Everybody enjoys monsoon season because we love the rain, pleasant weather, and everything associated with it. However, the rainy season is also the season for a variety of diseases like dysentery, asthma, arthritis, skin diseases, cold, etc. The immune system plays a role in defending the body’s defense against microbes, and other threats to health, but it is also the culprit in the phenomena of allergies and hypersensitivity.
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
The immune system is a collection of cells (such as B-cells, T-cells, etc.), chemical messengers (e.g. cytokine), and proteins (such as immunoglobulin), that work together to protect the body from potentially harmful, infectious microorganisms (microscopic life forms) – such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It generates Immunoglobin E or IgE, which attacks the particular allergen that enters the body. When the IgE encounters its allergen, it binds to it, and the cell, to which the IgE is attached, and releases histamine, cytokines or leukotrines, or any powerful inflammatory chemical. The allergic reaction occurs if the body tissues are sensitive to the allergen.
YOGA & PRANAYAMA
Following are some Yogasana & Pranayama techniques that improve lung function, as well as increase immunity.
• Lie flat on the stomach on the mat with legs straight, feet together, toes facing outside, and forehead on the floor.
• Place your hands directly under the chest; your thumbs should touch the nipples. Relax the whole body.
• Inhale, lift your head up, chest up, and stretch your head back as far as possible. Make sure you are comfortable doing it.
• See that the arms remain half bent at the elbows.
In this asana, lungs will be vertical and will also expand transversely. You will be able to suck in more oxygen. Hold the position as long as you can, without experiencing any difficulty. Now exhale, while lowering the body. Repeat 3-5 times.
• Lie on your back on the mat with your knees bent.
• Inhale, lift your hips slightly off the floor, and put your hands under your tailbone, with your palms facing the floor – your thumbs touching each other.
• Now rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands (don’t lift them off your hands as you perform this pose). Try to adjust your forearms and elbows under the spine properly.
• While pressing your forearms and elbows firmly against the floor, inhale, draw your head backward, and place the top of the head on the floor.
• Deepen the arch by lifting the chest up.
• Your weight should rest more on your elbows than your head.
• Breathe normally all the while, keeping your legs and lower torso relaxed.
• To come out of the pose, exhale, lift your head and place it gently back down, then release the arms. Repeat the asana 3-5 times.
This posture gives a backward stretch to the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions of the spine and expands the chest fully. It fills the lungs with air and increases lung capacity, just as a fish fills its gills with air.
SITTING POSTURE FOR PRANAYAMA
Sit in any comfortable posture with the spine and head erect. You can keep your hands on the knees in Gyan Mudra Posture (join the tips of the index fingers to the tips of the thumbs while keeping the other fingers extended and loose). Close your eyes gently and relax all the muscles.
OMKAR PRANAYAMA TECHNIQUE
There is no scientific training necessary for practice of Omkar.
• Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose.
• Open the lips and start chanting O – slowly, but loudly.
• Close your lips completely and pronounce M.
• In this pranayama O – i.e. AU – is prolonged and M is short.
• Do this practice for 5 minutes.
BHRAMARI PRANAYAMA TECHNIQUE
• Inhale slowly, and deeply, through the nose.
• Keep the lips closed and start humming loudly, and smoothly, like a bee through the throat. One has to make a sound from the throat via the nose.
• At the end of the exhalation, take a long deep breath in and repeat the process consciously and slowly. Do this practice for 5 minutes.
BENEFITS OF OMKAR and BHRAMARI PRANAYAMA
• By chanting or humming, immune, respiratory, circulatory, alimentary, genito- urinary, nervous and endocrine systems get benefitted.
• Through both the pranayamas, we get ample blood supply to the brain. In addition, there is lesser strain on the heart in circulating blood to the brain. Good for epilepsy, paralytic problem, stress, tension, allergies, asthma, hypertension, heart, headache, migraine pain, concentration, and memory.
• These pranayamas increase the vital energy, strength, power, and purify the thoughts. Also relax, harmonize, and rejuvenate the body and mind, and decrease the level of fatigue; very good for weak and sick people.
• Vocal cords are toned up and are recommended for singers.
SIVANANDA PRANAYAMA POSITION
Lie down on the mat with face upwards. Bend both the legs from the knees. Keep the distance between the legs the same as the distance between the two shoulders. Keep the palms of the hands facing upward – a little away from the body. Close the eyes.
Start watching the breath. Breathe in as slowly as possible. Breathe out as slowly as possible. Now begin to deepen, lengthen, and extend this movement consciously. While inhaling, let the abdomen rise to its limit, and at exhalation, let it fall completely. Keep watch on each breath. Do this practice ten to fifteen minutes in the morning, noon, evening – as well as late night, whenever your stomach feels light (about three hours after meals).
By doing Sivananda Pranayama, we get maximum oxygen by inhaling. The air (containing oxygen) that we breathe, into our lungs, is transferred into our blood, which travels around our body – delivering oxygen to our brain, organs, and all other parts of our body. It helps the nervous system, the heart, the digestive system, muscles, sleep, energy levels, mental soundness, concentration, and memory – and much more. When we exhale properly, we also get rid of the waste products like carbon dioxide, toxins, etc.
Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio. A popular studio that helps you find natural solutions for complete health and detoxification.
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Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into this discipline over 25 years ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh(India).
She believes firmly that Yoga is a scientific process, which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succour to several chronic and terminally ill patients through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy. She is also imparting Yoga Teachers Training.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is running a Yoga Studio in Secunderabad (Hyderabad, India).
More posts by this author:
- Makarasana… The Yoga Solution For Many Health Problems
- SUKHPURVAKA PRANAYAMA
- YOGA FOR ANEMIA
- YOGA FOR KNEES
- NADIS OR THE NERVOUS SYSTEM