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Want to boost immunity naturally? ‘Practice yoga’, says educator

Yoga is a comprehensive practice that promotes mental clarity, emotional balance, and spiritual growth



In the fast-paced world we live in, maintaining optimal health and a strong immune system has never been more crucial. One holistic approach that has gained immense popularity is yoga. With its origins rooted in ancient India, yoga is not merely a physical practice but a way of life that encompasses physical postures, breath control, meditation, and ethical principles.

And this fact was driven home when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in 2020. It contributed to our being conscious of our immunity in a number of ways. It has made us more aware of the importance of supporting our immune systems. There are many things we can do to support our immune systems, such as eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.

Yoga transcends the boundaries of physical fitness; it’s a comprehensive practice that promotes mental clarity, emotional balance, and spiritual growth. In today’s world, where stressors are abundant and mental well-being is at risk, yoga offers a sanctuary of calmness. Regular yoga practice helps manage stress, anxiety, and depression, which are known to weaken the immune system. By calming the mind, yoga sets the stage for a healthier body and stronger immunity.

Students, immersed in the demands of academics and extracurricular activities, often neglect their health. Engaging in yoga can be particularly beneficial for students. The physical postures, or asanas, enhance flexibility, strength, and balance – attributes often disregarded during busy student lives. Moreover, yoga improves concentration and cognitive function, facilitating better learning experiences. By incorporating yoga into their daily routine, students can lay the foundation for a healthier adulthood.

Vijender Mahalwal, Sports and Yoga Teacher at Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, said that while exercising is good for the body, especially if you want to build your body, but when it comes to building immunity, every organ in the body needs to be exercised, and that is possible only through yogic asanas.

“There is a strong link between yoga and immune system enhancement. This is because yoga has a multifaceted impact on the body. The practice improves blood circulation, which promotes the efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells and organs. This strengthens the immune system’s ability to identify and combat any illnesses,” Mahalwal explained.

Research shows that yoga encourages the production of lymphocytes and antibodies, which are integral components of the immune response. The deep breathing techniques in yoga like pranayama, oxygenate the body, aiding in toxin elimination and bolstering the immune system’s capacity to ward off infections.

“It has been found that pranayamas like Bharamari, Anulom Vilom, and Kapalabhati can increase a person’s immunity. Basically, when you do these deep breathing exercises, you are taking in a lot of oxygen, which then goes to different organs in the body and removes toxins. This boosts the body’s overall system,” Mahalwal opined.

Instilling healthy habits in children is crucial for their future well-being. To encourage children to embrace yoga, parents and educators can adopt a playful and engaging approach. Integrating storytelling into yoga sessions can make the practice more appealing to kids. Creating a dedicated space for yoga, filled with colorful mats and props, can make the experience enjoyable. Family yoga sessions can foster a sense of togetherness while promoting a healthy lifestyle from an early age.

When you do deep breathing exercises, you are taking in a lot of oxygen, which then goes to different organs in the body and removes toxins. This boosts the body’s overall system

Vijender Mahalwal, Sports and Yoga Teacher at Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park

Tadasana (Palm Tree pose):  It is a foundational standing yoga posture that forms the basis for many other yoga poses. It is often used as a starting position in yoga sequences and is practiced to promote alignment, balance, and a sense of grounding.

Chakrasana (wheel pose): It is a dynamic and energizing backbend yoga posture that opens up the front of the body while providing a deep stretch to the spine, chest, and hip flexors.

Sarvangasana (shoulder stand): It is a revered yoga pose that offers a multitude of physical and mental benefits. This asana is categorised as an inversion, where the body is positioned upside down, and it’s often considered the “queen of asanas” due to its transformative effects.

Pashchimottanasana (sitting forward bending): It is a seated yoga pose that provides a deep stretch to the muscles along the back of the body, particularly the hamstrings and lower back.

Bhujangasana (cobra pose): It is a beginner-friendly yoga asana that stretches and strengthens the muscles of the back, shoulders, and chest. It is included in yoga sequences to promote flexibility and mobility in the spine; it also opens up the chest and improves posture.

While yoga offers a plethora of benefits, certain precautions should be taken, especially when focusing on boosting immunity. It’s essential to listen to one’s body and avoid overexertion. Beginners should start with simple postures and gradually progress to more complex ones. Avoid rapid transitions between asanas to prevent strain or injury.

“The most important point to keep in mind while practicing yoga is to NEVER overdo it. If the child has a pre-existing health issue, it is important to first determine what kind of asanas he/she can do. Consult your paediatrician before your child begins a yoga regimen. It is just as important to balance your asanas. For instance, if you bend forward in one asana, it is equally necessary to bend backward. Again, DON’T overdo it. Yoga relies on doing asanas with proper breathing exercises. Doing this incorrectly can cause more harm than good. Perform these asanas under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor until you become proficient,” Mahalwal emphasised.

Warm-Up: Always begin with gentle warm-up exercises to prepare the body for the practice. This helps prevent injuries and enhances the effectiveness of the asanas.

Alignment: Correct alignment in postures is crucial to avoid strain. Improper alignment can lead to injuries and hinder the flow of energy in the body.

Rest and Recovery: Adequate rest between sessions is essential. Pushing the body beyond its limits can have adverse effects on both physical and immune health.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.