This post is a special addition to my monthly posts to help everyone out there gain greater access to boost immunity and feelings of confidence during the U.S. pandemic of Coronavirus. The following post will help you understand another component of power you have over your immunity at this challenging time.
Did you know that good posture positively affects your mood? There have been many articles written and psychological studies enacted to prove that good posture can and does improve mood. Our moods are also intimately connected to our level of immunity. Many of us, in this time of Coronavirus, may not be feeling particular positive emotionally. That lack of confidence or positivity may also be affecting posture and immunity. You may not even realize where it started: in your mind or in your body. As a teacher of yoga and a wellness entrepreneur, I understand well how the body informs the mind and the mind informs the body. They are constantly "talking" to each other to create a healthy equanimity between the two. It is as if the body and mind are always dynamically working to be mirror images of the other. Our breath is also a major player here, acting as the bridge between the two, reflecting through shallow breathing or deep diaphragmatic breathing that we are either in trouble or safe. This is all important information if we can start to tap into it with our attention.
What's so lovely about changing your posture is that it is free, quick and easy. Anyone one can do it, practically anytime. As most yoga practitioners know, there is a standing yoga asana called "mountain pose." This is essentially a lining up of the body in space in the healthiest way; one that stacks the bones, muscles and organs in healthy alignment. Our natural ability to feel good is intimately connected to how we hold ourselves in space. It is not just a physical, mechanical phenomenon; healthy posture also activates our energies and moods. In mountain pose, we feel connected to both: the earth below us and ethers above us fully and equally. It is refreshing, invigorating and confidence/mood boosting. When we boost our mood, we also boost our immunity because we know that our emotions are also woven in to immunity. Doing whatever you can to keep your mood positive during this time will be a nice little cherry-on-top of any other steps you are taking to protect yourself during this time of uncertainty.
Let's give it a try. Stand with feet about hip-width apart and press the feet fully into the earth. Now, lift the kneecaps and slightly engage your upper thighs. Take the inner thighs and act as if you are trying to point them behind you slightly. This action will create a soft release the low back. Now, energetically draw your low belly in and up, feeling the pelvis tilt slightly forward. Here think of the pelvis as a bowl full of liquid energy that you do not want to spill out. Next, slightly lengthen the low back, softly drawing the lumbar spine toward the earth. You should feel your lower body strong, grounded and steady. From here lift your chest up out of your midsection, noticing a slight expansion in the front of the body and a slight arching of the back, feeling the shoulder blades moving into the body while the chest expands and the sternum lifts. Inhale and expand your collarbones. Now bring your awareness back to your steady stance of the feet and draw the crown of the head as far away from the feet as possible, lowering the chin ever so slightly toward the neck. Don't "manhandle" that action, just be intentional. Lastly, bring the hands together at heart center and press them into each other, creating a circuit.
Start to notice what you are feeling emotionally from holding this position. Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a strong, quiet mountain, confident and steady through all circumstances. Stay here for at least 5-10 long, slow, full breaths, then, check in again on your mood. Do you feel a greater sense of balance, a sense of renewed energy, strength, positivity or confidence? I'll bet you're feeling something positive brewing. As you complete the exercise and open your eyes, make a mental note to check in on your posture throughout the day. If you're feeling sassy, maybe even imagine yourself wearing your "super" cape, walking tall and tapping into your own super powers! I hope you enjoyed this little exercise. There is power to be enjoyed by standing tall. Stay strong and positive, optimistic and healthy!