As the weather is getting cooler and cold and flu season is approaching, I am offering you a sequence of yoga poses to stay healthy.
Yoga helps us to increase our blood circulation, decrease our stress hormones and stimulates our lymphatic system which is responsible for ridding our bodies of toxins and increasing our immunity.
Boost your immunity this fall and enjoy your practice.
Before you begin I invite you to sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on your breath while lengthening the duration of both the inhalation and exhalation. When you feel centered and ready, gently open your eyes.
Come to all fours on your mat, knees underneath your hips and wrists underneath your shoulders. Inhale as you lift your tailbone back and up, arching your back and exhale as you draw your tailbone forward and down, pull your belly in and look down, rounding your back. This pose enhances your circulation, opens up the chest and heart area and helps clear congestion in the lower respiratory tract.
2. Downward Dog
From all fours walk your hands slightly toward the top of your mat, tuck your toes under and inhale back and up into Downward Facing Dog. If you have high blood pressure, are prone to headaches or have a stiff spine, practice this pose with your head supported by a block. Draw your thigh muscles up and press your hands equally into your mat while you draw your heels back (they don’t have to touch the floor). Draw your abdominals towards the spine and relax your head and neck. Breathe deep and stay for a couple of breaths, when ready, come back down to your hands and knees. This is a great pose to enhance circulation, get white blood cells moving throughout your body and to help clear out your sinuses.
Come to lie on your belly, draw your big toes together and heels out and push the top of your feet into your mat. Bring your hands under your shoulders, lift your shoulder blades up and then rotate them towards each other. Inhale your chest forward and up, gently push the hands down and back and allow the neck to stay in line with your spine. Inhale and exhale deeply for a few breath and then release down, making a pillow with your hands and allowing your head to rest on one side. This pose stimulates the thymus gland to send out white blood cells, which support the body in fighting bacteria, viruses and parasites. Cobra pose also eases stress, stimulates the digestive system and improves your lung capacity.
4. Bridge Pose
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip width apart and flat on the mat. On your inhale start lifting your hips and chest upward and if you like, interlace your hands underneath your buttocks on the mat. Draw your thigh muscles in towards each other and keep your front ribs and collarbone broad. Stay for a few breaths and when you feel ready, slowly roll your vertebra back onto your mat, arms alongside your body and rest. Bridge pose stimulates the thymus, adding to the improvement of our body’s infection combating potential, enhances circulation and opens up your heart, lungs and upper body.
Now is the time to allow yourself to rest in Savasana. Come to lie on your back, relax your shoulders and let your arms drop to your sides, palms facing up. Allow your legs to relax and your feet to drop out to the sides. Gently close your eyes. Continue to relax your forehead, eyes, throat, chest, abdomen, arms and legs, letting your body absorb your practice. Stay in the pose for 5 – 10 minutes.
To come out of the pose, bend your knees into your chest and then gently roll to one side. Pause for a few breaths. When you feel ready push into your left hand to very slowly and gently come up to sitting, letting the head and neck come up last. Find a comfortable seated position, keeping your eyes closed and take another few deep breaths. When you are ready, gently open your eyes.