With flu season officially underway and the coronavirus spreading, we all want to do everything we can to boost our immune system and stay healthy. You may be someone who prefers to avoid populated places like the gym or group classes, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop your regular fitness routine. Staying active and balanced in your mind and body is key to staying healthy. Washing your hands often and taking vitamins are a given, but did you know that you can also give your body a leg up by doing certain immune system boosting yoga poses?
The following yoga poses stimulate the lung, heart and internal-organ meridians. They also help release toxins and stimulate blood flow, giving your immune system the boost it needs during these tumultuous times. Hold each pose for at least one minute as you breathe deeply. (I am 27 weeks pregnant and these poses are all safe to do as long as you have a healthy pregnancy and have been active pre-pregnancy.)
1. Wide Knee Child’s Pose with Twist
This is like regular Child’s Pose but with your knees spread apart wider than your shoulders. Allow your belly and chest to sink down into the floor as you reach your arms forward. Take one arm and reach across your chest to one side, palm down as you place the other arm behind your lower back, palm up. Turn your head in the direction of your reaching arm and rest it on the ground, feeling the stretch across your upper back and shoulders. Hold and breathe. Repeat on the other side.
2. Fish Pose
Lay on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Prop your upper body up onto your elbows trying to get your elbows underneath your shoulders. Lift your chest up in between your shoulder blades to open up your front body. For a more supportive version, place a yoga block at the bottom tips of your shoulder blades. Allow your head to fall, reaching the crown of your head to the ground, without collapsing in your shoulder blades. You may also place a second block or blanket underneath your head for support if needed.
3. Eagle Pose
This is a balancing pose that may need modification if you have vertigo or are pregnant and have balance issues. To modify, just do the arms while kneeling or sitting down. Bend your elbows and bring your arms in front of your face at shoulder height. Wrap your right elbow under your left and bring your right palm around to your left palm. Breathe steadily with your shoulder blades pulling down your back. Next, balance on your right leg as you wrap your left leg over and around your right thigh, hooking the top of your left foot around your right ankle. Keep your legs slightly bent as you sit into this pose with your abs engaged. Hold for several breaths and then switch sides.
4. Lateral Dragon Fly
Sit in a wide straddle position on the floor, keeping your knees facing up to the sky. Lean over to the right side, reaching your left arm up and over your head to stretch your entire left side body. Prop your head up on your right hand and keep your left hip down on the ground. If you cannot do this without lifting your hip, add a prop like a block or bolster underneath your right elbow. Repeat on the other side.
5. Happy Baby
Lie down on your back and bend your knees into your chest. Grab onto the outsides of your feet with your hands. Draw your shoulders down into the ground as you open your knees wide and towards your armpits. Lengthen your spine keeping your lower back drawn into the ground.
What are some other things are you doing to boost your immune system these days?
Also by Crystal: Gentle Yoga For Back Pain and Injuries
Related: 30 Best Immune System-Boosting Foods
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Photo: Crystal Chin