Despite stacks of scientific evidence, some people are skeptical of the exact manner in which yoga boosts immunity. How can doing yoga daily for 30-mintues help strengthen the body? This doubt trips the intentions of most people from continuing with a sustained practice. Though the interest in yoga has been revived in India, its practice as a sustained health regimen is still not so common.
Below are details of current scientific evidence to prove that yoga does boost immunity.
Not just the physical practices, but also mindfulness meditation was found to increase the left-sided anterior activity in the brain, positively hiking the body's immune system. This, after just eight weeks of practice. A 30-minute daily practice of pranayama or breathing practices over a 10-week period can positively impact lung function, even relieving bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Meditation was found to increase activity in the left-side of the brain, affecting optimism. This in turn caused a significant increase in disease-fighting anti-bodies in the blood. Interestingly, those who meditated had more than those who just did yogic poses. Slow movements and meditation together can help prevent shingles and herpes virus incidence in the elderly, who were more prone to these due to sociological conditions that increased their depression.
Controlled breathing, slow yogic practices and meditation when practiced together helped reduce the cortisol levels in the blood. Cortisol is a known stress hormone. It is implicated in most diseases, including degenerative ones like BP, diabetes, and other ailments involving the arterial system, such as stroke, heart attacks, palpitations etc. Patients who practiced visual imagery and meditation recovered faster post-surgery. During exams, the students who practiced some form of meditative technique had higher antibodies in their blood, thus being protected from stress-weakened immune system. Depression, which caused aging, was brought under control by yoga.
Any sustained yoga practice is sufficient to boost immunity. Usually the result is near miraculous, occurring within six weeks of regular practice. Even a thrice-weekly practice has great results. But those with extremely weak immune system may need a more focused and planned yogic therapy. This could include a dietary overhaul, with more anti-oxidant rich fruits, vegetables and nuts. Another important factor could mean cutting down of artificial flavoring agents in baked goods, bottled drinks and packaged food; avoiding artificial colors in canned stuff, or processed food. A conscious choice of right
fats that could mean including rice-bran oil. Choosing unrefined oil over the nutrient-weak refined oil also may help. Other key nutrients needed to boost immunity include zinc, vitamin Bs (there is a whole range of them), vitamin C and vitamin D.