As a collective the whole world is going through a major transition, and each of us has our individual experience of it. Some have physically been affected by the Coronovirus or lost loved ones, others have used the time to cook, develop creative interests, spend time with family and many have turned inward to meet their shadows and heal. What we all share though on some level is a sense of anxiety, fear and a lack of control. In such uncertainty, it is human nature to strive to control what we can and for many of us that’s building our immunity.
If time was currency, we’d all be millionaires right now. But the irony is with so much time on our hands in quarantine, do you sometimes feel like you don’t have enough?
Either way love, we’ve got you! Sharing with you our top tricks to boost immunity and calm anxiety whether you have 30 seconds or a few hours.
Every day, if you have 30 Seconds: Just a spoonful
Known as an Ayurvedic multivitamin, Chyavanprash is a blend of antioxidants, herbs and botanicals that is combined with ghee and honey to make a jam. The main ingredient , Amalaki, is a rich source of vitamin C boosting your immune system. In a recent study, one heaping teaspoon of Chyavanprash was equivalent to the combined total of 1 avocado, 1 kiwi, 1 tomato and a portion of broccoli, celery, potato and lettuce in terms of antioxidant capacity. Take 1 tablespoon morning and evening to support healthy lungs and respiration, improve metabolism, detoxify the liver and promote energy.
One minute: Put your head back
In Ayurveda, the nose is the door to the consciousness and we utilize this through Nasya. You can use ghee, sesame oil or our favorite is by Banyan Botanicals.
Tilt your head back and insert one drop into each nostril and gently sniff to allow the nasya to penetrate. You can gradually build this up to 5 drops. Alternatively you can place the oil on your small finger and insert into one nostril while closing the other. You may feel a drip in the back of the throat which is perfectly normal.
Nasya can calm the nervous system, improve focus and memory, lubricates the nasal passage and promotes sleep.
Two minutes: Close your eyes and Inhale
An oldie but a goldie. If you have a steam inhaler that’s great and if not a pot of oil and a towel will more than suffice. We love essential oils like Eucalyptus, Tea tree or even Rosemary which are all anti bacterial, antimicrobial and expectorants. Steaming will not kill a virus despite some claims but eases congestion and can thin the mucus.
5 minutes: Swish and Spit
It’s really that simple. Take a teaspoon of oil (coconut or sesame) and swish it around in your mouth to pull out toxins. Oil pulling does wonders for gum recession, oral health, improves digestion and even works the jaw to prevent that double chin! Who doesn’t want that? Make sure to spit and don’t swallow the toxins and do so in the toilet as it clogs the sink.
10 minutes: Have a cuppa
Drop as many of these immunity boosting ingredients as you can into a pot of water to make a herbal tea. Our favorites are grated ginger, cloves, holy basil, fenugreek, coriander and cumin seeds, star anise, black pepper, turmeric. Star anise contains a compound called shikimic acid, which is commonly found in medications used to treat influenza, such as Tamiflu.
Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, sieve and drink throughout the day. Avoid consuming anything cold and choose warm drinks over room temperature or carbonated beverages and warm meals like soups and stews over salads to boost your agni (digestion).
15 minutes: Just Breathe
We’re all about improving lung capacity right now and Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing) does just that. This will infuse the body with oxygen, decrease stress, rejuvenate the nervous system, help with allergies, support the respiratory system and balance the left and right parts of the brain.
Simply sit comfortably and close your eyes. Exhale completely and use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril and inhale as much oxygen as you can to fill your lungs with air. Close the left nostril with your finger and open the right nostril to exhale completely. Now, inhale through the right nostril, close your right nostril and exhale from your left nostril. This completes one cycle. Always complete your practice by finishing with an exhale on your left side.
7-9 hours: Between the Sheets
We cannot overstate the link between sleep and immunity. Just one night of poor sleep can decrease our body’s natural killer T cells by 70%. These are the cells responsible for fighting against cancer, viruses and microbes. Try and get between 7-9 hours each night. Lack of sleep has been associated with an increase in a toxic protein associated with Alzeihmers (beta-amyloid), decreased testosterone and even increased risk of a heart attack. There’s a reason sleep is known as life’s best insurance policy.
As always leaving you with a quote that resonates during this difficult time.
“I think that when the dust settles, we will realize how little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connection.”
And a special shout out to those amazing souls working on the frontline, we are forever grateful and in your debt.
Sending love, strength and grounding,
Hansa and Suchi