When we talk about “immunity boosting” in this piece, we refer to helping the body do what it already knows: take care of itself, or stimulate its innate capacity to heal, by taking a moment to rest in yoga postures. Resting is the equivalent of the whole system taking a breather so it can stoke the fires of that vibrant, alive-ness with which many of us like to recharge everyday. During stressful times, the mind often needs to be calmed before doing this kind of practice. Tell yourself words to the effect of: “Now, I am ready to rest.” Be kind, but firm, since this is time you are taking to honour yourself.
Gently place your forehead against a wall and allow the skin to slide towards your nose: this posture slightly increases the pressure around the frontal lobe, which helps settle the mind, an essential part of stimulating immunity.
Take 10 breaths here allowing the breath to gently fill your abdomen, all the way to your feet.
Sit in a cross-legged position (sukhasana) with a chair in front of you and rest your forehead on both hands: this posture gently stretches the posterior fascia of the neck, back and pelvis, which tense up in stressful times.
Be sure to relax the jaw in this posture. If sitting on the ground is not comfortable, place a blanket under the pelvis and pillows under the legs for support. Effortlessly rest the arms. Take 10 full breaths here, then another 10 switching with the opposite leg crossed in front.
Lie on you back and place the heels against the wall for viparita karani, a posture which supports circulation in the body, as it facilitates the return of venous blood to the heart for oxygenation, which also carries hormones to their target tissues.
The legs should be completely relaxed. If the muscles of the backs of the legs feel tight, settle far enough in order for the legs to create a 45-degree angle with the wall. A blanket can also be placed under the head for optimal comfort. Spend 5 to 10 minutes here, breathing gently, relaxing the lower belly and sensing the body.
To get out of this posture, bend the knees, roll to the side and take a few moments lying on your side. Then, press into the hands to come up to a seated position. Notice how you feel.
Raeven Geist-Deschamps seeks to shed light on people’s experience with their bodies, so they can discover the health and vibrancy therein. She is an osteopath and yoga instructor at Studios Vert Prana. She is currently completing her dissertation on the autonomic nervous system and its relationship to osteopathy. She is also a storyteller and co-producer of Confabulation, a monthly storytelling event.