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  • Sophia Joseph

Yoga Pranayma (breathing) to boost immunity:

The Earth keeps evolving, the organisms residing on this earth keep evolving and so do the viruses. Humans have invented vaccines over time to control the virus infecting our bodies. As stated before that viruses keep evolving and to fight these viruses, we need to keep our immune system healthy and strong.


What Is the Immune System?

The immune system is when the body fights against infections. The immune system attacks germs and helps keep us healthy. It can also be called our defence system.

The substances on the surface of the cells of viruses, fungi, or bacteria are called ANTIGENS. Other antigens like toxins, chemicals, drugs and foreign particles are harmful too. Our immune system detects these threatening antigens and tries to destroy them.

So this means that if we strengthen ourselves by boosting our immune system, we will be able to fight any virus or any harmful diseases around us.




How can yoga boost your immune system?

Knowing that yoga is understood as the ideal way of living a fruitful life, it should be noted that yoga isn’t an alternative to medicines, it more like a precautionary measure to keep the viruses away and tries fighting them before it damages the body.

Today, we are going to understand how pranayama helps in boosting the immune system.

You must be wondering that what is pranayama and weren’t we talking about yoga?

Your doubts are valid, let me make this simpler. Yoga is a very wide subject, for beginners and for now, we need to understand that pranayama is a part of yoga itself.

Pranayama is all about different breathing techniques and how different types of breathing exercises help us in different ways.




How does Pranayama help boost the immunity system?

As stated, above pranayama is a category in yoga focusing on breathing exercises. The common benefit is that through these breathing exercises, a huge amount of oxygen is inhaled, which helps in the making of cells. Now, as you might know, that cells are regenerated continuously in our body, and oxygen is an important element in the process of regeneration of cells. The simple act of breathing is the fastest and most efficient way to receive oxygen into our bodies.

The better the air quality and the deeper you breathe the more you can help your immune system work properly. Routinely practising deep breathing exercises can improve your overall immune system.

Benefits of Pranayama :

  • Pranayama enhances and stimulates the immune system.

  • Improves function and strengthens cells, tissue, glands and organs.

  • Pranayama releases stress, anxiety and depression.

  • Removes heart blockages and cures heart problems.

  • Pranayama increases blood circulation.

  • Cure asthma, headache, Migraine, neurological problems, depression, and gastric problems.

Find a peaceful corner around and start practising the following pranayama:


1. Anuloma Viloma Pranayama | Channel Cleaning Breathing



Steps:

  • Sit comfortably on your mat and sit straight so that your back, neck and head are aligned.

  • Let your left-hand rest on your left knee.

  • There is this particular hand pose that one has to perform with his right hand. There is a reference image. You have to curl up your index and middle finger and let the other fingers be open and not curled up.

  • Maintaining the same hand pose, use your thumb to press your right nostril and inhale deeply from your left nostril.

  • Hold your breath for 5 seconds and then press you left nostril with your ring finger and lift your thumb from your right nostril and exhale slowly.

  • Keep repeating this 15-20 times.

Precautions:

Avoid practising it if you are suffering from high blood pressure or any heart disease.


2. Kapalbhati Pranayama | Skull Shining Breathing



Steps:

  • Sit comfortably on your mat and sit straight so that your back, neck and head are aligned.

  • Inhale normally and exhale forcefully through your nostrils only.

  • Keep inhaling and exhaling in this manner for 30 -50 seconds.

Precautions:

  • Avoid Kapalbhati if you are pregnant.

  • Avoid if you are suffering from high blood pressure or heart-related discomforts

  • Not to be practised when having an asthma attack.



3. Bhramari Pranayama | Humming Bee Breathing



Steps:

  • Sit comfortably on your mat and sit straight so that your back, neck and head are aligned.

  • Keep your hands on your knees or near your ears, closing them with your palm.

  • Take a deep breath by inhaling slowly, hold it for 5 seconds.

  • Then exhale without opening your mouth and making a humming sound from inside.

Precautions:

  • Avoid this Pranayama if you occur to have an active ear infection.



4. Bhastrika Pranayama | Breath of Fire




Steps:

  • Sit comfortably on the mat, and fold your legs.

  • Sit straight and keep your back neck and head aligned.

  • Bend your elbows, placing them in front of your torso.

  • When you inhale, move your elbows up and palm open and placing it near your ears.

  • Hold your breath for 2-3 seconds.

  • Then you exhale, and when you exhale, push your breath out and swing you elbows down and your open palm into a fist.

  • Keep inhaling and exhaling for 20-25 time continuously.

Precautions:

  • Avoid practising Bhastrika Pranayama if you are suffering from high blood pressure.

  • A person suffering from acute heart problems should not practice Bhastrika Pranayam.



5. Vashisht Pranayama | Abdominal Breathing



Steps:

  • Relax and lie down on your back.

  • Bend your knees and your feet touching the floor.

  • Stretch your arms in a way that it has a one-inch distance between your hips and your arms.

  • Let your palm face the sky.

  • Now you must inhale and exhale and keep focusing on your breath.

  • When you inhale air, your stomach stretches and expands while when you exhale, your stomach contracts.

  • Breath slowly and hold your breath between inhaling and exhaling every time.

  • Repeat this for 15-20 times.

Precautions:

  • Vashisht pranayama can be done by anyone, there is no particular precaution to be taken care of.


6. Ujjayi Pranayama | The Victorious Breathing



Steps:

  • Sit comfortably on your mat and sit straight so that your back, neck, and head are aligned.

  • Relax your jaw and your tongue.

  • Relax and open your mouth enough to inhale. (do not open your mouth wide)

  • Inhale and exhale through your mouth and feel the air passing through your windpipe.

  • Please note that when you exhale, the type of exhaling should be like the one when you try to fog up any glass. When you do so, there is a slight contraction on the back of your throat.

  • After exhaling this way try to inhale with the same contraction, when you feel you can do it right, then close your mouth and inhale and exhale from your nose with the same contraction in the throat.

  • Keep focusing on your breath and the sound of your breath. Let that sound soothe your mind and you will find peace around you.

  • Repeat this till you feel peaceful.

Precaution:

Be careful not to tighten your throat.




After practising these different types of pranayama, one should know that this is just a part of the process. Next, we should practice yoga poses that will boost our immunity. Considering that pranayama has its benefits one should practice it daily.

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