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March 24, 2020

Living In Novel Times

Stuck at home? Plans and activities canceled because of the pandemic? Here are some things you can do while you wait for the crisis to pass.

Strengthen your immune system.

Make sure that you give yourself every chance to resist this virus. There are a number of ways that the sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda teach us to do this.

  • Breathe Properly! The yogic approach to breathing that we have taught you for many years has been shown now scientifically by researchers at multiple universities to improve your health and resistance. Diaphragmatic breathing through your nose for as little as five minutes a day has been shown to dramatically increase the presence of anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and cancer fighting chemicals in your body. In addition, and so important right now, breathing this way has been demonstrated to significantly increased resistance to viral infections.
  • Eat Properly! Eating the right good, healthy foods can make a huge difference in our ability to fight not only this but any and all infections and inflammatory conditions. If your home and don’t know what else to do; cook for yourself! The supermarkets are still open and full of fresh vegetables that will do you a world of good. Here are some simple things to either add to or increase in your diet:
    • Add fresh ginger to almost everything you eat. You can also make a delicious tea with fresh ginger, lemon and a bit of honey for sweetness, but don’t boil the honey.
    • Use more Tumeric. This inexpensive and readily available spice has been used for millennia to fight infections and inflammation of all kinds. Add it in small amounts to almost everything you cook. But be careful not to get on your close as it will never come out.
    • Add Chick Peas to almost everything. These dynamos contain loads of protein and other nutrients and have been shown to be powerful agents in fighting illness. You can add and chickpeas to almost any dish.
    • Reduce or eliminate alcohol. I know this is very difficult for many, particularly if you are stuck at home with nothing to do. Having a beer or glass of wine, or two or three or more, seems so easy and helps “take the edge off”. But alcohol will always weaken your immune system.
    • Wash any raw foods really well. You don’t know where they have been and whose touched them.
  • Sleep Properly! Nothing is worse for our immune system than for our bodies to be exhausted; a well-rested body is much better equipped to fight infection. It’s tempting if you have to stay at home to stay up late and binge watch some show, after all you can sleep in tomorrow. Right? Instead, try to use this time to create for yourself a truly healthy sleep routine where you try to go to bed at the same time every night, get a solid eight hours of sleep, and wake up ready for the new day.

De-clutter and Detoxify your life.

Probably all of us have way more “stuff” in and around our homes then we have any need for. Clothing, gadgets, knickknacks, and all kinds of other rubbish accumulate without our even noticing it. But, while we may not notice it consciously, subconsciously we carry that weight on our backs each and every day and it saps our energy. Getting rid of everything that we do not absolutely need is freeing and detoxifying in so many ways.

  • Try it. Go into your closet or your dresser and pull out everything that you haven’t worn in the last two years (the pundits oftentimes say one year for this but I’m being generous with you) and put it in a pile. Put that pile in as many large garbage bags as it takes and then take them out to your garbage can and throw them away. Of course, if there is still “life” in them you can always have a bag for donation.
  • Then do this in your kitchen, your garage, your family room and throughout your house. Donating what others might need and throwing the rest away. I guarantee you will feel lighter and freer and healthier.

Create some new, healthier habits for yourself!

  • Meditation. You probably tried in the past and struggled, but this is your chance to try again. Don’t make it complicated and don’t set big expectations for yourself. Keep it simple but consistent. Try this. Pick a time when every day you can spend 10 minutes by yourself. Sit in a chair or on the floor or by the pool. Close your eyes and just pay attention to your breath. See if you can pay attention to each inhale and each exhale. You can try to manage them if you wish or just observe. After as little as a week you will start to notice results and feel much better.
  • Exercise. Again, keep it simple. Take 15 minutes in the morning and do sun salutations. They can be any kind of sun salutations you want and you can do them slowly or quickly. Just do them. If you got nowhere else to go you can certainly take 15 minutes for this and this will also increase your body, your mind, and your spirit’s ability to fight diseases.
  • Practice Gratitude. Even in the most dire of situations all of us have things for which we can and should be grateful. Simple gifts surround us everyday and we ignore them. Things like having any kind of food in front of you, feeling warm sunshine on your face, the loving snuggle from your partner or your child or your pet. Having a job, even if you’re not able to do it right now. A good book, a good conversation, a good elimination. Beauty and wonder surround us and all we have to do is notice to be filled with that love. Even if it’s only in the silence of your heart, say thank you.

Give up some bad habits.

We all have these also, things that we do that we know aren’t serving us well in the night helping us live healthy and wholesome lives. I know breaking habits, particularly bad habits, is really hard. But we can begin and at least try. We begin by acknowledging what those bad habits are that we like to stop. Here are some examples:

  • Stop watching the news. It doesn’t matter what station you watch as they are all only really interested in keeping you watching longer and so will say whatever they think will do that. Mostly, that involves firing up your emotions and getting you upset or worried about things. When was the last time watching the news left you feeling calm, happy, and relaxed? Give it up!
  • Stop being angry. Give a being angry at out-of-state drivers, slow people and check-out lines, dumb questions at work, and so many other insignificant things. Here’s a much harder one – stop being angry and outraged over opinions which are different than yours. We have grown so addicted to our righteous indignation directed at anyone who dares to have a different opinion. Give it up!
  • Stop panicking. We are not going to run out of water or toilet paper. The world is not ending and our lives will continue.
  • Quit smoking and drinking. We all know that these are poisons for our bodies and our minds and our spirits. Give them up.

We are going to get through this current crisis and life will return (mostly) to “normal”. We can choose right here and right now to arrive at that other end either better off for the experience, or worse for it. You decide.

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