The common cold is a viral infection that affects millions of people every year. Symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, cough, congestion, and fever. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are many natural remedies that can help alleviate symptoms and boost immunity. One of these remedies is yoga.
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and is known for its ability to improve physical and mental health. Here, we will talk about 13 yoga techniques (10 Yoga Asanas and 3 Pranayams)that can help relieve cold symptoms and boost immunity. We will also explore how yoga can help in treating a cold, the benefits of each pose, and answer some frequently asked questions.
Explanation of Common Cold and Its Causes
The common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory system. It is caused by a group of viruses called rhinoviruses, which can be spread through the air or by direct contact with an infected person or surface. Cold viruses can survive on surfaces for several hours and can be spread by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after coming into contact with a contaminated surface.
Symptoms of the common cold usually appear within 1-3 days after exposure to the virus and can last for up to 2 weeks. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are many natural remedies that can help alleviate symptoms and boost immunity.
How Yoga Can Help in Treating a Cold
Yoga is a holistic approach to health that can help improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It is an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety, which can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to colds and other infections.
Yoga can also help stimulate the lymphatic system, which is responsible for removing toxins and waste products from the body. This can help improve immune function and reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms.
In addition, many yoga poses involve deep breathing and relaxation techniques, which can help improve lung function and alleviate congestion and coughing.
Yoga Poses for Cold Relief
The following 10 yoga poses can help relieve cold symptoms and boost immunity:
1. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
|Benefits||Calms the mind, relieves stress, improves digestion, and stretches the hamstrings and back.|
|How to do it||Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly fold forward from the hips, keeping your back straight. Reach for your toes or the floor and hold for 5-10 breaths.|
2. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Stretch)
|Name||Adho Mukha Svanasana|
|Benefits||Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and spine, strengthens the arms and legs, and improves circulation.|
|How to do it||Start on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Lift your hips up and back, straightening your arms and legs to form an inverted V shape. Hold for 5-10 breaths.|
3. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
|Benefits||Stretches the chest, abdomen, and hip flexors, improves digestion, and strengthens the back and shoulders.|
|How to do it||Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart and your hands on your lower back. Press your hips forward and arch your back, reaching your hands towards your heels. Hold for 5-10 breaths.|
4. Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)
|Benefits||Relieves stress and anxiety, improves circulation, and helps reduce swelling in the legs and feet.|
|How to do it||Lie on your back with your legs up against a wall or other support, keeping your hips close to the wall. Relax your arms and breathe deeply for 5-10 minutes.|
5. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
|Benefits||Stretches the chest, neck, and spine, strengthens the legs and buttocks, and helps relieve stress and anxiety.|
|How to do it||Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling, keeping your shoulders and feet on the ground. Hold for 5-10 breaths.|
6. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
|Benefits||Stretches the chest, abdomen, and thighs, strengthens the back muscles, and improves digestion.|
|How to do it||Lie on your stomach with your arms by your sides. Bend your knees and lift your feet towards your buttocks, grabbing onto your ankles. Lift your chest and thighs off the ground, holding for 5-10 breaths.|
7. Halasana (Plow Pose)
|Benefits||Stretches the back, shoulders, and neck, stimulates the thyroid gland, and improves digestion.|
|How to do it||Lie on your back with your legs straight up towards the ceiling. Slowly lower your legs over your head, keeping your hands on your lower back for support. Hold for 5-10 breaths.|
8. Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
|Benefits||Stretches the chest, neck, and spine, improves lung function, and relieves stress and anxiety.|
|How to do it||Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms by your sides. Lift your chest and head off the ground, arching your back and reaching your crown towards the floor. Hold for 5-10 breaths.|
9. Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand Pose)
|Benefits||Improves circulation, relieves stress and anxiety, and strengthens the arms, shoulders, and core.|
|How to do it||Begin on your hands and knees with your forearms on the ground. Interlace your fingers and place the crown of your head on the ground. Slowly lift your legs up, keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for 5-10 breaths.|
10. Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
|Benefits||Relaxes the body and mind, reduces stress and anxiety, and improves overall well-being.|
|How to do it||Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and your legs straight. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, allowing your body to fully relax. Hold for 5-10 minutes.|
How each pose helps in boosting immunity
Yoga poses can help boost immunity by improving circulation, reducing stress, and promoting relaxation. When we are stressed, our immune system is weakened, making us more susceptible to illness. Practicing yoga can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, allowing the body to better fight off infections and illnesses.
