We all know that yoga & meditation can enhance your overall health, but would it surprise you to hear that mindfulness and maintaining a regular yoga practice can also boost your immune system? Through the practice of yoga we switch ourselves to a more relaxed nervous system (which is essential for strong immune health). This allows our body to focus on restorative functions like cell renewal and the absorption of nutrients, instead of producing the stress hormone cortisol, which is ageing and detrimental to our overall health.
Incorporating yoga asana (poses), pranayama (controlled breathing) and meditation into everyday life can feel like a bit of an adjustment so I wanted to share with you five simple steps for finding balance and calm, resting the nervous system and helping the whole body (including the organs, the gland and joints) to function optimally:
1) Melt into a Free Live Zoom Yoga Class with me Then, when you realise how wonderfully zen and strong you feel, sign up for one of our regular yoga classes. Please click the above link and email me requesting the Zoom details.
We'll be focusing on the breath in a moving meditation using deep, long holds to strengthen and balance our immune system & help to fight off anxiety, which can tend to rear its head during this season. Book your spot here.
2) Get meditating! Have you been meaning to learn more about meditation and how to incorporate this practice into your every day life ? Here's how to go about starting:
Download the Insight Timer app and access thousands of free guided meditations.
You can choose how long you have to meditate and then select from any number of themes from ‘Calming the Worried Mind’ to a gorgeous Yoga Nidra like ‘Bone Deep Sleep’. As the app name suggests, it times out at the end of the meditation, leaving you to go to sleep if that is what you are using it for.
Studies show that people who meditate regularly tend to sleep and feel better. They have increased cognitive ability, greater emotional resilience and sharper mental focus. Also they are happier!
Meditation helps to bring us into the present moment and it is this presence' or 'awareness' that invites us to gently drop out of our heads, into our bodies and senses.
“Meditation makes the entire nervous system go into a field of coherence.” - Deepak Chopra
3) Treat yourself to our Yoga & Gong Bath Mini-Retreat (Sunday 29th May 1-4pm @ Harrow Art Centre) where we will be melting into slow, nourishing hatha yoga, pranayama breathing and soothing yin yoga, culminating in a beautiful gong bath by Sarah.
This unique event will deeply relax the nervous system, helping to stimulate lymphatic drainage and boost the endocrine system.
When you are immersed in sound healing your brain waves will slow. You may even experience a dreamlike state where you can unplug from external stimuli. All of this has the effect of supporting your immunity and helping you to cope better with illness. You will leave feeling full of vitality and energy, with a sense of peace. This event is nearly full so if you plan to attend please book soon here.
"Sound will be the medicine of the future" - Edgar Cayc
4) Practise mindful breathing. Did you know that approximately 70% of all toxins in the body are released through the breath, yet most of us only use 25-40% of our breathing capacity?
Come to class and learn breathing techniques that will enhance your health and your life. You can also practise the three part breath at home
On your next inhale, bring the breath deep down into the belly allowing the chest to expand, the ribs to rise and the belly to inflate. On the exhale the belly softens, the ribs draw in and the chest sinks. Close your eyes and try focusing on these three parts to your next inhale and your next exhale. Start to make your inhale as deep and thorough as possible. Imagine bringing that breath all the way down to anchor in the belly. Make the next exhale as long and drawn out as possible, puffing out every last drop of stale air from your lungs until there is literally nothing left.
After breathing in this way for a few minutes you will notice that your breaths per minute have reduced from around 12 to perhaps just 5 deep, nourishing breaths, each minute. Why is this important? Have a read of my Science of Yoga blog to understand how breath affects our nervous system and stress and vice versa and to get an idea of how vital it is for our immune system that we control the breath and reduce stress.
“Feelings come & go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh.
5) Practise this simple gratitude meditation. Close your eyes and deepen your breath. Think of 3 things that you are deeply grateful for. On a long, deep inhale, focus intensely on one of those things, then on the exhale mentally say the word 'thank you'. Repeat twice more. Take your time.
Practising gratitude in this way is a really effective short cut to cultivating present moment awareness. And when we're in THIS present moment, not mulling over what has passed or feeling anxious about the future, we can feel calm and reduce stress in the mind and body, hence enhancing our immune health.
"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice." Meister Eckhart
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Until then, please take care of yourself :-)
Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life. ― Eckhart Tolle Respira Yoga London www.respirayoga.co.uk Mob: 07990 820112 firstname.lastname@example.org