Support your immunity in times of Covid-19. Part 1
Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Strengthening our immunity is of utmost importance in defeating communicable diseases - those that spread from one person to another. If our first line of army is strong the "enemy" will find resistance to his development.
Having a suitable daily routine (dinacharya) is one of the first protective factors: in fact, the ancient Ayurvedic text recommend healthy person that wants to enjoy a long life free from disease having a daily routine. The aim is not only to strengthen our body but also to make our mind more resilient and capable to best deal with the times of uncertainty, when most of our habitual patterns have been disrupted - as now.
Today I will be sharing a few tips for establishing or resuming your daily routine: for some of you may be the very first time, if so take it easy and integrate is gradually, do not rush.
1. Wake up early in the morning
Am I hearing "what's the point of getting up early if I do not have to go to my workplace and I am literally one step far from my home (sofa) office?" or am I wrong?
Resist the temptation to snooze and sleeping in and get out of bed before the sun is up (05.30 - 06.30) so that you can enjoy the quietness of your household while everyone else (above all the city) is still asleep.
If this is not enough, here is another good reason: this is the moment when the hormone cortisol naturally rises so that you feel fresh and receptive. There will be time to talk about the importance to have timely attuned cycles of cortisol and melatonin (the sleepy hormone) to regulate your energy: for the time being trust that it is equally important you try to sleep before 10pm to rest more deeply and lower down potential stress or anxiety.
2. Fresh yourself up
Drink a glass of warm water to get the colon moving and meditate on the toilet for a bit ;-)
Many of us rush through the morning without giving ourself a moment of quietness: having daily bowels movement is key to avoid the byproducts of our digestion that sit in the last part of the colon to stagnate and to become detrimental for our (gut) health.
3. Clean airways and mouth throughly and properly
Having a dry nose is something you really want to avoid - always - but above all at this time as it makes you more susceptible to imbalances. Some of you may be familiar with the "neti pot" that is used to perform "jala neti" a practice described in the ancient yogic text "Hatha Yoga Pradipika". This cleansing practice is very useful before pranayama but it may irritate the airways and result in dryness. The Ayurvedic counterpart is called nasya: put 2 drops of anu tailam in each nostril while your head is reclined and massage the area around the sinus so the oil penetrates deeply (spit out). If the sharpness of the herbs bother you it may be useful to massage the face with some oil and to apply an hot towel over the face to open up the channels before applying the oil. Anutailam is specifically advised if you are leaving your home on that day as protection.
Next step is to gently scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper. Ayurveda suggests to brush your teeth with a toothpaste made of herbs that are pungent, bitter and astringent in taste. Traditionally a churna made of herbs like triphala, trikatu and jastimadhu mixed with dark honey is advised to eventually remove the bacteria that deposited in the oral cavity over night.
The last supportive measures (specifically advised if you are leaving your home on that day) is called oil pulling (gargling): best done with sesame oil for a few minutes. Do not rinse it off with water.
4. Reinforce, nourish and ground yourself with Abhyangam
Indulging in a daily 10 to 20 minutes self oil massage with warm sesame or safflower oil is a must unless you are suffering from severe constipation, indigestion, you are feeling heaviness in the body and dullness in the mind and you have no appetite, feel congested, feverish or you are menstruating. Keep your self warm and protected from drafts.
Do some light stretches, body training, few sun salutations or a suitable yoga practice; let a few cycles of pranayama follow and end by sitting in meditation for at least 10 minutes.
Do not forget to take at least 10-15 min rest laying down after your yoga practice and if you'd rather go out for a walk, wash the oil off first.
Particularly important if you work from home or at your desk that you make use of some small break during the day to release the tensions from your shoulders, neck, arms and wrists.
6. ....let's start the day
By now your agni (digestive fire) is likely to be knocking at your door: take a shower so that the rest of the oil would penetrate deeper into the open pores of your skin before having a well deserved, light and nourishing breakfast!
What's next?...Part 2
In the next article we will explore a "rasayana preventive procedure" for Covid 19 shared by a great Ayurvedic Physician...stay tuned.