Fall is, officially, only a few weeks away! And as much as I love the cooler weather and beautiful foliage, the changing seasons also bring a greater risk of getting sick—at least for me. In an attempt to ward off illness, stay active in a new city and just be a bit healthier, I’ve been practicing yoga more often.
Yoga has been shown to yield positive health results, aside from increased flexibility and relaxation. So before seasonal illnesses can even begin to wreak havoc on your health, incorporate these poses into your daily routine to help bolster your immune system.
Photo by Fotolia/f9photos.
Child’s Pose (Shishuasana)
Child’s Pose is by far one of the easiest and most relaxing yoga poses around. It’s also great for cold and flu season because it requires very little exertion (if you’re already feeling under the weather) and the forward fold position can help with decongestion.
Simply kneel on your yoga mat, bring your toes together and widen at the knees (if necessary). Gently fold forward at the hips, keeping your arms at your sides, and bringing your forehead as close to the mat as possible.
Photo by Fotolia/kegfire.
Cobra is my favorite lower back and abdominal stretch. Plus, it always leaves me feeling a bit bendier and energized when I’m done. It’s also a chest opening pose that assists in stimulating the thymus, an organ located behind the breast bone, which is responsible for T-cell production (these are the body’s first line of defense against illness).
Lie flat on your stomach, place your hands underneath your shoulders and push your upper body off the mat. Be sure to keep your thighs and the tops of feet on the mat, pressing down through these areas to create the stretch. Hold for 2-3 breaths before releasing the pose.
Photo by Fotolia/GVS.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward Facing Dog may not always feel like a simple yoga pose, but it’s a miracle worker for increasing circulation, stretching tight leg muscles and allowing you space to breath. It’s also perfect for cold and flu season; due to the slight inversion, this yoga pose will help drain blocked sinuses.
Photo by Fotolia/julief514.
Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
A modified shoulder stand, Legs-Up-The-Wall can help alleviate a number of common ailments. However, if you’re battling seasonal woes, this pose may cure headaches often associated with colds, bronchitis and other upper respiratory illnesses.
Skull Shining Breath (Kapalabhati)
This pranayama—or breathing exercise—is one to have in your arsenal of calming, every day practices. Skull Shining Breath is an internal cleansing technique that is said to detoxify and bring our bodies into complete balance. When used for boosting immunity, Kapalabhati increases respiratory function and aids in eliminating mucus.
Who knew boosting the immune system could be as simple as a few deep, cleansing breathes? Definitely, not me!
If you need assistance executing any of these poses on their own or without going through a full yoga sequence, check out Yoga Outlet for easy-to-follow instructions.