Top 5 yogic practices for staying well during COVID-19
Although the chances of infection are predicted to affect 40-70% of the world population, a lot of them will be asymptomatic or reversible. My opinion is that many young and healthy individuals with a good immune response will be spared. There is no need to unnecessarily stress as China CDC’s analysis of 44,672 patients found that the fatality rate in patients who reported no other health conditions was 0.9%. It was 10.5% for those with cardiovascular disease, 7.3% for those with diabetes, 6.3% for people with chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD, 6.0% for people with hypertension, and 5.6% for those with cancer. As it all comes down to immunity and prevention, I would suggest some yogic practices and common household remedies to boost up the immune and respiratory systems:
Jal Neti (saline water cleansing): This is the age-old yoga kriya (technique) for nasal and respiratory hygiene using a warm saline water solution to clean out the nostrils alternatively using just the palm of the hands or a neti pot. Prior to the practice, use the same water to do gargles. Here is a video of my teacher demonstrating a safe method to do Jal Neti
Pranayama (yogic breath control): Follow the nasal cleaning with Kapalbhati pranayama (also called breath of fire). Quick and powerful exhales while contracting the lower belly. Another pranayama to equalize the breathing through both nostrils is called Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing or nadi shodhan). Inhale using one nostril and alternate the nostril at every exhalation.
Meditation: Don’t stress, meditate. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Take 3+ minutes every morning to just sit down, relax every single body part, and focus on your breath or a mantra.
I am a strong believer in healthy eating because ‘we are what we eat’ and ‘food is medicine’. Apart from a fresh and nutritious plant-based diet, a delicious paste of ginger, garlic, turmeric, honey and lemon are my go-to remedies for sore throat, common cold, allergies or fever. Stock up on foods rich in Vitamin C like Guava, bell peppers, acerola cherries, and other fruits and vegetables. Oh, and plant a tree or two…connect with mother nature and breathe some fresh air while the sun kisses your skin!
Fasting: The 2016 Nobel Prize for Medicine went to a Japanese scientist for research on cell renewal via ‘self-eating cells’ (autophagy) activated by fasting. If a 12 to 48 hour fast sounds impossible, don’t worry. In a paper just published in the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2020, Rafael de Cabo and Mark Mattson reviewed multiple strategies for fasting.
a. Time-restricted: eat lunch starting at 12 noon, and finish dinner by 8:00pm. Fast until the next day at noon (16 hour fast). Do this every day.
b. 5:2 fasting: fast for 2 different days each week, which means eating just 500-700 calories worth of food and drink on those days. Eat normally on the other 5 days.
Love and light,