Our global crisis brings the topic of health and wellness to an entirely new level. It makes staying healthy matter more than ever before, yet at the same time it limits our opportunities to do all the things we usually rely on to stay well, maintain fitness and relieve stress.
As a wellness consultant for personal and corporate clients, I’m always thinking about ways to support all aspects of a person’s wellness, including strategies to strengthen the immune system, alleviate anxiety and fear, and to help people learn how to access, transform and heal their emotions.
For that reason, I’d like to offer some basic ideas from the yoga tradition that you can use to support and protect your health—and that of your families, friends and employees—during this difficult time and beyond.
Yoga is Designed to Support Our Immune Systems
Many don’t realize that yoga is actually a science of ancient practices that came into being to deal with the difficulties, demands and stresses human beings have faced in their daily lives for millennia. Its many practices support our immune systems, foster a higher level of healing and improve our overall health. And best of all, it offers so many sensible, nurturing and simple strategies for times like today that it can be a source of hope and promise for us all.
To stay well, what really matters are the personal choices you make every single day. This includes nourishing your body, sustaining your vital energy, building your immunity, maintaining your mental health and supporting your spiritual purpose and emotional growth. Most significantly, remember there’s a powerful inner knowledge within you that you can use to derive strength, courage and support—no matter what the circumstances.
The practices and tools below can be a reference point to find faith and hope. Try them. Find out what works for you and what doesn’t. Trust your choices. But most significantly, embrace the practices you find effective and comforting and use them to stay well and be strong.
5 Yoga Practices for Self-Care and Immunity
One of the greatest gifts of yoga is its many time-honored and therapeutic practices designed to support the immune system and help us build defenses to resist anything harmful we encounter. To accomplish this, yoga practices can affect the autonomic nervous system in ways that either stimulate activation and strength, promote relaxation or create a state of balance.
Understanding and applying the five practices below, can help you achieve these protective benefits:
- Moving Your Body: Movement is fundamental for circulation and balanced growth throughout your life. These two practices help get you moving while building your immunity.
2. Focusing Your Breath: Breathing is a powerful way to regenerate your immune system and build stability and strength.
- “Analoma Ujjayi and Viloma Ujjayi” is a 5-minute breathing practice designed to create a peaceful yet focused state of body and mind.
- Meditating: Meditation calms your mind and helps you remain peaceful while maintaining a state of focused attention.
- “Tuning In” can be done in any time frame and includes movement, meditation and self-inquiry to help you shift your state from distraction to expansion.
- Engaging Emotionally: Intentionally taking time to tune in to your physical and emotional state helps involve you in the immediacy of your life.
- “Standing in the Flow” can be done anytime, day or night, to bring a felt presence to your emotional awareness.
- Connecting with Spiritual Purpose: Faith in yourself is an important element in yoga, and it comes from the trust you have in your highest self.
- “Faith—Returning to Oneself” is a short technique you can use after any practice to deepen your inner experience and bring your awareness back to the self.
Find over 60 healing practices for your body and mind.
Get Bija’s book Emotional Yoga: How the Body Can Heal the Mind (Simon & Schuster)
“Bija has a profound gift for making the spirit of yoga accessible.”
– Deepak Chopra