LifestyleYoga

Yoga And Exercise For Immunity And General Health

INTRODUCTION

Physical activity and nutrition are important in a healthy lifestyle with potential benefits to immunity often overlooked. Indeed, an insufficient amount of physical activity has been classified by the World Health Organization as a leading risk factor for global mortality (Life span of a human being) from non-communicable diseases (diseases that don’t spread through touch or any source of contact).   As such, engaging in an appropriate amount of regular physical activity is associated with reductions in all-cause mortality. Likewise, a poor diet is associated with negative health consequences. While many of the lifestyle (example- physical activity and diet)-related benefits are well documented, such as improvements in fitness, health, well-being, and perceived quality of life, the potential benefits to immunity and infection susceptibility are of significant value yet are often overlooked.

The healthy and joyful long life is the main priority of Ayurveda. Ayurveda explained the concepts related to health and diseases in detail.

स्वास्थस्य स्वास्थ्य रक्षणम्। आतुरस्य विकार प्रशमनम् च।

The main purpose and objectives of Ayurveda is the preservation of health in healthy individual and eradication of diseases which are curable.

HOW TO KNOW IF A PERSON IN HEALTHY?

Health can be defined as “a state of physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”

Ayurveda has mentioned ten indicators of good health :

1. Proper digestion of food: After eating you should feel light and energized.

2. Good appetite: Hungry at proper meal times.

3. Falling asleep easily when going to bed at night.

4. “Jumping” out of bed feeling awake each morning.

5. Normal functioning of the five sense organs. Our senses should not or only minimally deteriorate over a lifespan.

6. Elimination of wastes: Daily bowel motions before any food or drinks. Also regular and comfortable elimination of sweat, urine, and menses for women.

7. A healthy ratio of muscle, bone, and fat tissues, not overweight nor emaciated.

8. Natural strength, immunity should be maintained.

9. The natural colour of skin should be maintained.

10. Peace and contentment of mind

IMMUNITY IN MODERN SCIENCE

According to modern science, it is defined as the capability of an individual to resist a particular disease especially through preventing development of a pathogenic microorganism or by counteracting the effects of its products.

Immunity is the ability to defend against infection and disease. Human beings are born with a basic immune system that would help us in protection from minor diseases.

IMMUNITY IN AYURVEDA

Immunity under Ayurveda has been given much importance and explained under multiple topics. Among them the three most important concepts are Ojas, Vyadhi kshamatva and Bala.

Bala being the strength or ability and ojas is the essence of the human body it is the seat for strength . Vyadhikshamatva in Ayurveda has been explained as not merely immunity against a specific infectious agent or disease such as typhoid, measles or rubella for which modern medicine provides “immunizations”. Rather, Vyadhikshamatva implies a resistance against the loss of the integrity, proportion, and interrelationship amongst the individual’s doshas (bio energies) and dhatus (tissues). Resistance to disease or immunity against disease is of two kinds i.e. the one which attenuate the manifested diseases and other variety prevents the manifestation of diseases. Role of Vyadhikshamatva as per Ayurveda concept which may be helpful in this battle for survival of human beings.

CAN EXERCISE IMPROVE OUR HEALTH AND IMMUNITY?

Regular exercise can boost your immune system and help fight off infections. Exercise allows immune cells to perform effectively — it increases blood flow, reduces stress and inflammation, and can strengthen antibodies. Training the body to at least work out for 30 – 60 minutes a day has shown wonders on the body.

Some of the exercises that we can follow are-

1.Strength training

Weight lifting and strength training push your body in ways that it isn’t pushed naturally, which increases blood flow throughout your body and relieves stress. The added intensity of strength training has a significant effect on the immune system.

2.High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

There are few exercise routines that get your heart pumping like HIIT does. It acts as a steroid for your immune function.

HIIT should only be done a few times a week, because excessive exercise can actually backfire on your immune system. Moderation is key when it comes to any sort of vigorous exercise.

Walking

A short walk about the same length as your lunch break is enough to keep your immunity functioning like it should. Schedule in a brisk walk at least five times a week brisk for at least 30 minutes to really reap the benefits of walking.

Rebounding

Rebounding is a type of exercise that involves jumping on a mini fitness trampoline. Not only is this exercise fun, it is one of the best workout routines when it comes to draining your lymphatic system and detoxing your body.

HOW CAN YOGA CONTRIBUTE IN OUR HEALTH ?

Yoga asanas or poses/postures are known to be the near-perfect way of ensuring strength, flexibility, stability, mobility and wellness.

Four easy yoga postures that you should incorporate in your daily morning routine.

