Yoga is an ancient discipline and a way of life that does wonders for the body, mind, and soul, with long-lasting benefits that stay with us even long after the class is done.
With the worldwide pandemic and uncertainty caused by Covid-19, learning how to implement immune-boosting and stress reducing techniques into our lives has become of the utmost importance. Here’s how yoga can help.
1. Releasing Tension and Reducing Stress
One of the most known benefits of yoga is its ability to calm the mind and bring an overall sense of peace and stillness into the body. Whether you take an invigorating power yoga class, a flowy vinyasa, or a gentle yin, your breath and focus will guide your movements, helping you get rid of all distractions and allowing you to be in the present moment.
After the class is done and you’re lying in savasana (corpse pose), you’ll be able to feel all the energy running through your body and the vibrations from all of your cells, communicating, working, and healing you from the inside out.
Stress and tension are one of the biggest culprits of inflammation in the body and they are also one of the greatest enemies of our immune system, making it work twice as hard to fight whatever threat we might encounter and leaving us at risk of viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms lurking in our environment.
2. Boosting The Immune System
When our bodies are in a stressed state, our nervous system is in “fight or flight” mode, always alert and ready to fight, with all our senses heightened and active. If we’re in that state for the majority of our time, our bodies never get the chance to rest, digest, refuel, and recharge, leaving us completely depleted and fatigued. And that’s when our immune system is the most exposed.
Yoga and the deep, calming yogic breath help us protect our immune system from getting overwhelmed by targeting our parasympathetic nervous system and allowing our bodies to enter the “rest and digest” mode, giving all of our cells the opportunity to regenerate and recharge.
3. Stimulating The Digestive System
Yoga moves all parts of the body in different planes and positions, targeting each muscle and joint, so that the energy doesn’t get stuck anywhere. By stimulating our digestive system, it’s helping us properly break down food and absorb as many nutrients as we can, gently nudging our intestines to do their work.
When we have digestive problems, our body gets inflamed and alarmed, trying to fix whatever is happening and causing reflux, bloat, constipation, diarrhea, cramps, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Left untreated, it can wreak havoc on our entire body and prevent our food from being fully digested, leaving us depleted in crucial macro and micronutrients.
Specific yoga poses such as twists and forward folds can furthermore stimulate our digestive system by massaging our inner organs and giving them the help they need to function properly.
4. Releasing Toxins and Reducing Water Retention
When inflammation occurs in our body, one of the most common reactions is water retention. Yoga helps reduce the amount of water stuck in our body by stimulating our lymphatic system to flush it out, and with it, as many toxins as possible.
Our lymphatic system and our liver deal with the toxins and when they get overwhelmed, they need some help from outside sources to efficiently do their job. That’s where detox diets and herbal teas come in handy, but only so much can be achieved without physical movement.
Yoga offers a safe way to gently release the toxins without doing too much or too little, simply working in conjunction with our bodies and not against it. It doesn’t do the job for you, but it does it with you.
Our lives have been turned upside down and the fear and anxiety over this unknown virus with uncertain consequences are, unsurprisingly, higher each day. Let yoga help you deal with it in the best possible and non-invasive way, allowing you to find peace and calm in the presence of your own breath and movement.