Boost Your Immune System and Combat the Flu with Yoga 

Winter may be the most difficult part of the year for some of us. We face the cold, and the lack of sun lowers immunity via the lack of vitamin D.  In addition to this, as the air becomes colder, we become more susceptible to a cold, a fever, the flu, etc. What do we do? We stock up on supplements, tea, lemon, honey, etc. to optimize nutrition. Some of us may retreat from our social lives for a while to avoid contact and acclimate to unforgiving weather. Is there more we can do to stay healthy for the “-ber” ( September, October, November, December), or should I say “Brrrrrr!” months? 

There’s always something we can do. Being Filipino and born in a tropical country, this is the worst time for me. As soon as summer ends, the sniffles begin. For 33 years, I always had the sun until I moved to Europe. So for the past 10 years, I have had to double down on my interventions for the switch to a four-season continent. I took Vit.D supplementation, I did light therapy and Iayered up for all my activities. In my search for self-care methods, I discovered that my yoga practice became very helpful in the prevention or even healing process. Which is what I’ll be sharing with you in this article. 

How to Boost Your Immune System Through Yoga 

To become stronger from the inside, we need to build up from within. This means ensuring our digestive system is functioning well, the kidneys are doing their job, and so on. All of these organs will improve when we start with our blood flow or circulation. While walking or running does amazing things for our hearts, the impact of the ground and the time we spend on our feet or sitting down causes the blood to pool downwards or have a more difficult time going back to the upper body. How do we counter this? By lifting your legs higher than your heart or stretching your leg muscles to move the circulation upwards Some poses that will help with this are:  

• Half Lord of the Fishes Pose / Ardha Matsyendrasana 

• Revolving Twist Pose / Jathara Parivartanasana 

• Plow Pose / Halasana

• Child’s pose / Balasana

• Wind Removing Pose / Pavana Muktasana

• Lying Twist / Supta Matsyendrasana 

Once you achieve this, the rest will start following. For example, improved circulation will optimize the function of your organs. For example, good circulation will allow the kidney to smoothly filter and clean your blood thereby optimizing blood pressure and processing glucose. 

The key is to improve your circulation.

Give your digestive system a squeeze

Now that you’ve got the blood rolling let’s add on. Did you know that twisting poses claim to aid in digestion? According to YogaUonline, the compressive action in the waist area serves as an abdominal massage in the overall digestive process. If that’s the case, then twisting asanas as well as compressive lying poses will help a whole set of grateful organs. Here are some of the top twisting poses to incorporate into your classes and practice: 

Show some love to your muscles 

What kind of practice for immunity boost would this be if we didn’t keep our skeletal muscles and framework in mind? Of course, you also need to practice for strength and mobility to boost  your immune system; a happy body is a healthy body after all. So practice your yoga of choice, you can even mix it up with other disciplines to keep your structural body strong. 

Get enough sleep 

At what point in our waking hours do we say“That’s enough for the day.”? Is it when the workday is done? Is it when the whole day is done and everyone else is asleep do we make that decision to switch off? Is it enough time to stay in rest mode? It should be. The time we need to sleep is essential for maintaining optimal health. In fact, enough sleep is so important that if we have a rough night before the chances of you catching something the next day increases significantly.  

What Do we do when we have caught the flu? 

Let’s say you missed a step or that the bug that was going around in your vicinity is strong enough to infect your body despite the precautions you take. Can Yoga still help? Yes, it can! Not in the same form as you practice but breathing techniques and lying asanas may help restore and move things around and help your immune system to keep fighting.  

Listen to Your Body

First things first listen to your body. Don’t force yourself to move if you’re too sick. Sometimes stillness is the only asana to take. If Savasana is the only thing you can do, so be it. Be observant and kind when you listen. Don´t force yourself to move. Explore and see if you can. If you feel anything untoward, stop.   

Move Accordingly

Once you have determined that you can manage to move, then start small. Use the body scan method to see what your body can do. Maybe start with the head and see if you can move it from side to side, the shoulders, etc. every little bit helps. Moving will help your body fight.            

Circulation is still key 

Improving your circulation is one of the best combatants in fighting off the flu even if you are bed-ridden. Your white blood cells are your soldiers they attack the intruders in your body. They travel through your bloodstream. When you improve the way they travel via  Lying poses, and a bit of Yin Yoga, it can be very helpful. In addition to this, the movement can help your back  Here are some poses that can do the trick: 

• Revolving Twist Pose / Jathara Parivartanasana 

• Happy Baby Pose / Sukha Balasana

• Banana Pose / Bananasana

• Reclined big toe pose A and B / Supta Padangusthasana A and B 

• Corpse Pose / Savasana

Rest, Sleep, Meditate

I know we have talked about proper rest but sleep can be as important as taking your medicine and eating hot soup. It is the time that our body recuperates. Quality sleep is where all the good things happen such as tissue repair, hormone balancing, bone and muscle building, more importantly, recharging of the immune system. However, these benefits only happen when you reach a certain part of your sleep cycle. An article by Sleep Foundation states, “This stage is critical to restorative sleep, allowing for bodily recovery and growth. It may also bolster the immune system and other key bodily processes.” One thing that has helped with sleep is meditation. Try the Vipassana method is a conscious observation of sensations without judgment. Usually, this meditative state in bed lets me drift off and have a better outcome when I wake.  

Health is Wealth. As cliché as this sounds, it’s true. It was one of the reasons I became a yoga teacher. I wanted to learn how to understand my body. Through that, help others do the same. I hope that with this helpful advice, we can help keep you happy in homeostasis throughout your year.

Take care and good luck Momoyogis!

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Jennifer Yusi
My name is Jennifer Yusi. Vinyasa/Aerial yoga instructor, writer for Momoyoga, founder of I believe in the fusion of yoga with different forms of movement. In my downtime, I like hiking, painting and karaoke.

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