International Yoga Day 2020: The present COVID - 19 crisis has made us realise the importance of a good immune system. While yoga as a practice is well-known for its many mental and physical benefits, now it has also emerged as one of the key immunity boosters. The Ministry of AYUSH has specially mentioned yoga and meditation in its self-care guidelines as one of the key preventive measures that can boost immunity.
Numerous studies have shown that yoga helps in immunomodulation. It is an immune response. It is altered to the desired level. Yoga helps in decreasing both basal level of inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α (Tumor necrosis factor-alpha) and IL-6 (interleukin-6). It also inhibits their increase to moderate and strenuous exercise. Low levels of inflammatory cytokines help in prevention and management of chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.
- Yoga also increases NK (natural killer) cells, thus helping in killing cancer cells.
- It helps in stimulating thymus, an organ which releases T lymphocytes which helps in building up immunity.
Stress leads to an increase in stress hormones through the activation of the HPA ( hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis. Yoga helps in decreasing stress hormone levels and thus decreases the adverse effects of stress hormone on various body organs. Pranayam is a basic yoga practice which helps lung to take in more oxygen expel carbon dioxide. It leads to better oxygenation of the blood and better oxygen supply to various body organs.
Yoga Asana For Immunity – Perform These 4 Asanas For Enhanced Immunity
There are numerous types of yogasans, and they help the body in some way or other, i.e. relaxation, toning of muscles, the flexibility of joints, strengthening of connective tissues, better oxygenation because of better breathing practices. Also, they help in boosting immunity and preventing disease. Some of the asanas which help boost immunity are:
Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
- Lie on stomach with toes flat, and forehead on the ground
- Keep legs closed together. Place hands under the shoulder.
- Pull torso off the floor. Ensure that equal pressure is put on both the palms
- Keep breathing
- Do not stretch more than the body’s capacity.
- Breathe in and out
Matsyasana (Fish pose)
- Lie on the back with legs apart
- Bring legs and hands together, with palms out, and over the head. Point toes out and stretch the body.
- Repeat the movement twice and make sure the breathing is done properly
- Keep hands under glutes and lift body resting on the elbow.
- Arch the back, feet together and relax. Focus on your breathing here.
- Bring head back up and look at toes. Drop your body in a slow movement
- Come back to normal sleeping position and start again.
Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
- Lie on stomach and feet hip-width apart.
- Fold knees and hold ankles.
- Inhale, lift chest and take legs off the ground.
- Look straight, and stretch without showing any stress on the face
- Hold the pose, breathe and try to relax in the pose.
Trikonasana (Triangle pose)
- Stand straight with legs apart.
- Right foot to be placed outside 90 degrees and the other at 15 degree
- Feet should be pressing the ground and weight on both sides equal.
- Take a deep breath, bend body from the right side, keeping the waist straight. Lift left hand up and right hand touching the toe. Form a straight line with both the hands.
- Remember bending the body sideways only. Stretch, inhale and come up and exhale.
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