Did you know yoga can strengthen your immune system? Asana practice improves your immunity in a variety of ways: It stimulates the lymphatic system, improves lung health, aids digestive fire, lowers stress, and improves sleep. Here are a few ways you can use yoga for immune system benefits.

Inversions and Folds for Lymphatic System Health

Practicing inversions and folds are some of the best ways yoga can help us boost our immunity.⁠ By going upside down, we increase movement of vital fluids throughout the body. This stimulates our lymphatic system (rasa in Ayurveda), which clears out toxins and circulates white blood cells throughout our bodies (white blood cells are our bodies’ primary defense against disease and infection). Inversions also help us circulate blood to our sinuses, which eases congestion and drains the lungs, protecting them from infection.⁠ 

If you're looking to boost your lymphatic system and clear out toxins, try incorporating these asanas into your practice:⁠

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) ⁠
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)⁠
  • Halasana (Plow Pose) ⁠
  • Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall)

Heart Openers for Lung Health and T-Cell Stimulation

Another way to improve our immunity is through asanas that expand and widen the chest. These poses, also known as heart openers, help defend against lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia by circulating blood around the chest and lungs, breaking up congestion, and spreading healthy cells throughout this area.⁠ Heart openers also help stimulate the thymus, an organ located behind the chest bone responsible for T-cell growth (a specific type of white blood cell that fights cold and flu antigens).⁠ 

Some immune-strengthening heart openers include:⁠

  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)⁠
  • Matsyasana (Fish Pose)⁠
  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)⁠

In addition, consider incorporating pranayama practice to strengthen the lungs and improve the flow of Prana.

Twists for Digestive Health

Our digestive systems play a major role in our immunity. In Ayurveda, digestion is closely related to agni (digestive fire). ⁠An imbalanced or impaired agni can lead to disease. To maintain a healthy digestive fire, we need to nourish our bodies with healthy food, eating habits, and lifestyle practices. Ayurvedic medicine and remedies can also help.

One of the ways yoga can kindle agni is through twisting poses, such as: 

  • Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)⁠
  • Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)⁠
  • Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)⁠
  • Jathara Parivartanasana (Reclined Spinal Twist)⁠ ⁠

Yoga Nidra for Rest

A restful night's sleep is necessary for a healthy immune system. ⁠Yoga practice naturally calms the nervous system and mind and has been shown to contribute to deeper sleep. We can also use yoga to practice rest during waking hours. Yoga nidra is a specific technique that supports physical, mental, and emotional relaxation, self-awareness, and restoration. It is said that a half-hour yoga nidra session is equivalent to 2-3 hours of deep sleep.⁠ Next time you need more rest, try attending a yoga nidra class.

All Yoga for Stress Relief

Stress severely compromises our immune system. Fortunately, nearly all types of yoga help us reduce stress. With regular practice, we can train our parasympathetic stress response to tolerate stress. We can also use single sessions to reduce current stress levels. 

Some of the best asanas for stress relief include:

  • Balasana (Child's Pose)
  • Savasana (Corpse Pose)
  • Marjaryasana / Bitilasana (Cat / Cow Pose)
  • Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
  • Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)

Laughter Yoga for Immunity

A good, genuine laugh has many mental health benefits, but it also boosts our physical immunity. According to Laughter Yoga founder Madan Kataria, laughter increases blood pressure, stimulates the circulatory system, and improves respiratory function. Laughter also increases endorphins ⁠and improves personal satisfaction. 

Ayurveda tells us that the mind has a profound influence on the body, so staying positive and mentally well is very important to immunity. If you're looking for a fun way to boost your physical and mental health for immunity, consider Laughter Yoga. 

To fully reap the benefits of yoga for immunity, remember that consistent practice is key. Over time, yoga strengthens our bodies and minds, which leads to strong natural defense mechanisms.

Elevate Your Immune-Boosting Yoga Practice with Chyawanprash

You might also consider supercharging your yoga practice with a morning dose of Chyawanprash, an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal jam made from a blend of:

You can take Chyawanprash as part of an immune-boosting Ayurvedic routine, slowly consuming 1-2 tsp at least 15 minutes before breakfast.
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