Why Yogis Have The Strongest Immune Systems


Photo courtesy of Shannon Yrizarry

When it comes to health, our culture has become very reactive instead of preventive. Yoga has the ability to strengthen your first defense, your immune system. When paired with a healthy, low acidity diet and proper sleep, you can say goodbye to the colds and viruses that people try vehemently to avoid often on a prayer without tangible prevention techniques.

Here are some basic poses that will increase your white blood cell count which strengthens your neutrophils and macrophages that attack and destroy viruses before they enter your temple also known as your body. Downward-facing dog and cat-cow are poses I do at the beginning of almost all of my yoga classes and it’s not just for warming up, they are actually activating the immune system. Eagle pose, also known as Garudasana, is another pose that really boosts your super-humanness.


Photo courtesy of Shannon Yrizarry

Yogis thrive on an Ayurvedic diet which is full of carotenoids (colorful plant pigments), the body converts them to Vitamin A and uses them as antioxidants to fight off infections of the immune system. Yogis eat less processed foods which are highly acidic and choose more alkalizing plants to munch on thereby rendering the typical vicious cycle of doctor visits and referrals obsolete. Think it’s too good to be true? Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years as nutritional science which helps not only balance your body’s internal ecosystem but helps bring emotional stability, harmonizing the function of the thyroid and bringing hormonal balance.

Yogis have a better response to stress because of the breathing techniques that are not present in most other forms of exercise. The nervous system is calmed by the Ujjayi breath which reduces the amount of acidic cortisol released into the body. That acidic cortisol (the stress induced chemical) creates free radicals in the body which must steal from healthy skin cells to neutralize, causing pain and inflammation. The immune system can be compromised by having an acidic state in the body and become open to viruses. Yogis pure lifestyle of little to no alcohol, caffeine and processed foods is essential to keeping the bodies first line of defense strong like a warrior!


Photo courtesy of Shannon Yrizarry

When you think about the lifestyle of a yogi, you might envision a peaceful person working in a garden, at an organic restaurant, or other sustainable trades. Yogis focus on being stewards of the planet with a less-is-more attitude. This lifestyle focuses first on health, humble service and lower stress than the accumulation of material possession which some people refer to as ‘the rat race.’ The lifestyle of a yogi, is overall aimed towards tranquility, and stress being the number one contributing factor to poor eating decisions and heart disease, yogi’s have figured out a great way to remain happy and healthy in a preventive way. Ask any yogi how often they visit a doctor and you may be shocked to find their level of health is so optimized they do not even feel the need for insurance. Yoga is without a doubt empowering because we take less sick days, can make informed decisions about eating, and have the tools to keep ourselves healthy by just moving and breathing. There is a reason yoga is catching on, the health care system is broken because it is reactive, not preventive. The yogi lifestyle is the missing link.

For more information about Ayurveda visit Deepak Chopras website www.doshaquiz.chopra.com and take your free Dosha quiz. For information about immune boosting supplements visit www.ascendliving.net/shannon. Remember the more you practice, the stronger your immune system, so hit the mat, and be the stopping point for what’s going around this season!