There are more than 200 different viruses that can enter our body at any given moment. In our hectic, everyday lives, we're prone to runny noses, coughs, head colds, stomach aches and many other illnesses.
Proper hygeine and healthy eating habits can reduce the risk of common sicknesses, but we don't have to stop there. Yoga can also help us fight infections by boosting our immune system, reducing stress and strengthening our body's functions and systems.
Psychological stress doubles the chance of a person getting a cold when nasal passage are invaded by cold causing viruses. Yoga 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.
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.
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 breathe deeply into each one. Some beneficial postures include include pranayama, half moon, cobra, bow and camel. With a strong, focused and revitalized immune system, you'll find you're able to resist those everyday common sicknesses and effectively fight off infections.