A healthy immune system is the pillar to living with vibrance while the regular practice of yoga can strengthen the immune system in a powerful way. Yoga is widely known for its proven benefits on the physical body: flexibility, lean muscle tone and definition, better posture hence looking slimmer and taller with more energy. Moreover, yoga practitioners also gain physiological benefits: more compassionate behaviours toward those around them, stress management and enjoying a consistent sleeping pattern to name a few. Many people who regularly practice yoga are also benefactors of a strong immune system.
Often, what initially attracts people to yoga are its aesthetic benefits, as those who regularly practice are sure to develop lean, defined muscles. It is only with more regular practice that the true benefits of yoga become more pronounced such as a stronger immune system. How so? Long-term practice helps rid the body of toxins as the specific movements and breathing patterns required in yoga help create a massage effect on the organs, moving the lymph nodes which in turn rid the body of toxins and allowing the body to regenerate. Ashtanga Yoga, a practice where the breath and movement is coordinated is especially nurturing as it promotes improved circulation, better digestion, weight loss, better stamina and a sense of calm.
We now have research showing a vital relationship between stress and one’s state of health. Psychologists in the field of psychoneuroimmunology in American Psychological Association’s research states the following.
“…nearly 300 studies on stress and health to review. Their meta-analysis discerned intriguing patterns. Lab studies that stressed people for a few minutes found a burst of one type of “first responder” activity mixed with other signs of weakening. For stress of any significant duration – from a few days to a few months or years, as happens in real life - all aspects of immunity went downhill. Thus long-term or chronic stress, through too much wear and tear, can ravage the immune system.”
Another ‘miracle effect’ achieved through the practice of yoga is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, which studies have proven to be far more effective when compared to other forms of exercise. This is calculated by the levels of the chemical GABA (gammaaminobutyric acid) which is found in the brain and uncoincidentally is found in far higher quantities in yoga practitioners than those who do not practice. A study done by Boston University School of Medicine showed increased GABA levels in a person after a mere one yoga session with better mood.
Those who are easily prone to catching a cold or a virus may not have a sufficiently strong immune system to fight off infectious agents, making them prone to harmful pathogens entering the body. Through regular practice of yoga one can strengthen and detoxify the body, aid the nervous system and bring peace to the mind, ultimately boosting their immunity for life.