Some yoga poses, such as Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand Pose), can improve circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system, helping to flush toxins and boost the immune system.
Preventive Pranayama for Cold And Coughs
In addition to yoga poses, pranayama, or breathing exercises, can also help boost immunity and prevent colds and coughs. Here are three pranayama exercises that can be helpful:
1. Kapal Bhati Pranayama
Kapal Bhati Pranayama is a breathing technique that involves short, forceful exhales and passive inhales. This technique can help clear the nasal passages and improve lung function, making it helpful for preventing colds and coughs.
To practice Kapal Bhati Pranayama, sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. Take a deep inhale, then forcefully exhale through your nose, pulling your navel in towards your spine. Repeat for 10-15 breaths.
2. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, or alternate nostril breathing, is a breathing technique that involves inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other. This technique can help balance the body’s energy and improve lung function, making it helpful for preventing colds and coughs.
To practice Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. Use your right thumb to close your right nostril and inhale through your left nostril. Then, use your right ring finger to close your left nostril and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, then use your thumb to close your right nostril and exhale through your left nostril. Repeat for 10-15 breaths.
3. Bhastrika Pranayama
Bhastrika Pranayama, or bellows breath, is a breathing technique that involves forceful inhales and exhales through the nose. This technique can help improve lung function and increase oxygenation of the body, making it helpful for preventing colds and coughs.
To practice Bhastrika Pranayama, sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. Take a deep inhale, then forcefully exhale through your nose. Follow this with a forceful inhale through your nose, filling your lungs completely. Repeat for 10-15 breaths.
Frequently Asked Questions
A. How often should I practice these yoga poses?
For best results, it is recommended to practice these yoga poses at least once per day. However, if you are new to yoga or have a medical condition, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine.
B. Are there any precautions I should take while practicing these yoga poses?
Yes, it is important to listen to your body and not push yourself beyond your limits. If you feel any pain or discomfort while practicing these poses, stop immediately and consult with a healthcare provider. Additionally, if you have a medical condition or injury, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine.
C. Can these yoga poses prevent a cold?
While yoga poses and pranayama exercises can help boost immunity and reduce the risk of illness, there is no guarantee that they will prevent a cold or flu. However, regular practice can help strengthen the body and improve overall well-being, making it easier for the body to fight off infections.
D. How do I know if I am doing the poses correctly?
It is important to practice yoga poses correctly to avoid injury and maximize the benefits. Consider taking a class with a certified yoga instructor who can guide you through the poses and provide feedback on your form. If you prefer to practice at home, there are many online resources and videos that can help you learn the correct alignment for each pose.
E. Can yoga help with other respiratory illnesses besides the common cold?
Yes, yoga can be beneficial for other respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, and allergies. Many of the poses that help to boost immunity and relieve congestion can also be helpful for these conditions. However, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.
F. Are there any other lifestyle changes I can make to boost my immunity and prevent colds?
In addition to practicing yoga, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to boost your immunity and prevent colds. Eating a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Getting enough sleep, managing stress, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can also help to support your immune system.
Practicing yoga poses and pranayama exercises can be a helpful way to boost immunity and reduce the risk of illness, including colds and flu. By improving breathing, reducing stress, and promoting relaxation, yoga can help strengthen the body and improve overall well-being.
To get the most benefit, it is recommended to practice these yoga poses and pranayama exercises regularly, and to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine.