being balanced and healthy for the whole to function optimally.


ur bodies are complex systems and the immune system very much depends on each system

and the whole bit is compromised. What Yoga does extraordinarily well is inviting balance to each system individually while tending to the whole collectively through the varied practices offered. Many think of Yoga either in terms of

acrobatic maneuvers and/or weird ascetic practices that are equally foreign and un- attractive. Either holds some truth but neither is accurate. To put it simply, Yoga is the art and science of wellbeing. Wheth- er stated as Hatha, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Power Flow, Gentle, Yin, Kundalini etc.., all are systematic approaches to wellness gained through practices that address imbalances whether physical, psycho- logical or emotional. When we come onto the mat and engage in the physical prac- tice we effectively stimulate every system regardless of the level of acrobatics we engage in. It’s simply a matter of under- standing which poses does what to gain the maximum benefit while observing the first tenement of the practice: abstain from doing harm i.e. ahimsa. Thinking that Yoga is only for the flexible is like saying taking a bath is only for those already clean! Truth is EVERYBODY benefits from Yoga but not all Yoga is for everybody. The physical (asana) practice works

on bringing balance to the muscular- skeletal system, but since everything is connected, the practice also positively effects the cardiovascular, respiratory, di- gestive, endocrine and nervous system. The key lies in selecting the right practice for you. Anything can be either potion or poison. If you don’t feel rejuvenated and refreshed upon finishing it’s just not the right practice for you right now so seek out another one. Start slow and if unsure seek out a qualified teacher.

It’s not only ok to

‘interview’ a teacher before beginning your Yoga journey, it’s preferred. We like to know what concerns you may have so that we can guide you and support you in your practice.

But enough talking - let’s practice.

Combining mindful movement with mind- ful breathing is the key. Do what feels right and don’t over-do - simply:


Why Yoga Benefits Your Immune System Repeat several times.

Ignore one system

• Finally finish with gentle spinal undu- lations - inhale and arch the back, exhale and round. Repeat for several breath cycles.

• Now return to where we began, resting your hands in your lap and either soften your gaze or close your eyes and sit like this for several breaths.

It’s that easy! You just practiced Yoga

• Sit with an easy upright spine and feet comfortable resting on the floor.

• Breathe in, breathe out - preferably through your nose - simply notice the breath as you draw it in and then release it. Do this for several breath cycles.

• Next as you breathe in let your arms and hands float out and up; breathe out and let your arms and hands relax back down. Repeat this for several breaths.

• Pause and reconnect to your breath again.

• Now simply add a gentle forward fold to the routine - beginning by inhaling your arms up and when you exhale you fold forward and either bring your hands to your knees or all the way to the floor; go only as far as it is comfortable - skip anything that doesn’t feel good.

• Pause again and check in.

• Now add a gentle twist to the seated arm-lift practice so that you inhale the arms up then exhale and twist the spine and bring the arms down to one side.

meaning that you positively effected your respiratory system by deepening your breath, the cardiovascular system by the gentle movements, the digestive and en- docrine system both with the twisting and finally the nervous system by breathing mindfully and pausing your mind from stressful rumination and chatter. Taking a break from stress directly effects your body by lowering the stress hormones which if chronic seriously impairs your immune system. In short you gave all systems a little tune-up and your immune system just kicked up a nudge. The main trouble with Yoga is that to

gain the benefits of the practice(s) we have to do it, and do it repeatedly. Many begin all gung-ho but then the steam evaporates and there we are. In Patanjali’s 196 Yoga verses, the millennia old and most referred to guide-book on all things Yoga, he rec- ognizes that we are likely to give up and reminds us in verse 1:14 ‘For the practice to be of benefit we must tend to it regu- larly, for a long period of time and with great trust and appreciation.’ So think of Yoga as your wellness vitamin that will support your wellness heading Patanjali’s warning in verse 2:16 by telling us that pain that is yet to come can be avoided. It truly is a stitch in time…..

So remember Yoga is not difficult and

it should never be painful but your practice does need to be consistent for you to be able to both strengthen and tap into a ready and powerful immune system for when you need it.

Written by Anne G. Hoffman, ERYT500, CECI, Now Happy Yoga, LLC. Contact info: or 336-301-4932.

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