Yoga: Medicine for the Seasonal Flu

by Dec 14, 2017

Yoga is a great way to restore balance to your body. There’s no better time to practice than during flu season.  Seasonal flu is most active from December to February.  Starting a regular yoga practice this month can help you battle the flu season to come.

Infections and viruses stay dormant until your body goes out of balance due to things like stress and fatigue during the holidays.  A balanced body creates a strong immune system, which leaves no place for infection and virus to grow.

How Does Yoga Help?

Yoga restores balance by lowering stress hormones that compromise your immune system.  When the parasympathetic system is activated, your body produces less cortisol (stress hormone).  The practice of yoga poses, stretching, and breathing helps to activate the rest-and-digest state.  Spending as much time in this state can bolster your immune system whether you’re healthy or ill.  A regular practice of yoga can help you activate the parasympathetic system more efficiently.

Yoga also conditions the lung and respiratory system by maximizing breath capacity.  Breathing techniques in yoga help expand the lungs and clear passageways of debris and particles.  

Yoga breaths can:

  • Decrease respiratory rate – the deeper and slower the breath, the better the parasympathetic nervous system can reduce stress and restore balance.
  • Increase lung capacity – the greater the alveoli expand the more the lungs can absorb fresh oxygen
  • Strengthen diaphragm – contraction and expansion of the diaphragm through yoga breathing develops strong muscle fibers

The Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system plays a big role in your immunity.  It removes waste and toxins dumped by your cells through lymph fluid.  It also helps return fresh blood supply to all of your organs so they function optimally.  Lymph fluid relies on muscle movement to push the fluid through your body.  Tensing and relaxing your muscles during yoga squeezes lymph fluid out of your tissue and passes it down the line. Conscious yoga breathing is also effective at pumping lymph through the chest.

  1. Leg Up the Wall Pose – drains lymph and blood from the legs and increases blood flow to the heart
  2. Twists – squeezes lymph and fresh blood through the organs
  3. Vinyasa Flow – dynamic movement contracts and expands large muscles which is the primary mover for lymphatic fluid

Schedule a Yogassage

Need help with your yoga poses?  New to yoga? Schedule a yogassage session and receive a private lesson with a certified instructor!

Flu vaccination is one of the best ways to stave off seasonal flu viruses.  A person’s immunity from vaccine declines over time so annual flu vaccination can help protection against the flu.  Additionally, flu viruses are constantly changing, and vaccines are updated to combat each strain.  It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection.  To find a flu vaccination center near you visit https://vaccinefinder.org/ or www.cdc.gov.

Source Information: www.cdc.gov

Photo credit: Emily Sea @ Unsplash

Written by: Holly Cook

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