Strengthen Your Immune System with Yin Yoga & Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine, the immune system is comprised of a protective barrier of Qi called Wei Qi ( pronounced “way chee”), that circulates through the soft tissues while also emanating about an inch around the outside of the body. Like a force field, Wei Qi prevents external pathogens, like viruses and bacteria, from making us sick.

When Wei Qi is robust, we are less likely to catch the seasonal flu that’s going around. Unfortunately, extreme environmental conditions, like the frigid temperatures of winter, can effectively “poke holes” in the structure of the Wei Qi and compromise our immunity.

There are things we can do to fortify our defenses. Most of these are going to sound like common sense. Doctors and old wives have been saying these kinds of things forever, but here’s what we can take away from the Chinese perspective.

  • Eat Nutrient-rich Food. In Chinese medicine, we can replenish our Qi in one of two ways: through the air that we breathe and through the food that we eat. Specifically, the Stomach and Spleen extract Grain Qi from the food that we eat. Our limited options for replenishing Qi is why diet is such an integral part of the Chinese approach to health. In the winter, avoid raw and cold foods because they will only contribute to excess cold and weaken your Wei Qi. Check out this great article on eating through the Chinese Medicine lens.

In spite of our best efforts, there are times when we feel run down, and this is a warning sign that our Wei Qi is compromised. When that happens, you have some options:

  • Back off and Slow Down. As soon as you notice yourself feeling off, respond by slowing down, going to bed early, and saying no to things when you can. I know this sounds obvious, but how many of us really follow this wisdom?

Try the following Yin Yoga sequence to circulate Qi to the organs most associated with Wei Qi: Stomach and Spleen (for better Grain Qi absorption), Lungs (for better Qi circulation), and Kidneys (to avoid Qi depletion). I intentionally picked low-key postures to help with Kidney Qi conservation.

Immune-boosting Yin Yoga Sequence

Hi! I’m Jennifer O’Sullivan (Sati Yoga). I write about yoga, meditation, stress management, functional anatomy, and bit of this and that about living a healthy life. I teach yoga classes and workshops in the Washington, DC area, and you can find me online at Facebook, Instagram, or www.sati.yoga.

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