At True Hot Yoga, the premier radiant heat studio in the entire Scottsdale/Arrowhead, we know that while we all are bound to suffer from the occasional cold or flu.
Those who practice the 5000 year old breathing, exercises and meditation techniques of yoga, are less likely to come down with the sniffles, and should illness strike, practitioners tend to have a much faster recovery rate as well. This is true because of yoga’s known abilities to regulate the immune system, keeping it strong and healthy to withstand infections along with yoga’s ability to boost immune function with specific yogic practices.
Stress is known as a major contributing factor to catching a cold or flu, as stress hormones cause the thymus to shrink in size, causing it to function poorly as a producer of immune cells.
Besides the general calming effect of most yoga poses, there are also restorative poses and forward bends that are especially calming to the nervous system, helping to reduce whole-body stress. Yoga’s stress reducing abilities are one of the primary reasons that regular practice of the ancient methods help to prevent the common cold.
Any type of physical activity is a good way to boost the immune system, and yoga, with its inherent stress reducing and immune enhancing properties, will provide both a short-term boost as well as long-term strengthening of the immune system. In addition, specific yoga postures can actually be used to target specific organs/functions of the immune system, further enhancing yoga’s immune boosting abilities.
For example, chest opening upper back bends will activate the primary organ of the immune system, the thymus gland, which is located in the center of the chest. The most beneficial postures for this purpose that we love are the Cobra, Pigeon, Fish, Boat, Bow and Bridge. Since the thymus gland is located at the fourth chakra center, chanting “yum,” this chakra’s bija mantra, while performing these poses can further activate the thymus gland.
Further, Inversions increase the passive circulation of the lymphatic system, which is responsible for the production and circulation of the immune cells to defend the body from the viruses and bacteria. Inversions the pros at True Hot Yoga suggest include the shoulderstand, headstand, plow and legs up the wall pose, which will all help improve the flow of lymph and immune cells through the body.
Twists and hip openers activate secondary organs of the immune system: the spleen and the lymph nodes in groin and armpits. These organs are the production sites for the immune cells, so using yoga poses to target these systems if you feel a cold coming on, would be especially beneficial. We use twists such as the seated twist, prayer twist, and knee down twist, and hip openers such as bound angle, seated angle, and pigeon to activate these organs to keep them healthy and strong.
Finally, the Lion pose is a specific yoga posture that activates the immune glands of the tonsils and the lymph nodes in the neck. Performing lion pose at the very beginning of a sore throat can dramatically stop and prevent the sore throat from progressing.
Another specific technique common to yoga, that helps prevent and cure colds, especially sinus related infections, is Jala Neti (nasal irrigation). Jala Neti is the use of a Neti pot to pour water through the nasal passages, flushing out the bacteria or germs that can cause infection, great for those who prefer more holistic approaches to healthcare.
Also, many who practice yoga follow a healthy diet with lots of whole grains and fiber, which can also help to prevent and cure the common cold. Traditionally vegetarian, the yogic diet’s emphasis on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes naturally provides the body with the proper nutrition and the abundance of antioxidants that the immune system needs to function optimally. Following a healthy diet which is also naturally free or low in sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and fat—all of which are known to suppress various immune functions, is also beneficial to staying healthy this sick season.
So this year, instead of wasting your personal days from work being ill, the caring, knowledgeable instructors at True Hot Yoga would like to invite you to come into our state of the art studio to give one of our classes a try. The various practices and poses of hot yoga are an excellent way to keep the immune system healthy and strong, as well as helping to prevent and quickly recover from the common cold or flu. We are currently offering two full weeks of expert instruction, for just $20, which beats a doctor’s bill or basket full of medicines, anyway!
Our hot yoga classes are also conducted in such order that each position (asana) leads into the other in a flowing manner, acting as a tourniquet and release, flushing the body, releasing tension in the muscles, and relaxing the body through the stimulation of pressure points. At the end of a class, you will emerge feeling exhausted but renewed, challenged but ready to sleep like you never have before.
So be sure to replenish your system with the massive amounts of clean, pure water you are sure to drink before, during and after the class, then head over to the premier yoga studio in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, located on Frank Llyod Wright Blvd, True Hot Yoga.
If you do come down with a cold or flu, it is important to rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat simple wholesome foods and to practice some gentle yoga poses. If after three to four days there is no change in your symptoms, or a worsening of symptoms occurs, please seek medical attention from a qualified health care practitioner. 480.767.9642