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Boosting Immunity with Yoga and Ayurveda

Posted by PCC Institute for Health Professionals on March 19, 2020

Ayurveda Blog ann wagoner

Coronavirus  Update – 3/20/20 4:39 p.m. Online classes will run as scheduled and will not be impacted by the college response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Additional information will be shared as it becomes available. For more information on PCC’s college-wide response, visit: pcc.edu/coronavirus

People have been asking if Yoga and Ayurveda have tips for boosting immunity, staying well, and surviving coronavirus. The following post explores what we know about Ayurvedic tips for boosting immunity, staying well, and surviving coronavirus:  
  • Stay home if you have one. Be grateful if you do. Avoid public establishments (schools, gyms, offices, restaurants, groups or socializing less than 6-feet from someone).
  • Establish online communities for socializing. Practice holding your hands together in the gesture of “Namaste” to say hello. It’s time for humanity to end the handshake.
  • Take walks in nature. Enjoy spring. Meditate, do yoga at home, make your own home-cooked meals. Have three meals per day. No snacking.
  • Follow a circadian rhythm. Wake before sunrise. Be in bed by 9:30pm.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after touching public surfaces, doorknobs, etc. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, if soap and water is not available, should be at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Don’t touch your mouth, eyes and nose with unwashed hands. Especially before alternate nostril breathing.
  • Cough, sneeze, rant or sing into your elbow if you are around other people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with household cleaners.
  • Take time for leisure activities and humor daily. Find a daily source for laughs.
  • Start writing in a journal. See what comes up for you in the time. Are you reacting with anxiety, anger, denial or depression? Just observe. Don’t judge.

Catch up on Sleep
Turn off electronics after 8pm at night to encourage sound sleep. Sound sleep has been proven to boost immunity and help the body repair itself. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong. Along with that Ayurveda also recommends immune boosting herbs to support your immunity. Half a teaspoon of Triphala powder with 8 ounces of warm water before bed can help with proper elimination in the morning.

Food, Diet and Spices
This is the time of year to prefer Kapha balancing foods. Avoid wheat, dairy, coffee, caffeine, sugar, smoking, alcohol, etc. Have your main meal at lunch. Have plenty of healthy fats like coconut oil, ghee, fish oil. Have a daily beet, apple or lemon juice.
 
Some of the dietary immune boosting foods include kitchari, oranges, lemons, elderberry, dandelion greens, fresh ginger, turmeric, tulsi tea (holy basil), cinnamon, pepper and fenugreek. Prefer warm food and hot tea. Sip on ginger, pepper, honey and turmeric tea twice a day. (Garlic can be OK.) Have kiwi, broccoli and other fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C. Amalaki has lots of vitamin C.
 
Hot Tea Ideas
Echinaceas, Ginger, Licorice, Tulsi, Turmeric, Throat Coat, Sitopaladi, Gypsy Cold Care. Or a rooibos blend with fresh ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. The cinnamon helps the lungs, clove opens pores and nutmeg relaxed the nerves. Ginger is a diaphoretic and expectorant that is the best Sattvic spice for colds and flu. Other beneficial herbs are lemongrass, cardamom, goldenseal.
 
If you start getting symptoms, Ayush herbs has Kuff Soothe syrup and Flucomune pills. I also like Umcka, zinc tablets and vitamin C powder. Alternate between each one every 2 hours if you feel symptoms. Stronger Ayurvedic herbs are available with an online consultation.
 
Chanting
The best thing you can do for your health is to NOT WORRY. The Dalai Lama advised followers in Wuhan to chant the “Tara Mantra” to maintain peace of mind. This is how it goes:
“Om tare tuttare ture Soha”. In my research related to cancer survivors, those who tested positive but had reduced anxiety, fear and worry were able to hove a bolster stronger immune responses.

Misc. Items
  • Have Stamets 7 Daily Immune Support (mushrooms) once daily
  • Ride out the fever with hydrotherapy. See a naturopath if you don’t know how to do this.
  • Open your mouth and let the sun shine on your tongue and throat.
  • Engage in Mantra, Marma, Mudra, Yoga to relax. It will boost your mood and immunity!
  • Remember the mantra: Feed a fever, starve a cold.
  • Apply two Nasya sesame oil drops in each nostril once daily
  • Observe rest and mild exercise.
  • Practice breath of fire daily – or other Pranayama if you have high Pitta
  • Don’t combine ginger and aspirin. They are both blood thinners. Separate ginger and aspirin by at least 2 hours.
  • Mix cinnamon and honey to relieve congestion.

Yoga Postures
  • Daily Backbend
  • Daily Shoulderstand
  • Daily Fish Pose

Question:
What are the Kleshas and how do they relate to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Answer:
The Kleashas are the afflictions that prevent us from seeing the oneness that already is. In Rama Vernon’s translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (II:2-9), we learn that Ignorance (Avidya) and Clinging to Life, or Fear of Death (Abhinivesa) are two sides of the same coin. Throughout the discussions of the virus, can we hold opposite points of view at the same time, such as: a) It’s just another flu this spring; this will pass; b) It’s a deadly virus that warrants government quarantines and action and life will never be the same. Explore the Kleshas and what comes up for you by writing in a journal. (See item #10 above.)

Fear of death leads to neediness, anxiety, guilt, mistrust, suspicion, feelings of being unloved, defensiveness, aggression and perception of separation. Ignorance creates cultural and humanitarian divides, separation and borders and boundaries between people, states and nations. We can counter these with correct perception (Pramana) and with proper memory (Smriti). The painful mindwaves of the Kleshas can be transformed into non-painful mindwaves (Vrttis). For more from Rama, purchase Book Two of the Yoga Sutras.

Daily practice of Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation are more important than ever. And many people have more time now to practice this. Make every moment divine.
 
Written by Instructor Ann Wagoner

Topics: Healthcare, Integrative Healthcare, Ayurveda, Herbalism

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