by Instructor, Ann Wagoner
According to the ancients, there are many ways to boost immunity. By looking to the timeless wisdom of India in Ayurveda, the science of life, as well as to Yoga, we can find many simple practices to put in place. Yoga is much more than stretching, it is the union of the polarities of mind, body and consciousness that we can observe in the breath. In Ayurveda, the three pillars of health are: Food, Sleep and Self-Control. The food choices we make influence our health. We can let food to be our medicine. A healthy sleep routine promotes rest, rejuvenation and the removal of wastes from the body. Self-Control (Brahmacharya) is an aspect of health that is often overlooked. The ability to say “no” to foods, energies and tendencies that are not healthy is very important. Also, the ability to change habits and put into practice routines that are beneficial requires will power. Being able to limit screen time, late nights, or idle pleasures gives us more time to really enjoy a healthy life. When the breath (Prana) is regular and deep, the body is oxygenated and alkalized. If we are unwelcome hosts to bacteria, virus and parasites, they will not lodge with us. When we balance our digestive fire, metabolism, elimination and all the tissues of the body, we become full of joy and bliss and established in soul, senses and mind. People sometimes forget about the importance of healthy oils to stay balanced. Besides hydrating with water, healthy oils like coconut, flax, ghee, hemp or olive oils help the body stay resilient. When we reduced refined sugars, increase exercise, gratitude and meditation, inflammation in the body is reduced, the lymph can drain, and well-being ensues.
Using Ayurveda, Yoga and Common Sense to Balance with Opposites
If one is cold, drink warming teas. Turmeric, ginger and Tulsi are warming. If one is dry, massage the skin with oils like sesame infused with your favorite essential oil. If one feels slow, try a pungent spice like ginger or cinnamon. If the mind or body feel hard or stuck, try some soft yoga breathing and stretching. If the mind is cloudy, try some walking or exercise to clear the thoughts. By introducing lightness into our diet when we feel heavy (or vice versa), we can find the happy middle point of being healthy.
Both Yoga and Ayurveda offer the pathway to removing the impediments that unite mind and body. By putting this ancient wisdom into practice, we can proactively address imbalance before disease begins.
Ayurveda Tips for Healthy Sleep
If you’re having troubles with your sleep, be sure to reset your schedule according to the rhythms of nature. Here are some tips for a good sleep routine: Set a bedtime of 10 pm. Get up before sunrise. Plan the day in the morning. Be active; exercise in the morning. Create a sleep den with no electronics within 5 feet of the bed, no TV and no mobile phones in the room, and none especially after 8 pm. Install sound proofing and blackout blinds in your bedroom. Clean the sheets weekly. Oil your ears and feet before bed. Apply oil to the top of the head. Drink golden milk before bed with nutmeg and turmeric. Take time for leisure. Practice self-care routines.
Tips from Ayurveda to Let Food Be Your Medicine
If you are eating good food, you won’t need medicine. And if you are eating bad food and then take medicine, you’ll never address the root cause, so what’s the point. Instead: Let food be your medicine. Having fresh, seasonal food that can be found at a local farmers market and plenty of healthy grains and legumes and probiotics are a great way to put yourself in harmony with the seasons. Also, have a warm breakfast, and your main meal at lunchtime. Here are some teas and spices to prefer in the Spring besides what was mentioned above:
- Lemon Balm
- Detox tea, like Burdock or Dandelion root
- Yerba Mate
It’s important to have your main meal at lunch when the sun is highest in the sky and the digestive fire is also increased. If you’re not hungry for a meal, skip dinner rather than breakfast. Have a warm miso soup, if you’re not hungry. Have fresh ginger, lemon and a pinch of rock salt before eating to increase salivation.
Other Ayurveda-Inspired Daily Routines to Boost Immunity
Pick up a copper tongue scraper and copper glass. Scrape your tongue every morning. It removes undigested autotoxins, freshens breath, improves the sense of taste and removes bacteria. Drink 8 ounces copper water that has been sitting in the copper glass overnight. It has potent anti-bacterial properties. The chlorine evaporates. It helps move the bowels for healthy elimination. Use silk gloves for dry brushing your skin in the shower. Or use a salt and oil scrub. Shower daily—you absorb water through your skin. Apply warm oil to the skin and massage daily. Wear loose comfortable clothing. Have fruit daily—preferably in the afternoon around 3pm without any other food. Skip sugar, caffeine, alcohol. Reduce wheat, dairy, nuts. Increase healthy oils, like avocado, seeds and unrefined oils. Don’t indulge in snacking. Avoid late-night food. For Kitchari and other recipes, see: www.lighthouseayurveda.com
How Ayurveda and Yoga Shapes to Reduce Inflammation
The practice of Yoga includes concentration on the breath and relaxation of effort as one moves through various shapes. Begin or continue the practice of a daily yoga routine. Observe your breath moving in through both nostrils and out through both nostrils. Observe the temperature, the balance between left and right nostril. In a chair, round the spine on the inhale, exhale and lengthen the spine. Try and inversion like downdog, or drape your torso over your lower body in a chair. Practice breathing into your back ribs. A nice inversion for draining the lymph is to lie on the back with the legs extended up a wall vertially. Rest on your back on the floor and stretch your arms and legs in either direction. When you have completed 15 minutes of exploring shapes and the breath, take 5 minutes on your back to just relax and let go. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system that helps your body rest, digest and eliminate pathogens.
Join us to Study Ayurveda and Yoga
Discover internal balance within yourself to move beyond the polarities of the current health and political landscape. Be prepared to help others to health once restrictions loosen. Take your Yoga practice to the next level and move forward on your path to becoming a certified yoga instructor. Take advantage of online learning, to take this course from anywhere. Discover new horizons in your own internal world.
Become a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher
Yoga Alliance recognizes the Yoga Teacher Training with the Center for Ayurveda and Yoga Study hosted a Portland Community College. In each term, you can take a module that covers 50 hours of instructional material that you can begin in any season. In the course of a year, you will complete 200 hours. You will also learn more about the three constitutions, Doshas, that can be balanced for health.
The 300-hour program of study builds upon the 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher program. It consists of four courses that, together with the Registered Yoga Teacher program, fulfill the Yoga Alliance's requirements as a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher. This means that after completion of both the 200-hour and 300-hour programs, you will be eligible to become qualified to train Yoga teachers. If you already have a 200-hour certificate from elsewhere, you can take the 300-hour program. The 300-hour training is a year-long program that consists of four, 75-hour courses in which you will study one course per term (summer, fall, winter, and spring).