Boost immune system and stay healthy with Yoga
Yoga and Ayurveda are ancient systems of health and wellness from India that have been keeping people calm, fit, and healthy for thousands of years. Both Yoga and Ayurveda can help boost immune system and increase immunity, and help you to stay healthy.
I live in the Yoga Capital of the World — Rishikesh, India — and I have studied and practised Yoga for almost 30 years. I have a Yoga teacher training certificate, and I do some element of Yoga every single day. Yoga helped me recover from a major depression and it has served me in many ways, to help keep me calm and healthy. I also pay attention to Ayurveda — the sister science of Yoga — and take Ayurveda medicines every day. A three-week Ayurveda treatment, called panchakarma, cured me of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Yoga has literally been my life saver. In my younger years, I had crippling anxiety. I was addicted to anti-anxiety pills, and also suffered bouts of depression — especially after my Mother died suddenly in 1998. Years of therapy, Yoga, and solo travel in India cured me … but like many people, I am feeling creeping anxiety these days. I turned my electronics off, put on some devotional music, lit incense, and did my Yoga practise. I felt about 90% better.
My lifestyle includes:
- practising Yoga, meditation, and other ways to calm the mind on a daily basis (usually when I first wake up)
- eating a nutritious, plant-based diet (I follow the 80/20 rule — 80% of the time, I eat extremely well, and 20% is for treats like white wine and chocolate)
- getting a good night’s sleep
- taking vitamin supplements and some Ayurvedic herbs prescribed for me
- doing work I love, and have a passion for; feeling a sense of purpose
- nurturing a community of friends
So it is with this background that I am writing about how Yoga and Ayurveda can help you boost immunity and stay healthy, and offering tips and advice from Yoga and Ayurveda masters.
Stay home and do Yoga
Right now, the world needs to stay home and not go to events, gatherings, or Yoga classes. But you can still do Yoga at home with Akhanda Yoga Online! They are offering 30 days free, on top of their 15-day free trial. Just use coupon code HARIOM. You will find a world of Yoga classes, teachings, and information that you can enjoy in your own home.
Yoga is designed to keep you healthy and boost immunity
It’s not a popular opinion in the west because the link between physical and mental health and the ability of our immune systems to function properly is not widely understood or accepted — except by functional doctors, naturopaths, and other holistic practitioners. However, in eastern medicine such as the ancient systems of Ayurveda and Yoga, these links are well-known and respected.
With the world in a state of fear, so many violent eruptions, and environmental degradation and pollution, I am more passionate about Yoga than ever before, I am more convinced it’s exactly what the world needs right now. And I don’t mean the physical practice of Yoga, I mean the deep insights that Yoga brings, and the control over the mind.
Yoga is a system of wellness that can reap a myriad of benefits to regular practitioners, including the ability to remain calm, centre, and focused. A practice like Yoga gives you a positive mind and changes your vibrations. You become happier and send out positive vibrations, changing and affecting your environment. This is not an empty claim, it has been confirmed by quantum physics. The insights of Yoga, thousands of years old, are now being confirmed by science. We are energetic beings, the world is an energetic field. Matter is an illusion. Our thoughts have power. Much more than most people realize. And Yoga harnesses this power.
Read more about Yoga on Breathedreamgo
- Yoga in India: A complete guide
- What life is like in an ashram in India
- Interview with a Yoga Master
- Aurovalley Ashram: A haven of peace and conscious living
Here in Rishikesh, the world capital of Yoga, I am surrounded by people who have a deep understanding of the power of Yoga. I reached out to Yogrishi Vishvketu, founder of Akhanda Yoga to share his advice about using Yoga for immunity boosting and staying healthy. Yogrishi Vishvketu runs the Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh — my home away from home, and a Yoga ashram that I highly recommend. Akhanda Yoga Institute offers Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh at the ashram.
Boosting Immunity with Yoga from Akhanda Yoga
The following is quoted from the Akhanda Yoga website, with permission from Yogrishi Vishvketu and Akhanda’s writer Chetana Jessica Torrens. Akhanda Yoga Online is a highly recommended source for Yoga classes you can do at home — perfect for these days when we need to self-isolate and stay at home.
Today we want to send wishes of love and support to those of you who are in the areas most affected by the virus. We also want to share tips on on how to keep your mood and immune system high to ward off infection. I say mood for a few reasons:
- Stress is known to reduce immunity. When you’re in ‘fight or flight’ due to fear, worry or rushing, your body sends energy and attention to the muscles and takes it away from other systems like digestion and immune function so you can run away from the proverbial tiger. But when your body needs to prepare to combat a virus, you need to do the opposite. You need to stay more often in ‘rest, digest and repair’ mode, so your immunity will be high.
