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International Yoga Day: 6 Yoga Poses To Boost Your Immune System

Your immune system is a vast network of cells, tissues and organs that are constantly on the lookout for killing viruses, bacteria, parasites and more that try to attack the immune system, thus preventing infections.

Sometimes, your immune system tends to stop working due to various factors like stress, poor eating habits, and inactive lifestyle. In order to keep your immune system functioning properly, you need to do exercises like yoga which is an excellent way to help strengthen your immune system.

According to a research study published in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine, yoga aids in boosting your immune system and lowers inflammation in the body [1] .

Yoga Poses To Boost Your Immune System

1. Child pose (Shishuasana) [2]

The child pose works by decongesting the chest and building a better immune system. It also has other benefits such as relieving constipation, relaxing the back, and calming down the nervous system.

How to do:

  • Sit on your heels, place your hips on the heels, bend forward and put your forehead down on the floor.
  • Keep your arms beside your body with hands on the floor and palms facing upwards.
  • Gently press your chest on the thighs.
  • Hold for a few minutes and inhale and exhale.

Note: If you have a back or knee injury avoid this pose.

2. Fish pose (Matsyasana) [3]

This yoga asana allows you to expand your chest and stimulate the thymus. This aids in enhancing the body's immunity level. It also stretches the neck, tones the pituitary gland, relieves tension in the shoulders and neck, and brings relief from respiratory disorders.

How to do:

  • Lie on your back, keep your feet together and hands relaxed beside the body.
  • Place your hands under your hips with your palms facing down.
  • Inhale, lift the head and chest up with your head lightly touching the floor and keep your legs intact on the floor.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can, inhale and exhale.

Note: People with high or low blood pressure, migraine and insomnia should avoid fish pose.

3. Plow pose (Halasana) [4]

Plow pose is a backward bend pose that increases the release of white blood cells in the body and strengthens the immune system. It also stimulates the thyroid glands, tones the legs, calms the nervous system, and strengthens the back muscles, neck, and shoulders.

How to do:

  • Lie on your back with your arms beside you and palms faced down.
  • As you inhale, use your abdominal muscles to lift your legs off the floor vertically at a 90-degree angle.
  • Breathe normally and slowly turn your legs to a 180-degree angle over your head till your toes touch the floor.

Note: If you have high blood pressure or a neck injury avoid this pose.

4. Bow pose (Dhanurasana) [5]

Bow pose stimulates the flow of white blood cells by putting pressure on the digestive system. It also expands the chest, neck and shoulders, tones the legs and arm muscles, strengthens the abdominal muscles and back, fights stress and provides relief from menstrual discomfort and constipation.

How to do:

  • Lie on your stomach with your feet hip wide apart and your arms by the side of your body.
  • Fold your knees, take your hands backwards and hold your ankles.
  • Inhale, look straight ahead, lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs backwards and forwards.
  • After 15-20 seconds as you exhale, slowly bring your legs and chest to the ground.

Note: Avoid bow pose if you have a headache or migraine, low back pain, hernia, neck injury, and high or low blood pressure.

5. Cobra pose (Bhujangasana) [6]

This yoga asana opens up your chest which further aids in releasing white blood cells that boost the body's immunity. The cobra pose also tones the abdomen, improves flexibility in the middle and upper back, improves blood circulation and lowers stress and fatigue, etc.

How to do:

  • Lie on your stomach with your toes flat on the floor.
  • Keep your hands in front with your palms facing downwards under your shoulders.
  • Take a deep breath and slowly lift your head, chest and abdomen.
  • Breathe out and gently bring back your head, chest and abdomen to the floor.

Note: Avoid this pose if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

6. Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana) [7]

The bridge pose increases energy in the body and builds better body resistance against pathogens. It also opens up the heart vessels and improves blood circulation.

How to do:

  • Lie on your back and fold your knees with knees and ankles in a straight line.
  • Keep your arms beside your body with your palms facing downwards.
  • Inhale, slowly lift your back off the floor.
  • Keep breathing and hold this posture for at least 2 minutes.

Note: Avoid this pose if you are suffering from back and neck injuries.

View Article References
  1. [1] Falkenberg, R. I., Eising, C., & Peters, M. L. (2018). Yoga and immune system functioning: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.Journal of behavioral medicine,41(4), 467-482.
  2. [2] Child Pose (Shishuasana). Retrieved from https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/yoga-poses/child-pose-shishuasana on June 21, 2019
  3. [3] Fish pose (Matsyasana). Retrieved from https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/yoga-poses/fish-pose on June 21, 2019
  4. [4] Plow pose (Halasana). Retrieved from https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/yoga-poses/plough-pose on June 21, 2019
  5. [5] Bow pose (Dhanurasana). Retrieved from https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/yoga-poses/bow-pose-dhanurasana on June 21, 2019
  6. [6] Cobra pose (Bhujangasana). Retrieved from https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/yoga-poses/cobra-pose-bhujangasana on June 21, 2019
  7. [7] Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana). Retrieved fromhttps://www.artofliving.org/yoga/yoga-poses/bridge-posture-setu-bandhasana on June 21, 2019

Story first published: Friday, June 21, 2019, 16:00 [IST]
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