By Juliette Dallas-Freeney, Networx
October is that time of year, at least in New York City, where one day you’re bundled up in a scarf and jacket and the next you’re ripping off all those layers because it’s so freaking humid. And sometimes, your body just can’t handle it. With these unpredictable weather changes, your immune system goes into overdrive to try and keep up. But when it can’t adapt to the irregular environmental changes, this can impact your body negatively. That’s why people are likelier to get sick when the weather is so drastic.
If you feel the sniffles coming on, do me (and yourself) a favor and don’t reach for the cold medicine. Instead, reach for the sky and try a few of my favorite low-impact yoga poses to fight colds and boost immunity. Your body and mind will thank you.
1. Chest-opening upper back bends like the cobra pose. These types of poses stimulate blood flow to the thymus gland, which is in the center of the chest and the locus of the immune system. The thymus gland produces T-cells, a type of white blood cell crucial for protecting the body from infection. Try the bow pose for a more challenging chest-opener.
2. Circulation-boosting inversions like the legs-up-the-wall pose. Inversions increase circulation of the lymphatic system. Lymph is rich in white blood cells, which we already know is key for a healthy immune system. These types of poses are also beneficial for toxin removal from tissues of the body. Try the plow pose or a supported shoulderstand for a more challenging inversion.
3. The neck and jaw muscle-relaxing (and roar-inducing!) lion pose. You might feel a little silly doing this one since the lion pose actually imitates a roaring lion, but if you feel a sore throat coming on, this pose is like a massage for your tonsil glands and lymph nodes in your neck. This is also a great pose for kids. So you can roar your way to health–and give a little stress-relieving laugh a little while you’re at it!