- Social isolation measures are important now in certain areas of the globe, but they can cause loneliness, frustration, stress and depression. So, many of us will need to find ways to focus in order to take care of extra details and stay engaged with the world, hope, and our sense of purpose while at home.
Yoga can be instrumental in both of the above as well as giving tips and tools to keep us stay engaged and boosting our immune system.
With this in mind, Yogrishi Vishvketu has listed five things to focus on at this time:
- Regularity and Engagement
- Release Stress
- Energize your Environment
- Immune Boosting Foods
- Jal Neti
Regularity and Engagement
The body works best when we are regular with sleeping, regular with eating and regular with our practice. Even if you are working from home or have to stay inside, keep yourself regular and engaged. Continue to observe a routine. This will protect your mood and your ‘rest, digest and repair’ functions. If you need a boost in motivation, Akhanda Yoga has free yoga classes and talks, such as Enthusiasm and Excitement, on YouTube.
Release Stress – Techniques for Calming and Centring
If you feel nervous or upset, try laying abdominal breathing. Just lay down and place your hands on your belly and breathe — when you inhale allow the belly to softly rise and when you exhale it sinks back. This can be done several times a day to come back to a relaxed and restored state. Bumble bee breath and alternate nostril breathing are also very helpful. In the video clip, Vishva-ji offers other dynamic breathing technique for immunity.
Energize Your Environment
To keep the Prana high and help protect your environment from germs, you can use a diffuser with clove and eucalyptus oils. Alternatively, you may try burning sage and smudging your home (ritually carrying the smoking sage through the house to release the herbal properties into the air).
Immune Boosting Foods
In India, Ayurvedic and Yogic Life Wisdom are practiced to help people at especially vulnerable times of the year, such as the change of seasons. Now is a time when we need to protect ourselves with anti viral and anti inflammatory foods, such as:
- Bee pollen or propolis
- Tulsi (Holy basil)
You may wish to make a tea by placing a few cups of water in a pot to boil and then simmer with crushed ginger root, some whole cloves, cinnamon and a few slices of garlic. Then just leave the pot to cool on the stove and strain cups to drink throughout the day. You can alternate this type of very heating tea with Tulsi tea.
Ginger slices can also be chewed. Bee pollen can be sprinkled on cereal. Propolis is the protective property bees line their hives with. You can buy it in tincture form and take drops in a small amount of water or on the tongue.
Jal Neti for health
Nasal cleansing is great to do at this time as viruses enter our system primarily through the nose and mouth. Jal Neti is performed by rinsing the nose with warm salty water. If you want more cleansing effect, make the warm water slightly saltier than soup. Also, you can take ginger root and squeeze a drop of ginger juice into the salty water to help remove viral and bacterial germs from your nostrils. You can use a similar preparation to gargle with for your throat. Afterwards, lubricate your nostrils with mustard seed oil or if you do not have, olive oil.
We hope the above videos series helps with these practices.
If you need some inspiration at this time and you’re not already a member, we would like to offer 30 days free, on top of our 15-day free trial if you’d like to join us on Akhanda Yoga Online! Just use coupon code HARIOM. We at Akhanda Yoga wish you all wellness and peace at this challenging time. Yogrishi Vishvketu, Chetana and the Akhanda Yoga Team
Yogic techniques to boost your immune system
Simple breathing technique to strengthen immune system
Using Jala Neti to protect against viruses
Using Jala Neti to protect against viruses
Pranayam to build immune system
Having faith and a sense of spirituality can help, too
Also, I do feel that having faith and trust in the goodwill and/or abundance of the universe also comes in handy. I have my own practises, beliefs, and insights, and the point is not to share or extol these in any way — but to encourage people to spend some time in nature, or meditation, or doing something that puts you in touch with whatever it is that reminds you “this too shall pass.” That could be a sense of life force energy or the divine or whatever you want to call it — something bigger than us that ultimately connects us all.
Many year ago, in one of his final interviews, the mythologist Joseph Campbell said the world needs a global myth, something that will unite us. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the virus does this. It is something that affects us all, and a coordinated action will help us deal with it as effectively as possible.
But in the meantime, a calm and stress-free mind is much better able to function, so I encourage you to do what you need to do to cultivate it.
And stay home. (But when it is safe to travel again, check out some Yoga retreats around the world here.)
Photo above by Andrew Adams who literally risked his iPhone to wave into the waves of the Arabian Sea in Varkala to take it!
Mahaa Mrityunjaya (Om Triambakam) chant by pandit Ravi Shankar
This chant is intended to protect you from harm. It creates very powerful and peaceful vibrations. Listening to it and chanting it can be very calming.
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