Summer season comes to an end and those rain breezes give us coolness and a moment to find happiness and relaxation. But, for people with weak immune system, monsoon season comes with the fear of a cough and cold. Coughing from time to time helps our body to clear particles and secretions from the lungs and helps to prevent infection. Though a chronic cough is not serious, when it extends over the week, brings unpleasant experience for the patients. That includes a headache, dizziness, muscle strain, body pain, insomnia and excessive sweat.
If someone around you is infected with the cold or cough virus, then there is a chance that you can get it too because this virus is airborne. The virus passes through your nose and throat. Once your immune system gets the signal, it sends out white blood cells to attack the viruses.
But, we are blessed with an ancient system of yoga practice. Yes, you read the right word yoga. Regular practice of yoga balances the body’s energy system or nadis and boosts your immune system. It also helps in reducing the stress hormones. Apart from yoga, pranayama or breathing exercises also helps in absorbing more oxygen into the lungs, prevents a cough and cold.
So, let start the practice with some useful breathing exercises to prevent a cough and cold.
- Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breath)
This is an excellent breathing practice since we get the maximum amount of oxygen due to full inhalation and exhalation process during the practice. Regular practice of this breathing exercise helps to improve your concentration and stronger the lungs.
- Sit comfortably on your mat. Take few deep breaths through both nostrils and fill the lungs with air and then exhale. You can hear a hissing sound while exhaling.
- Inhale deeply and exhale completely. Exhale is an excellent way to remove toxins from your body.
- Repeat this procedure for 3-5 times.
It has a cleansing effect on the lungs, balances and strengthens the nervous system and tones the digestive organs. Moreover, it removes sleepiness and energizes the mind for mental work. Regular practice of this breathing exercise removes toxins from the body and helps to clean the internal system thoroughly.
This breathing practice helps to enhance the supply of oxygen throughout your body. It improves blood circulation and relaxes your body and mind. It also helps to cure a headache, migraine and neurological problems. Anulom Vilom pranayama cleans the pranic channels and makes sure prana flow freely in the entire body
4. Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean Breathing)
This pose helps to improve Increases lung capacity and with each exhalation maximum toxins get released.
- First, sit on the Padmasana or simple sitting pose. Inhale deeply with both nostrils along with contraction inside the throat which makes the breath long and thin.
- The friction of air should be felt inside the throat when it is contracted and you can feel a hissing sound of breath.
- Now exhale out very slowly. Now, try to touch your chin to the upper side of the chest (Jalandhar Bandha or throat lock).
- Hold the breath inside for maximum 10 seconds (Kumbhaka).
- Now exhale out slowly with left nostril, by closing right nostril with your right-hand thumb. Exhale must be done by left nostril only.
After finishing the above deep breathing exercises, now you can practice the below effective yoga poses to fight a cough or cold and to improve your immune system.
This pose stretches your neck, stimulates the thyroid glands and reduces the stiffness of muscles and joints. Regular practice can energize your body, remove anxiety and reduce stress level.
- Ustrasana (Camel pose)
This pose stretches the stomach, abdomen, and intestines. It is very helpful in strengthening the backs and shoulders.
- Kneel on your mat placing your hands on your hips. The knees and shins should touch the ground.
- Now keep your knees and shoulders in the same line, and the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling.
- Inhale slowly. Arch your back and draw your tailbone in towards your pubis. Now, gently slide your palms over your feet and straighten your arms.
- Keep your neck free and neutral. Make sure it is not to be strained.
- Hold the position for as long as you can and then come back to the original position.
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
It Strengthens the whole back body and abdominal muscles, opens up the chest, neck, and shoulders. Those who suffer from excessive problems of spinal cord and disc should not perform this pose.
- Lie on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by the side of your body.
- Fold your knees, take your hands backward and hold your ankles.
- Inhale and lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and back.
- Look forward and stay there while paying attention to your breath. Now, your body looks like a curve.
- Continue to take long deep breaths as you relax in this pose. Bend as far as your body permits and don’t force your body unnecessary.
- After few seconds, as you exhale, gently bring your legs and chest to the ground. Release the ankles and relax.
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This pose helps in improving digestion and circulation of blood. It also reduces stress, depression and stretches the chest, spine, neck, and hips.
- Lie on the floor with knees bent and directly over heels.
- Place arms at sides, palms down. First, inhale and then exhale and press feet into floor as you lift your hips.
- Make a fist with your hands under lower back and press arms down. Lift your hips until thighs are parallel to the floor, bringing chest towards the chin. Stay for few breaths.
This pose increases flexibility, elevates mood and strengthens arms and shoulders. It also improves circulation of blood flow and oxygen and removes fatigue and stress.
- Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
This pose stretches the back of the legs, calms the mind and nervous system. It also regulated blood flow and improves digestion. Practice this pose to give your body a better relaxation.
- Lie down flat on your back in supine position.
- Position your buttocks closer to the wall as much as possible and then Inhale slowly and deeply.
- Rest both your legs on the wall while keeping them straight.
- Tilt your toes towards your body until you feel the pressure on your hamstrings.
- Stretch both your hands on either side of your body.
- Hold the position with regular breathing for at least 2-3 minutes.
Jal Neti: In addition to the above yoga poses and deep breathing practices, Jal neti is also very effective to give relief in a cough, cold or effects of sinusitis. Jal neti is a nasal cleaning technique which uses warm water with rock salt to clean the mucus accumulated in your nasal passage. When the passage gets cleaned, chances of infection gets reduced.
Regular practice of yoga improves your immune system and enhances your ability to fight the viruses in a better way.