Can Yoga Support Your Immune System & Help Fight COVID-19?
Here’s a look at what science says about yoga and your immune system…
Immune health has been top-of-mind for just about everyone over the past few months, and while there are many natural strategies for boosting your immune system and improving your immunity, one of our favorites is yoga! Not only does yoga feel good, but it’s actually good for you as well, and even science now admits that the anti-inflammatory and anti-stress benefits of yoga and related practices such as meditation and pranayama may have a supportive effect on your immune system, and may even benefit patients with COVID-19.
A recent review published in the The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined more than 100 scientific studies on yoga and immunity, and “found evidence to suggest that meditation and yoga should be considered as potential adjunctive treatment options for COVID-19.”
Adjunctive treatments, the authors explain, are remedies that supplement a primary treatment option, such as a drug or vaccine.
Here is more on the research:
The researchers, led by William Bushell, PhD, a biophysical/medical anthropologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pointed to a body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the anti-stress and anti-inflammatory properties of such practices. Meditation and yoga increase a practitioner’s vagal tone, part of the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. The vagal tone regulates the body’s stress response, making them effective treatment options for stress-based trauma and inflammatory-based diseases.
Bushell said that general scientific research on meditation and yoga correlated longer practices—both in terms of the length of the session and how often people practice—with a more positive result.
While none of these practices by themselves can provide a cure to COVID-19, further research will clarify the ways in which these modalities can be adjunctive treatments.
Here are a few things you can start doing right now, to boost your immune health and improve your odds of staying healthy during a pandemic:
1. Practice Yoga Regularly
Now is the time to start a regular yoga practice, if you haven’t already! Be sure to browse our archives for lots of helpful home practice tips as well as our free weekly yoga videos.
2. Add Pranayama to Your Daily Routine
Yogic breathing can help to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety. Lowering stress may help reduce inflammation in your body, which can allow your immune system to work more efficiently.
Meditation has numerous health benefits, and has long been relied upon by yogis to relieve stress and anxiety, and improve overall health and longevity.
Read more about supporting your natural immunity with yoga at YogaJournal.com…