Teaching Yoga for Immune and Respiratory Health

Learn the nature of breath in relation to our natural defences and how it contributes to the health of our immune and respiratory systems. This course takes you through the functions of the immune and respiratory systems and how they orchestrate with each other in the body (and other body systems). Understand how to design practices to support their optimal function.

Immune and Respiratory Health

Course Description

The relationship between our immunity and how safe or unsafe we feel is tied into our breath, which becomes faster and shallower when we enter protective modes. Healing becomes compromised when we are get stuck in heightened stress responses - we cannot be in survival and growth at the same time.

Understanding how our immune system shapes our boundaries between the outside world and our internal landscape is key to supporting it, so it can respond to perceived threat and danger. Our respiratory system has a similar response to the internal and external; constantly taking in nourishment through the inhalation and releasing that which does not serve us through the exhalation. These two systems are intrinsically linked in our function and health, and how we relate to the world around us.

What will I Learn?

  • We will look at the immune and respiratory systems and how they relate to movement, embodied awareness and self-compassion.
  • We will explore a range of practices incorporating movement, meditation and breath to support respiratory and immune health
  • We will develop a sound understanding of how to structure effective sequences

Course Structure

Over the course of the six weeks you will receive:

  • A detailed presentation on an area of physiology and how the yoga system can support this. This will be pre-recorded in both video and audio format (self-study) for you to refer back to.
  • A pre-recorded physical practice to support respiratory and immune health in different planes and with a different relationship to gravity, presence and self – video and audio format for you to be able to revisit and explore the practices (self-study).
  • Live weekly discussion and group learning. The live group sessions will take place on Mondays 19:00 to 20:00 (UK time) from Monday 3 January to Monday 7 February
  • A supportive practice as an audio resource to bring in other aspects of the yoga path or related, more modern, complementary techniques (self-study).

The course will require 3.5 -4 hrs per week of study and practice.

Syllabus Breakdown

Week 1 - Healthy Defences

Presentation focus: Supporting our boundaries and breath – the territory. The mouth, nose and throat as gateway for immune defence. The rhythm of the breath and its anatomy.

Physical practice: Loosening and Somatic - grounding, self-regulation and recognising boundaries

Supportive practice: Mindfulness of breathing practices

Week 2 - Stress and Inflammation

Presentation focus: The autonomic nervous system in relation to breath and immunity; how inflammation is part of chronic stress patterns. How stress responses upset polarity and balance; how yoga can help restore these for immune and respiratory health.

Physical practice: Twisting and Undulating - for diaphragmatic movement, fascial release and lymphatic movement

Supportive practice: Cooling Heightened Responses - three stress-reducing practices; embodiment & release

Week 3 - Fluid Adaptation

Presentation focus: How bodily fluids and fascia are part of the whole orchestration of breath and immunity. Connections of the vagus nerve and nasal breathing on adaptive regulation and responses.

Physical practice: Lunging, Stepping and Squatting – basic, primal patterns for optimal breath and immunity that support how we rise up from ankles, knees and hips to support the upper body

Supportive practice: Heart-based Mudra meditations

Week 4 - Mindful Boundaries

Presentation focus: Appropriate containment for body fluids and our sense of cohesion, safety and a home to breathe fully. Clear distinction between our internal and external worlds that is part of boundaries and self-protection.

Physical practice: Standing into Full Breathing and Protective Support - full groundedness and relation to gravity for mobilising breath, fluid flow through all systems and self-protection through awareness

Supportive practice: Body Scan & Autogenic Release

Week 5 - Embodied Awareness

Presentation focus: How to support body self-regulation and homeostasis with interoception; tuning in and kind attention. Focus on the flow of prana and the vayus for movement of the breath body and immune fluids. How active relaxation and natural autonomic release support these aspects.

Physical practice: Rest and Recovery - consciously coming into full restorative modes for the space for breath and healing

Supportive practice: Traditional pranayama practices

Week 6 - Good Vibrations

Presentation focus: The mouth and throat as entry – health and softening as key to breath and immunity. How sound and mantra can support respiratory and immune health through vibration and support of tissues in the throat and mouth as first defence and gateway to the vitality of the breath.

Physical practice: Bringing it all together – a full sequence incorporating all of the aspects above, with sounding including

Supportive practice: Sounding and simple mantra

Course Assignments

At the end of the course there is an optional final assignment to design a class, based on what you have learned which will be marked with teacher feedback.

Who is the Course For?

Whilst this training is primarily aimed at yoga teachers and therapists, it is also open to experienced practitioners who wish to explore this area in more depth.

Attendance Requirement and Recordings

The live practice sessions are recorded but the discussions are not. As for a face to face course, presence at ALL DISCUSSION SESSIONS** is critical to fully engage with the course content and obtain certification.

The discussions are not recorded to ensure a safe space for all to share their experiences and personal background.

**A maximum of one half-day can be missed for health reasons only, students must demonstrate the equivalent of 80% attendance to achieve certification. You can not obtain certification by participating via recordings of the discussions**


Please note, a Certificate of Completion can only be issued to those who decide to do the optional final assessment and who successfully complete all elements of the course.

You will be given the option to sign up for the final assessment during the final part of the course and so you will not need to make the decision about whether to do it until you have completed the majority of the course.

A maximum of one half-day can be missed for health reasons only, students must demonstrate the equivalent of 80% attendance to achieve certification.

Additional Resources

In the following interview with Yogacampus, Charlotte shares some invaluable information on how to regulate our immune health through soothing our nervous system and the science behind how that is related to being connected to others.

Click here to watch

Meet the Teacher

Charlotte attended her first yoga class in 1996 and immediately knew that it would be a large part of the route to overcoming her stress-related issues. She trained at the Vajrasati Yoga School in Brighton (500 hour Yoga Alliance training) founded by Jim Tarran who is influenced by Buddhism and brought a natural mindfulness aspect to practising yoga. This was the beginning of a relationship with yoga focusing on taking time and finding space to feel subtleties of the experience, energetics and responses within the practice and create full body awareness within postures.

Charlotte is an author with many published books, including Yoga Therapy for Digestive Health (Singing Dragon 2018), Good Mood Food (Nourish 2018) and The De-Stress Effect (2015). She is also an award-winning nutritionist, practising since 2000 and specialising in stress-related and fatigue conditions and burnout, and digestive issues.

Charlotte teaches classes in Brighton and London, workshops, UK yoga weekends and retreats abroad. She also runs courses and retreats specifically for yoga teachers to attend to their own self-care so they have the resources to support others.

Charlotte Watts Portrait

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