It has been more than one and half years of the world struggling with Coronavirus pandemic. A clutch of vaccines have been developed to prevent the spread of the virus but there is still not a standard set of treatment. But what has been certainly effective in containing the disease and reducing post-Corona complications is body’s immunity which acts as the natural defense against the virus.
Ayurveda and yoga have proven results of boosting immunity and during the pandemic several studies, research and empirical data suggested that they could protect from the deadly virus to a considerable extent.
Not surprisingly, immunity-boosting ayurvedic medicines are sometimes billed as cure for Corona and pharmacies lining up ayurvedic syrups, tablets and powders on their selves and doing brisk business during pandemic.
While one may debate the efficacy of such medicines as supplements against the highly-contagious virus, the findings converge on the important role of body’s immunity system. Not against one or a set of diseases but enhanced immunity guards against all kinds of ailments and hasten healing in case of hurt and injury. For a healthy mind too, good immunity is key.
As a lot of research went into assessing the efficacy of Ayurveda and yoga during finding, there has been conclusive evidence of good immune system being vital to prevention and protection from of any disease.
A lot of stress in Ayurveda is, therefore, on enhancing body’s immunity and has a comprehensive approach — focussing on two-fold management of health and disease. In Ayurvdeic science, immunity is referred as vyadhikshamatva. It helps fight the disease at two levels.
The first is Vyadhi-Bala-Virodhitvam. It refers to resisting power of the body to prevent the disease or its progression. The second level is Vyadhi-Utpada-Pratibandhakatvam. This is the ability or power of the body to prevent the manifestation of a disease.
As per the Ayurvedic system (developed over 5,000 years ago), there are various factors that influence the natural defense mechanism of the body and cures are provided in accordance with the constitution of the body. The main factors that influence the immunity include healthy diet (Pathyaahara), condition of biological humors (dosha) and the state of physical and mental health (Sareera).
Ayurveda provides therapies, diets and required lifestyles to enhance immunity of the body. It offers a flurry of techniques to improve memory, intelligence, youthfulness and overall health. The combination of Ayurveda and yoga comprehensively deals with health issues and ensure longevity of life.
How to Boost Immunity with Ayurveda and Yoga?
In ancient scriptures, Ayurveda has been referred as the science of life. It has its focus on prevention of disease. Ayurveda lays a lot of emphasis on Dinacharya (daily regimes) and Ritucharya (seasonal regimes to maintain healthy life) There are several therapies and herbal preparations in the Ayurveda which boosts immunity. One of the procedures to enhance immunity and prevent over a dozen diseases is Pratimarsha Nasya.
As the name suggests, it is the procedure of administrating medicines — sesame oil, coconut oil, ghee and other oil with medicinal property — through nasal route. Pratimarsha Nasya is helpful in prevention of diseases of head, neck, oral cavity and also respiratory disorders. It can be even self-administered and recommended daily for full benefits. During pandemic, people widely used the procedure for boosting immunity.
Taken in low dose twice day — morning and evening – Pratimarsha Nasya has no contra-indications (a symptom or condition that makes a particular treatment or procedure inadvisable).
An ancient practice in Ayurveda, oil pulling involves swishing oil in your mouth and then spitting it out to remove bacteria and improve oral hygiene. Take one tablespoon sesame or coconut oil in mouth and swish it in the mouth for 2 to 3 minutes and spit it off. You can then rinse your mouth with warm water. It can be done twice a day.
Drinking warm water
Drinking warm water has many benefits. It can relieve from nasal congestion, aid digestion and decrease stress levels. It also improves the function of central nervous system. One of the easiest thing to do, drinking warm water helps relieve constipation and keeps you hydrated. It has very good impact on the body’s overall immunity.
Adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder (haldi) in 150 ml of lukewarm milk along with ghee boosts immunity. It has been used in India for centuries to treat cough and cold. It can be taken twice a day. A glass of golden milk is recommended before going to bed in the night.
