Did you know that poor posture compresses our lungs making it difficult to breathe properly? It can also increase feelings of anxiety and stress, which can, in turn, affect our immune response.
Right now more than ever we want to ensure we are doing all we can to keep our immune systems in tip-top condition. Here is a simple routine you can follow in the comfort of your own home to improve your posture, open your lungs, support immunity and help you relax.
Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
How to do: Stand with your feet about double shoulder-width apart. Interlace your fingers behind your back, and straighten your arms. Fold forward, lifting your arms up toward the ceiling. You should feel a nice stretch in your chest. When you feel a good stretch -take a nice deep breath in and as you exhale try and go deeper into the posture.
What it does: This yoga pose helps to open up the chest which will improve your posture and give you more room for inhalation. It also brings blood flow to your head which helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the rest and relax portion of your nervous system. So not only is this pose great for your respiratory system, it can help relieve stress.
Side Child’s Pose
How to do: Start on all fours with your hands and knees on the ground and lower your hips onto your heels and press back with straight arms in front of you. Walk your hands to the right until you feel a good stretch along your left torso. Gently breathe into your left side ribs to loosen and stretch the side torso. Hold for 5 deep breath cycles. Try and imagine space increasing between your ribs with each breath. Repeat on the other side.
What it does: With too much time spent sitting and stress, the area around our ribcage tends to become compressed. This compression means that we are not able to breathe as deeply which can lower our immune response. With this pose the ribcage is opened, the torso lengthened and it allows us to take proper deep breaths – which will help boost our immunity and relieve stress. It also feels great and you can literally feel the tension melting away in this pose.
How to do: Start by lying on your belly, with your arms relaxed alongside your body, palms facing upwards, your legs extended straight back behind you and your forehead resting down on your mat. Bend your knees, bringing your heels in toward your buttocks. Reach your hands back and take a hold of your outer ankles. Begin to kick back into your feet and try and press your shins towards the back of the room. Keeping your knees hip width apart —lift your heels higher away from your buttocks and draw the tops of your shoulders away from your ears.Keep your chin parallel to the ground and look directly ahead of you.Remain in the pose for 5 deep breaths, then gently release your legs on the exhale and rest on your mat for several breaths with your arms alongside your body.
What it does: Bow pose opens up and stretches the front of the body, including the chest and shoulders, while strengthening the muscles of the back. Backbends like bow pose are great for improving your posture as they counteract slouching forward. They are also stimulating and energizing and help to combat stress and fatigue.
How to do: Begin on your knees with your legs and feet hip width apart. Place your hands behind you as if they were in the back pocket of your pants. Engage your core and press your hips and thighs forward. Lift your chest and reach back holding your heels with your hands. Try and look behind you and take five deep breaths. Slowly bring your hands back to your glutes and then exhale and lift your torso up.
What it does: Camel pose is another great backbend which is beneficial for your spinal mobility and your posture. It opens up your chest, stretches your shoulders and abdominal wall. By doing this it increases circulation throughout the front of your body which may be helpful in boosting your immunity.
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