Ever wondered why the Surya Namaskar, or the sun salutation, enjoys an exalted position in traditional Indian wellness? It is because the sequence of several different asanas or postures it involves is known to activate, stretch and strengthen different muscles and energise the organs, keeping the body and mind in good health. “Yoga works primarily on detoxification. Toxins are a breeding ground for illness and those need to be cleansed. It is also why, other than postures, yoga puts a lot of emphasis on the various cleansing techniques or ‘shuddhikriyas’,” says Salima Poonawala, a Mumbai-based yoga instructor and founder of Yoga Sadhana with Salima.
There are five cleansing practices recommended in yoga for the nose, stomach, intestine, skull, abdominal organs and eyes. Yoga experts say that the practice works at multiple levels since each step correlates to different organs. Every posture or sequence mobilises the entire body and increases the flow of oxygen and enhances blood circulation. This combination of postures and the beneficial effects on the body are believed to build and boost immunity or the body’s ability to fight off disease.
While it’s been a part of traditional wisdom for centuries, an increasing number of people are acknowledging the beneficial effects of yoga and exercise on the immune system. Its effects go way beyond the physical level of keeping the muscles fit and toned. Exercising the body has a favourable impact at the physiological, mental and emotional level. “When done on a regular basis, yoga has been scientifically proven to boost the immune system. Regular yoga exercise mobilises the T cells which guards the body against infection and contributes to our immune system,” says Dr Manoj Kutteri, wellness director, Atmantan Wellness Centre
A medium to intense workout that includes yoga, cardiovascular or weight training is known to improve muscle strength and endurance by activating blood circulation to different parts of the body and increasing the supply of nutrients to the tissues. “Exercise helps maintain homeostasis which is the stability and constancy that is needed for our body to function properly. Healthy functions of organs like the lungs, heart and our digestive system will provide you with necessary energy to tackle daily activities,” says Sarvesh Shashi, founder of SARVA.
The past year, in particular, has drawn attention to the importance of health and immunity in being …….