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Fend off the flu by making pretzels: practising yoga can strengthen your immune system, say scientists in Japan. After a 90-minute yoga session, people had nearly double their usual concentration of salivary beta-defensin 2, a peptide that attacks microbes. Study author Dr Nobuhiko Eda, says the relaxation provided by yoga probably lowers production of the hormone cortisol, which then triggers the release of beta-defensin 2. And a separate study from India found that even 35 minutes of yoga a day can curb spikes in cortisol. Try some of these yoga poses.