entire time.

Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

9 / 9 Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

It may not seem like much, but this soothing, restorative posture helps calm the mind and relieves stress. Stress makes it harder for the body to fight infection. This rejuvenating posture encourages relaxation so that your immune system can remain strong.

How to do it: Lie down on your back with your butt close to -- or touching -- a wall. While keeping your back flat against the ground, extend your legs straight up the wall. Relax your arms to your sides with your palms facing up. Close your eyes and breathe.

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Yoga

Yoga is powerful in relieving stress and aids in musculoskeletal strength. Stretching, deep breathing and toning boosts energy levels and benefits circulation and flexibility. Learn more from our experts about yoga.