In case I haven’t shouted enough about it – I filmed a yoga programme! I’m so excited that it is finally available and I’m able to share with the world some lovely practices that may help to support a healthy immune system.
It’s been a labour of love to put together, but also a fairly painful experience of having to watch 4+ hours of myself when I checked the videos. You learn a lot about yourself when you do this: your habitual patterns (I apparently bounce around a lot when I talk?!?), your speech patterns (I ‘umm’ when I talk but not when I teach?!?) and your internal monologue (aka that horrible voice in your head that focuses on “omg you look so fat” instead of “omg you filmed a yoga programme”).
Anyway, let’s jump right in.
What is it?
It’s a four-part programme that focuses on bringing back balance to our minds and bodies and, as a result, aim to balance to our immune system as well. Each session has a slightly different focus:
- Breath: This first session is all about opening up the body for breath. The physical practice comprises postures that release tension in the muscles that support breathing, in particular around the spine and torso. We then follow this with a breathing practice and a mindfulness of breathing meditation.
- Ground: The second session focuses on grounding. We’ll start with a standing meditation (just a short one – I definitely recommend trying this if you’ve never done it before), follow with a gentle physical practice and end with a grounding breathing practice.
- Release: If you like yin yoga and yoga nidra, this is the session for you. Apart from the dragons (which, as many of you know, is my least favourite yin pose!), this is a fairly relaxing yin session, and it’s accompanied by a yoga nidra designed to help you relax and completely let go.
- Balance: The final session of the four-part programme is all about balance – just as we want balance in our immune system (and life in general to be honest), we also want a balanced yoga practice. The physical practice combines a dynamic flow with a relaxing and restorative sequence. We then end with a progressive muscle relaxation, followed by a balancing breathing practice.
Why practice yoga for immune health?
This programme combines many of the things I’ve learned through my research on the effects of yoga on our immune system and my knowledge of different yoga styles. If I were to summarise everything in three bullets (aka my elevator pitch):
- Stress can wreck havoc on our bodies, and that includes our immune system. This may mean an overactive immune system with excessive inflammation or a suppressed immune system that cannot respond to challenges like pathogens or even tumour cells (see here for more information)
- Yoga can help to support a healthy immune system by countering these effects of stress (see for example here, here and here)
- This is likely to be, at least in part, through the activation of the vagus nerve (see again here and also here), either direct or through the breath (see here). It may also be indirectly, eg by improving our sleep.
Ok, I’m sold, how do I get it?
If you are a MoreYoga member, I believe you get it for free. Otherwise it’s £9.99 per month for a subscription, which includes on-demand courses as well as live-streamed classes (currently on launch offer for £5.00 per month). There is also a 30-day free trial, which you can use to try out my programme alongside other offerings.
Oh and by the way
I added a disclaimer in the description of the programme – as you may remember, I’ve recently become a little paranoid that I’m perpetuating the “natural is best” fallacy, which is oh so dominant in the yoga world. So here it is again. This is not medical advice. This is not a replacement for medication or, more topical, for vaccination. This is a programme that may help to support a healthy immune system together with other things like a balanced diet, exercise and any medication you need to take.
Enjoyed this blog post? You can now buy me a coffee and keep me caffeinated to research and write.