You can drink herbal tea or decoction (kadha) made from Tulsi (Basil), Dalchini (Cinnamon), Kalimirch (Black pepper), Shunthi (Dry Ginger) and Munakka (Raisin). It instantly brings benefits. Drinking herbal tea once or twice a day has multiple benefits. You can add jaggery or fresh lemon juice in the tea to improve test. 10 Best Homemade Detox Juice Receipe
Along with Ayurveda, yogasanas (yogic postures) can be practiced to further improve immunity and multiply the health benefits. With some or the other infectious disease is mostly around, it is the best to include yoga in daily life. Natural defense mechanism comprising of high immunity keeps such diseases away. Here are five yogasanas which could significantly improve your immunity.
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge Pose
It calms the nerves and reduces stress thus boosting immunity. It improves blood circulation across the body especially across the central nervous system. It reduces anxiety, improves sleep quality and has very positive effect on the mind. Besides aiding the body’s self defense mechanism, Bridge Pose is therapeutic in diseases such as asthama and high blood pressure.
- Shalabasana or Locust Pose
Locust pose helps in increasing the blood circulation to your intestines and rectal muscles. As a result, digestion improves and immune system becomes stronger.
- Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose
Bhujangasana is made up of two words Bhujanga means cobra or snake and asana means pose. This pose stretches the spine and improves the energy level in the body improving immunity. It is recommended that you do this after 4-5 hours of the meal so that you are not uncomfortable. You can go for warm-up poses for neck and shoulders before doing Cobra pose.
It relieves stress by stretching the muscles and thus helps avoid injuries. It is part of the Surya Namaskar. The arching of the spine in Cobra pose increases flexibility and reinvigorates spinal nerves. It strengthens the neck, shoulders and upper back.
It strengthens arms and wrists, opens chest cavity and gets rid of toxins by improving breathing. It has positive effect on immune system and improves blood flow. It is said that the best way to uplift your mood is to challenge yourself. You can go for Crow pose to challenge yourself.
- Tadasana- Mountain Pose
Besides correcting your posture and bringing flexibility of the thighs and joints, Mountain pose is one of the most popular asanas for boosting immunity. It improves blood circulation and improves digestion. Tadasana also increases awareness and calms your mind thus boosting immunity.
Five healthy Ayurvedic Foods, Do’s and Dont’s
As per Ayurveda, one of the key reasons of ill-health is piling up of Ama or toxic substances as a result of improperly digested food. This is the reason, Ayurveda stresses a lot on right kind of food and as well as having them at right time. It recommends food as per an individual’s prakriti to maintain the balance of doshas (kapha, pitta and vata).
- Eat whole and fresh fruits
Besides providing essential vitamins and minerals, fruits are an important source of fiber or roughage which helps in digestion. Fruits also provide antioxidants, including flavonoids. It is said that more the colours of fruits in the dietary plan, more the benefits. You should consume a variety of fruits and vegetables. They keep many diseases away such as constipation, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
- Stop eating before you feel full
Ayurveda recommends eating to your satisfaction but does not approve over-eating. Eating more food than required leads to more calories than you can burn. As mentioned earlier, it also results in accumulation of toxic substances in the body creating Vyadhi. It increases the risks of many lifestyle diseases and a primary cause of extra flab. It causes acidity and root of many reflex diseases.
- Don’t eat very hot food or have ice cold beverage
Ayurveda recommends balance and harmony of food. It should not be consumed either very hot or very cold. Both are inimical to the health. Very hot or beverage may damage the esophageal mucosa by causing thermal injury. On the other hand, very cold food or icy drinks may disturb the body temperature. Eating food of right temperature helps digestion.
- Avoid distractions while having meal
Like all other actions, it is very important to stay focussed while eating. During mealtime, you should see the colour of the food, smell its fragrance and feel the taste. During eating, you connect with your inherent energy and absorb the information about the food. It is therefore recommended that you should be aware to your food. Staying focussed to the food you are eating has meditational benefits.
- Eat your lightest food in dinner
In the Ayurveda, it is recommended that you to have your heaviest meal between 12-1pm as the pre-dominant element at this time of the day is pitta which is a combination of fire and water. During this time, your digestive system works the best during this time and you must have a large meal. The portion of the meal in the dinner time should be light. The most ideal time for dinner is between 6-7pm as your digestive system gets ample time to digest it before you sleep. The pre-dominant element during this time of the day is kapha which slows down your digestive system. Moreover, a heavy dinner can interrupt with your sleep.