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Top 5 yoga poses to boost the immune system

Posted by Chelsea Rice  January 13, 2014 12:55 PM

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Cold and flu season is officially upon us. From work to school to home again, we're all trying to stay healthy despite our sick friends and family members. So what can you do to keep from falling victim? A sequence of yoga poses may be an effective way to fight off germs.

Some early research suggests this centuries-old discipline may benefit the immune system by increasing the circulation of blood cells, decreasing stress hormones, and stimulating the lymphatic system, which helps rid the body of toxins, but the findings are not definitive. A recent study suggests yoga may even strengthen an immune response at a genetic level. In fact, the data found that yoga may even be more effective than traditional exercise for increasing immunity.

Alexa Pozniak paid a visit to Roots Yoga in Burlington, Mass., where owner/instructor Ginger Boermeester demonstrates the following five yoga poses that she says can work to boost your immune system.

Downward dog: promotes circulation and helps to move white blood cells throughout the body. This is also an inversion pose, which helps to clear out the sinuses.

Cat-cow: a heart-opener pose that helps to improve circulation and clear congestion in the bronchials.

Cobra pose: stimulates the thymus gland nestled behind the breast bone, which sends out T-cells, a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight diseases or harmful substances.

Boat pose: this pose also stimulates the thymus gland by opening up the chest.

Bridge pose: opens and expands the chest area, which also stimulates the thymus gland and improves circulation.

Have an idea for a fitness feature? Tweet Alexa Pozniak @ApozTV.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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