Fear and stress amidst challenges, like a pandemic, are completely natural. Although we can’t stop these emotions (nor is it healthy to try), we can control our reaction and response to them. Stress—particularly distress—negatively affects your immunity and well being. Luckily, we can use yoga and Ayurveda to build a foundation for immunity: living your life in accordance with the rhythms of nature, sleeping enough, eating food full of prana (or life force), and building ojas, or overall well-being – immunity is about how you live your life. Our big assignment as yogis is to try to be content and go about our lives as best we can in the face of uncertainty. The reality is that fear puts us in touch with the truth, which is that we can sometimes affect outcomes, but ultimately we don’t have control over what happens to us
1. Gargle warm saltwater and use a neti pot. These ancient Ayurvedic strategies—dissolving about ½ tsp. Himalayan or sea salt in 250ml of warm water—is “non-negotiable” if you are trying to prevent sickness. Germs and bacteria hang out in your nose and throat 24 hours before digging into your blood stream and affecting your immunity, and salt clears them out. You can use these saltwater rinses as preventative measures or when you start to feel sick.
2. Sleep it off. “A balanced circadian clock (or your internal time-keeping for cycles of sleep and alertness) is directly linked to a strong immune system, according to Ayurveda. It is suggested that one go to bed two to three hours after sunset and get up with the sun to help maintain healthy circadian rhythms.
Disconnect from the damaging blue light emitted from your screens by wearing blue-light glasses or turning your night filter on.
And avoid big, heavy, late meals, since they are difficult to digest and lead to ama, or undigested food, that can also compromise immunity.
3. Drink tulsi tea. One of the most revered Ayurvedic herbs, tulsi is known as a stress, fever, and headache reducer and lung clearerWhen viruses like coronavirus take hold, they create problematic respiratory conditions, which tulsi may be able to help soothe.
Supplement. If tulsi isn’t your cup of tea, you can boost immunity and fight immune-compromising fatigue and anxiety with the Ayurvedic super-herb Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha can be found in health food or supplement stores and bought in capsules, powders, or in liquid extract form. Of course, always consult with a doctor and avoid if pregnant or possibly if there’s a sensitivity to nightshades.
5. Breathe deep. Your lungs are your biggest lymph pumps, clearing out clutter and toxins. A daily practice of pranayama mitigates stress and boosts immunity. Deep breathing, or complete yogic breath, will do—anything that opens your lungs and side ribs, and keeps things moving.
Massage it out. Daily abhyanga, or self-massage, with organic oils—such as sesame, though olive and coconut work too—to nourish and hydrate skin and settle frazzled nerves. This is a preventative measure only; when you’re sick, your metabolism is trying to process toxins and can get overwhelmed taking on both bugs and heavy oils.
7. Take vata-balancing breaks during the day. When you’re feeling scattered and stressed, make sure to take a few minutes, ideally up to 20, for mindfulness practices, walks, quiet sitting, or slow flow or Restorative Yoga, especially toward the end of the day when you’ve put in hours of work and may be pushing your limits.Don’t skimp on Savasana, allowing your nervous system to reset.
Written by Tasha Eichenseher and published on www.yougajoural.com, 02nd March 2020.