1.Tadasana

The ‘mountain pose’ is one of the easiest asanas in yoga and is considered particularly beneficial for those who are 60 years and above in age. Essentially meant to correct bad posture by working your abs, back, legs and core, this pose helps you:

  • Improve your blood circulation
  • Relieve stress
  • Work on your stability and mobility
  • Enhance the functioning of the digestive system
  • Improve your posture when you stand or sit

2.Uttanasana

The classic inversion pose is an excellent way to deal with (or avoid) back-related problems. By standing in an inverted position, the asana stretches out your hamstrings, calves, lower back and puts pressure on your ankles, hips and abdomen. Uttanasana is known to:

  • Relieve chronic back pain
  • Aid blood circulation
  • Lower stress levels
  • Strengthen your hamstrings
  • Make you more flexible

3.Baddha Konasana

The butterfly pose, as we all know it, is a great way to engage your groin area, which is usually a stiff and ignored part of the body. Ideally meant to be done early in the morning on an empty stomach, the Baddha Konasana helps:

  • Stimulate your urinary bladder
  • Manage kidney problems
  • Improve the functioning of your digestive system
  • Deal with the menopause process
  • Relieve fatigue

4.Bhujangasana

A pose that resembles the rising head of a cobra, Bhujangasana is best known for its ability to engage the lower back, shoulders and chest. Individuals with spine injuries, back problems or lower back pain should ideally practice this asana every single morning. Bhujangasana helps you:

  • Deal with lower back stiffness
  • Address spinal pain
  • Relieve pressure from the shoulders and chest
  • Stretch and engage the abdomen
  • Improve flexibility
  • Get rid of hunching problems

Some helpful and effective yoga asanas to boost immunity and stay healthy

5.Dhanurasana(Bow Pose)

When one talks about practicing yoga for immunity, this is one yoga asana that helps boost the immune system. It acts as an ideal stress buster as it helps improve the flow of white blood cells by applying pressure on the digestive system.

Practicing the Dhanurasana puts pressure on your belly, which in turn helps strengthen the digestive system. Also, it is one of the best yoga poses for the immune system.

How to do:

  • Lie down on your stomach
  • Now, bend your knees and hold the ankles with your palms
  • Maintain a strong grip and lift your legs and arms as high as you can
  • Look upwards and hold the posture for as long as you can

6.Vrikshasana(Tree Pose)

During our hectic daily schedule, we are often left with a feeling of uncertainty and chaos. However, when we choose to practice yoga for immune system, the Vrikshasana helps us achieve a state of balance too.

As it symbolizes a sense of calm and serenity, the Tree Pose or Vrikshasana is one of the best yoga poses for immunity and relaxation.

How to do:

  • Stand straight and place your arms at the side of the body
  • Bend your right knee while lifting your right leg
  • Place it on the inner thigh of your left leg
  • Now, raise your arms over your head into a ‘namaste’
  • Keep your back straight and hold for a few breaths
  • Exhale and return to the initial position.
  • Repeat the same process with your leg

7.Paschimottanasana(Seated Forward Bend)

One of the best ways to keep the mind and body strong is by practicing yoga to boost immunity and raising the immunity levels. The Seated Forward Bend or Paschimottanasana helps keep the brain calm while stretching the body.

While being one of the best yoga asanas for immunity, it offers relief from stress, headache and anxiety as well. Also, it applies pressure on the spine, hamstrings and may improve the digestive system as well.

How to do:

  • Begin with Dandasana. Keep your knees are slightly bent and stretch your legs out forward
  • Keep your spine erect and raise your hands upward
  • Now, exhale and bend forward at the hip
  • Place your upper body on your lower body
  • Lower your arms and grip your big toes with your fingers
  • If possible, try to touch your knees with your nose

8.Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge Pose)

Some of the best yoga poses for immunity are the ones that work both, on your body and on your mind. One such yoga asana is the Anjaneyasana. One of the most helpful yoga poses for immunity, it works on muscles and joints at the same time.

It is a powerful yoga asana as it helps improve balance and has a positive effect on your knees as well. Since it is widely used to relieve tension in your joints, it proves the notion that practicing yoga for immunity is extremely beneficial.

How to do:

  • Stand straight. Place your left leg back, drop your knee and extend your toes out
  • Make sure your right knee is aligned with the right ankle
  • Push your pelvis downward and raise your arms overhead
  • Now, bend your upper body backwards and try to form an arch

 

CONCLUSION –

Practicing all the above mentioned actives would keep the mind in a healthy state both physically and mentally. So stay healthy and stay happy.

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About author
Deep Thacker is an BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery) Undergraduate in Rajiv Gandhi University of Health sciences. Deep has published many articles on health and aims to provide the public with the information they need to know for their health decisions.
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