How Yoga Can Boost Your Immune System

Good-bye bikinis, beach towel and summer coolers. Hello jackets, scarves and gloves.

Labor Day weekend has passed and transitioned us to the autumn season full of school, work, football and holiday parties. The fall can also be a season when we come into contact with and become more vulnerable to germs, bacteria and viruses causing contagious colds and flus.

Colds and flus tend to be prevalent in the fall because the cold temperature thins our nasal lining and becomes more susceptible to infection. There are more than 200 viruses that enter our body and can infect the cells and nose that send inflammatory alarms to the body to produce more white blood cells. White blood cells then emit immune system chemicals that can cause swollen nasal membranes and reduce essential proteins and fluids in the body.

The result: runny noses, hacking coughs, head colds, tummy aches and more.

Luckily our yoga practice can help us fight these infections and bacteria's by boosting our immune system, reducing stress and strengthening our body functions and systems.

Stress

Psychological stress doubles the chance of a person getting a cold when nasal passage are invaded by cold causing viruses. Our yoga practice helps lower our stress hormones and calms the nervous system, which compromises our immune system. Through relaxation, the nervous system can tell the immune system to settle down and stop attacking the foreign bodies, which are naturally cleared out by sneezing once or twice a day. When the immune system backs off, inflammation and mucus decrease and symptoms diminish.

Repertory System

Colds are caused by bacteria that affect the upper respiratory system, causing stuffiness, coughing, and sore throat. If the immune system is weak, the bacteria can go into the lungs and cause bronchitis or pneumonia. Yoga is one of the main tools for maintaining the health of our respiratory system. Breathing technique and asana (posture) help improve the mechanical efficiency of our lungs by conditioning the repertory tract that increase the elasticity and strength of the whole lung. This in turn helps prevent infection. 

Vital Organs

Most of us sit at a desk all day without getting proper circulation to our organs. This can cause blockages and buildups of toxins and mucus that stimulate breakdowns in the body and its systems. In our asanas different organs and glands are placed in carious anatomical positions that are supplied with fresh blood, gently massaged, relaxed, toned and stimulated. The increase of oxygen levels in the blood to various organs for optimal function. 

Muscle and Joints

While the outside air can cause dry skin, stiff joints and chill in our bones, asanas will help to lubricate our joints with synovial fluid and while stabilizing muscles through strengthening exercises.

In your next class focus on postures that open the chest and breath deeply into each one. Some beneficial postures include include pranayama, half moon, cobrabow and camel.  Remember with a strong, focused and revitalized immune system, you'll find you're able to resist those autumn colds and throw off winter's infections more readily.

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Anna Roberts McMurray specializes in creating and implementing fitness programs designed to achieve the health and fitness goals of her clients safely and efficiently.

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