Calm inflammation and reduce stress with these gentle immune-boosting yoga poses.
As if it isn’t bad enough that every other person you know is catching a bug, adding stress to the mix can make you even more susceptible to getting sick. Stress can actually weaken your immune system and increase chronic inflammation.
Fortunately, yoga can help keep your immune system in tip-top shape. A review of 15 studies showed that yoga can boost immunity by both reducing stress and decreasing inflammation in the body. Yoga can also be beneficial to those who are already sick by reducing inflammatory markers in the body.
Keeping a regular yoga practice is essential to maintaining consistent immune-boosting effects. Practice these yoga poses daily. To get started, grab a yoga mat and a bolster or a long pillow.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold with Twist | 5 breaths per side
- Start standing sideways on your mat with your feet wide and your toes pointing straight ahead. Place your hands on your hips and engage your abs.
- Take an inhale, then exhale to fold forward. Bring your hands to the ground with your wrists right underneath your shoulders.
- Keep your right hand down, then inhale to lift your left arm up towards to sky. Spread your fingers wide and keep lifting your right hip up so that your hips are level.
- Hold this twist for 5 breaths, then release and switch sides.
Plank Pose | 5 breaths
- Get into a high plank position, with shoulders stacked over your wrists. Spread your fingers wide.
- Lift your heels high and keep your hips in line with your shoulders. Engage your abs and quadriceps.
- Hold for five breaths.
Cobra | 5 breaths
- Lie on your belly. Engage your abs by drawing your navel up and in towards your spine.
- Bend your elbows and place your hands down on the mat next to your ribs.
- Keep your thighs on the ground as you inhale to press into your palms and lift your chest. Keep a slight bend in your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Hold for five breaths, then slowly lower back down.
Low Lunge Prayer Twist | 5 breaths per side
- Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
- Step your right foot between your hands, stacking your knee over your ankle.
- Inhale to lift your chest. Bring your palms together in a prayer position in front of your chest and engage your abs.
- On an exhale, twist your torso to the right.
- If you can, hook your left tricep on your outer right thigh. With each inhale, lengthen your spine, and with each exhale, twist deeper.
- Stay here for five to eight breaths, then twist to the other side.
Dolphin | 5 breaths
- Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Then, lower down to your forearms.
- Step your feet back to come into a forearm plank.
- Take an inhale, then exhale to walk your feet towards your elbows as you lift your hips toward the sky.
- Hold for five breaths.
Tree Pose | 5 breaths per side
- Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Bring your palms together in a prayer position in front of your chest and engage your abs.
- Shift your weight into your right foot and slowly lift your left foot off the ground. Place the sole of your left foot onto your right inner calf or inner thigh. Find a gaze point out in front of you to help with balance.
- Hold for five to eight breaths, then switch sides.
Supported Twists | 2 min per side
- Place a pillow or bolster going longways up and down your mat.
- Sit in front it and lower your knees to point to the left side of your mat. Your left hip should be touching the bolster.
- Walk your hands towards the top of your mat to lower your torso and left cheek down onto the bolster.
- Close your eyes and relax here for two minutes, then switch sides.
Supported Fish | 3 min
- Keep the pillow or bolster where it is and stay seated in front of it. Bend your knees to set your feet on the floor.
- Slowly lower your back and shoulders onto the bolster. Straighten your arms out to the sides. Your hips should still be on the mat.
- If you like, straighten your legs out long. Close your eyes and relax here for three minutes.