Yoga Practice

16 Yoga Poses to Boost Your Immune System

Power up your immune system and beat cold-and-flu season with these purifying twists and balancing standing poses.

Inspired by Ayurveda, this yoga sequence for your immune system is designed to keep you healthy during cold and flu season. It contains both heated poses to help clear congestion, and soothing, restorative postures to build ojas, or vigor, which is often considered the protective buffer of your immune system.

An immune-boosting yoga sequence

Before you begin, gather your props: blankets, bolster, block, eye pillow. In the following poses, enjoy 3 to 5 breaths unless otherwise noted.

Supta Virasana

A woman demonstrates Supta Virasana in yoga

Place a folded blanket at the top of a bolster. Sit between your heels with the bolster behind your tailbone. Lie back on the bolster, resting your head on the blanket. Turn your palms up. Stay here for 10 to 15 breaths.

See also Got Tight Quads? Yes, You Can Still Enjoy Supta Virasana

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Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend)

None

Slowly sit up, and then stand up with your feet about 4 feet apart. Interlace your fingers behind your back, and straighten your arms. Fold forward, lifting your arms up toward the ceiling. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths.

Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana (Revolved Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend)

None

Unclasp of your fingers. Place your left hand on a block at a comfortable height in line with your sternum. Twist to the right. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Do both sides.

See also 10 Ways to Use Blocks to Advance Your Yoga Practice

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Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)

None

Slowly come to standing. Bring your feet hip-width apart. Interlace your fingers and extend your arms up. Lift your heels, balancing on the balls of your feet. After 5 breaths, lower your heels and your arms.

See also Honor the Complexity of the Simplest Stretch: Upward Salute

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana III (Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)

None

Shift weight to your left foot. Lift your right knee and interlace fingers underneath. Grasp your right foot with your left hand. Twist right and extend your right arm. Exit the twist, returning to standing.

Virabhadrhasana III (Warrior III)

None

Interlace your fingers behind your back, and extend your arms. Shift weight onto your left leg, lean forward and lift your right leg to hip height. Press your knuckles up to the sky. Repeat poses 4 to 6 on second side.

See also 10 Yoga Poses to Build Better Balance

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) 

None

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Fold forward from your hips, and place your hands on the floor. Evenly distribute weight in your feet. Extend up through your sitting bones and down through your crown.

See also Should You Bend Your Knees in Forward Fold

Plank Pose

None

Step or hop your feet back into Plank Pose. Align your hands directly under your shoulders, and spread your fingers wide. Firm your thighs, and gently draw your belly in toward your spine to engage your core.

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Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose)

None

Shift weight to your right hand, and roll onto the outside of your right foot. Extend your left arm along your left ear. Lift your left hip and arch your side. Breathe into the left side ribs. Repeat poses 8 and 9 on second side.

Watch: Side Plank Pose Cues

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) 

None

Lift your hips into Down Dog, and press your heels down. Hang your head between your upper arms. After each exhalation, hollow out your belly and pause for a moment before your next inhalation.

See also Dig Deeper in Down Dog

Eka Hasta Bhujasana (Elephant’s Trunk Pose)

None

Sit with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your right leg, and wrap it over your right arm (as high as it will go). Press your hands into the floor, and lift your hips. Relax the breath, eyes, and jaw.

Marichyasana I

None

Bend your right knee. Place your right foot on the mat close to your groin and left thigh. Twist to your left, either binding the pose or placing fingertips on the floor in line with your chest. Breathe evenly into your ribcage. Repeat poses 12 and 13 on second side.

See also: Poses to Relieve Lower Back Pain in Twists

Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head-of-the-Knee Pose)

None

Bend your right knee, and place the sole of your right foot on your inner left thigh. Sidebend to the left, reaching your right arm along your right ear. If you can, hold your left foot with both hands. Do both sides.

See also 4 Ways to Satisfy Your Urge to Side Bend

Halasana (Plow Pose)

None

Lie back with your shoulders at the edge of 2 to 3 folded blankets. Engage your core and use momentum to lift your hips and legs up and over until the balls of your feet touch the floor. Interlace your fingers behind you.

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Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand)

None

Support your lower back with your hands as you gently roll down. Remove the blankets. Then lift your hips, and place a block at its medium height under your sacrum. Lift your legs, and evenly press up through your feet.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

None

Place a bolster behind you with a folded blanket on the top end. Lie back with your head on the blanket. Cover your eyes. Let your elbows and hands rest on the floor. Breathe gently.

See also Top Yoga Teachers Explain Why Savasana Is the Most Important Pose

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