Yoga and respiratory resilience: Exercises to beat winter cold and flu naturally | Health

In the chilly season of winter, maintaining respiratory health becomes paramount but experts insist that Yoga, with its gentle yet powerful approach, can be a natural ally in boosting respiratory resilience and fending off those pesky winter cold and viral flu.

Yoga and respiratory resilience: Exercises to beat winter cold and viral flu naturally (Photo by Shutterstock for representational purpose only)

Pranayama/Breathing Techniques:

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, Founder of Akshar Yoga Kendraa, shared, “One fundamental aspect of Yoga is conscious breathing. Pranayama, or breath control, involves various techniques aimed at expanding lung capacity and enhancing overall respiratory function. The breathing technique of Surya Bedi Pranayama, where you breathe deeply into your right nostril and exhale from left can help build heat within the system, keep you warm and promote better oxygen exchange. Kapal bhati pranayama can also be very beneficial during the winter season. These simple yet effective practices can help in bolstering your respiratory system.”

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Asanas for Lung Health:

Yoga poses, or asanas, can specifically target and strengthen the respiratory muscles. Poses like Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) and Ustrasana (Camel Pose) open up the chest and promote lung expansion. These asanas not only enhance flexibility but also encourage deeper breaths, facilitating better airflow and oxygenation.

Immune-Boosting Benefits:

According to Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, regular Yoga practice has been linked to immune system support as asanas stimulate the lymphatic system, aiding in the circulation of immune cells throughout the body. This heightened immune activity can act as a natural defense mechanism against viruses and infections, including those associated with the winter season.

Reducing Stress:

Revealing that stress is often a silent contributor to compromised respiratory health, Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar said, “Yoga, with its emphasis on mindfulness and relaxation, can be a potent stress-buster. Practices like Savasana (Corpse Pose) and meditation help calm the nervous system, reducing stress levels and indirectly supporting immune function. A relaxed mind and body are better equipped to ward off seasonal ailments.”

Healing Walk:

Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar highlighted, “Healing walk is a special type of body dynamics wherein we form a structure and then use the structure to walk. It is believed that by following this particular method of practice we will be able to prevent and even eliminate many types of diseases that affect the body which even medical science does not have a cure for yet. Whether a person is suffering from physical issues, emotional, mental, or spiritual, healing walk takes care of all these different aspects of one’s being.”

  • Technique – Lift your arms up keeping them at shoulder width distance. Now, start walking with your arms raised in this position and your hands can be up in the air for 1-3 minutes. Initially this may not be possible as you will have to train the muscles of your arms and shoulders and strengthen them. Build up to 1-3 minutes gradually by starting of with a minute increase and so on until you are physically capable enough with the strength required to hold your arms up for 1-3 minutes straight. One round practice will require you to perform a minimum of three sets of these walks of minimum 1-3 minutes each.

Hydration and Yoga:

Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar concluded, “Staying adequately hydrated is crucial for respiratory health, especially in dry winter conditions. Certain Yoga practices can naturally induce a sense of mindfulness about hydration. Through the combination of deep breathing techniques and immune-boosting asanas, yoga offers a multifaceted toolkit for combatting winter colds and flu. Practice these straightforward practices to breathe easier and welcome the season with a resilient, healthful spirit.”

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