The coronavirus outbreak is forcing you to stay home. While most of you are finding ways to keep yourself busy, it remains critical that you work on boosting your immunity to fight off a possible infection.
With yoga, pranayama and simple dietary changes, you can optimise your immunity, naturally, elevate the body’s defence mechanism and strengthen your lungs. These practices will also help you de-stress and ward off anxious thoughts in these difficult times.
START YOUR DAY RIGHT
Start your day by drinking a litre of lukewarm water, ‘ushapaan’, an age-old Indian formula to flush out the toxins gathered by the body at night.
A spoonful of moringa powder and amla powder with lukewarm water in the morning helps in increasing your immunity. It can also be taken as a tea with added lemon and honey.
Children can be given a spoonful of chyawanprash with milk in the morning.
An invigorating self-massage (Abhyanga) with preferably sesame oil (you can use mustard oil if sesame isn’t available) will help open the blockages and improve the blood circulation.
ASANAS AND PRANAYAMA
Start your practice with Surya Namaskar or sun salutation. A few rounds of Surya Namaskar can help activate your solar energy or the pingala nadi preparing you for the rest of your day.
Apart from Surya Namaskar, these five asanas can work wonders for your body and its immunity.
1. Downward dog, aka Adhomukha svanasana
2. Standing Forward Fold, aka Uttanasana
3. Cobra Pose, aka bhujangasana
4. Bound Angle Pose, aka Supta Baddha Konasana
5. Wide-legged Forward Bend, aka Prasarita Padottana Asana
Pranayama practise aligns the energy channels in the body and has deeper psychological effects. Recurring migraines, fatigue and feeling of dullness as a result of low immunity can be easily cured.
Bhramari pranayama or Humming bee breath gives an instant soothing effect by closing the ears to external noises and shifting your awareness inwards. It relieves the difficult emotions and reduces insomnia. Anuloma Viloma is another pranayama that involves breathing in through one nostril and breathing out through the other. Sectional breathing can significantly improve the resistance of the respiratory tract. Pranayamas condition the lungs and maximise one’s breathing capacity, which helps build resistance to attacking microbes.
SLEEP WELL FOR GOOD IMMUNITY
Sleep helps in the repair and regeneration of the cells. The brain detoxifies itself by shrinking its cells by 60 per cent and flushes out cerebral spinal fluid while you are asleep. The completion of this process increases immunity and energy levels. The quality of sleep can be improved by avoiding the use of gadgets one hour before sleep to ensure the better formation of the sleep hormone, melatonin. A compromised sleep deteriorates immunity and increases food cravings and brain fog.
SOME IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Meditation practice during dawn or dusk or before bedtime adds more quality to your prana, the vital life force energy in your body that keeps you alive.
- Restorative postures like child pose, dolphin pose, reclining bound angle pose, corpse pose can alleviate anxiety and help in restful sleep.
- As minimum as five minutes of left nostril breathing or chandra bhedana pranayama before bedtime can help activate the lunar nadi or ida nadi so that the mind can completely rest during sleep.
- A cup of milk with added haldi powder and ghee before bed catalyses the healing processes in the body while you are asleep.
- Avoid eating stale food, reheating, refrigerated food as these are considered as dead food according to Ayurveda. It has zero pranic value.
- For the post-yoga practice nutrition, a fresh green juice comprising all the edible leaves from neem to guava to mango and lemongrass can be prepared. Add spices like roasted cumin, grounded black pepper, an inch piece of ginger and a dash of lemon juice.
(Manisha Kharbanda is a national yoga player, a gold medallist, professional wellness coach and founder of BrahmYog.)