The Covid pandemic has brought the topic of health and wellness to an entirely new level. This global crisis makes staying healthy matter more than ever before; at the same time, it has limited the opportunities to do what we usually rely on to stay well, such as maintaining our fitness and relieving 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. This includes strategies to strengthen the immune system, alleviate anxiety and fear and help people learn how to access, transform and heal their body and mind.
Here are some basic ideas from the yoga tradition 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 Immunity
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 system, foster a higher level of healing and improve our overall health. 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 Immunity Boosting Yoga Practices
One of the greatest gifts of yoga is its many time-honored and therapeutic practices designed to support the immune system. They help us build defenses to resist physical stress such as colds and flu, as well as emotional stress that can also affect our health. We accomplish this with; yoga postures, breathing techniques, and other practices that can affect the autonomic nervous system in ways that either stimulate activation and strength, promote relaxation or create a state of balance.
1. Move Your Body
Movement is fundamental for blood flow, a healthy respiratory system, and balanced growth throughout your life. These two practices help get you moving while building your immunity.
2. Focus Your Breath
Breathing is a powerful way to build stability and strength. Practicing pranayama for the immune system benefits can be restorative to the body.
- “Analoma Ujjayi and Viloma Ujjayi” is a 5-minute breathing practice designed to create a peaceful yet focused state of body and mind.
3. Practice Meditation
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.
4. Engage 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” is a self-inquiry meditation that can be done anytime, day or night, to bring a felt presence to your emotional awareness.
5. Connect 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 meditation technique you can use after any practice to deepen your inner experience and bring your awareness back to the self.
Self-Care Helps You Stay Well, Be Strong, and Improve Immunity
Understanding and applying these strategies can help you achieve protective health benefits such as an improved immune system and mental resilience, to keep your body both physically and emotionally fit. Resilience as well as personal well-being, like all good practices, begin at home with you.
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)