Saturday, 13 December 2014

Winter Wellness

Here in York, UK we have had a heavy frost this weekend and it's only a few days until the winter solstice. Please watch my 'Winter Wellness Series' Playlist on YouTube to help ensure you stay well this winter. The Playlist contains five videos.

Please read my blog disclaimer before following these videos 

Why do we get more ill in winter?

There are several theories as to why we succumb to illness more in the cold weather than in the warmer summer months.
• In winter we tend to stay indoors so that viruses are more easily passed from person to person
• Because we tend to stay indoors more in the colder months, wear more clothes when we do go out and the sun’s rays are weaker there is a tendency to become deficient in vitamin D which is linked with reduced immunity
• Some viruses such as flu viruses have a fatty outer shell which in colder temperatures is more solid enabling the virus to survive longer and transmit from person to person
• In colder temperatures the blood vessels in the nostrils tend to constrict so that the white blood cells which attack invading organisms are not as near to the point of entry of the viruses and the viruses can gain entry to the body.
• Some people are particularly susceptible to winter depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder due to decreased levels of light which in turn can lower immunity.

How can yoga help us stay well in winter

• Yoga relieves stress which impairs immunity through chest opening, poses that move the area around the adrenal glands (located just above the kidneys) such as backbends.  When the adrenal glands are stimulated and supplied with fresh blood, they produce less cortisol a hormone that produces the stress response in the body and impairs immunity.  Breathing techniques and meditation also relieve stress.
• Yoga helps the endocrine system work efficiently. In particular the thymus gland processes white blood cells into T lymphocytes which stimulate the body’s production of antibodies.  Kundalini yoga is especially effective for balancing the endocrine system. Please see my videos on YouTube 'Kundalini yoga to help boost immunity' Part 1 and Part 2
• Yoga forward bends and inversions encourage the flow of lymph which contains the white blood cells that deal with invading organisms.
• Yoga twists, squats and forward bends improve digestion and elimination helping to remove toxins from the body.
• Yoga chest openers and breathing techniques improve lung function, clearing out any excess mucus from the lungs which may allow invading organisms to multiply.
• Yoga inner thigh stretches and backbends balance the kidney and bladder meridians enhancing winter wellbeing.  Please see guest post on Alchem Yoga

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