Health is an old English word for whole. Our immune system does a remarkable job in defending us against sickness, but on occasion even this miraculous structure weakens. Boosting immunity begins by understanding the immune system as a whole. Through yoga, we can balance and harmonize the entire body. Like many people, my body has a mini breakdown during the winter. I now take extra care to ensure that my body is insulated from within and my vitamin D levels are elevated. Then I formulate a physical and spiritual practice to protect my body at this time. Most yoga poses will help to increase your immunity, but one of my favourite poses for firing up the system is the Bridge. This posture is not only great for opening the area around the heart, it also presses directly on two main acupressure points. You’ll get a feeling of vitality in the lower back and support on the shoulder blades, two inches away from the spine. These are the points said to help govern immunity, especially to colds and flu.
Lie on your back. Bend both knees and place your feet under your knees, hip-distance apart and parallel. Plant your hands by your hips and, curling your tailbone up to engage the navel, lift your hips high. Work your shoulder blades underneath you so they’re flat on the floor, and if possible, reach for, or toward, the outside of your ankles. Do not bind the hands under your body as this can lift you onto your arm muscles, and off your shoulder blades. We want to focus on the pressure points there, and into the lower back. Lift your chin and arch your neck just enough so you could slip a hand between the back neck curve and the floor. If this is hard for you, place a high block or a rolled towel or two under your hips.
Stay here, breathing into the shoulder blades for one minute or more, then come down and gently hug your knees into your chest. For a spiritual focus, I concentrate on lifting my heart up toward the sky and expanding my chest to opposite sides of the room. This actively increases the backbend, which is said to help us let go of our past and move us confidently into the future.