I find myself in the awkward position of having to talk about IT again!
I really wish I could talk about all things sweet and nice, sugar and spice but I can’t. I feel I need to help maintain some clarity and sanity in these troubled times and remind you that you are more powerful than you think.
The character Pennywise from Stephen King’s book IT represents our darkest and deepest fears and King’s main message is that even in the face of a real threat, we must conquer our fears and face the challenge head on! We must look at all the resources available to us and work together (as they did in the story) to beat the enemy, but we can’t do that if we hide under a rock and hope that it all goes away. There is a lot we can do for ourselves.
We are exposed to all sorts of attacks on our immunity every minute of every day and sometimes, we get sick, very sick, but we usually recover. Lockdowns certainly slow the whole process down, buying time for our precious health workers and for the development of vaccines etc, but let’s not be in any doubt. The virus does not just go away because we are socially isolating. It is incumbent on us to make sure we take responsibility for our own well-being so that we stand the best possible chance of getting through this in one piece.
To state the obvious- keep up your practice!
It will keep you strong in all the important ways. Here are the key ones-
You need to move to maintain a healthy lymphatic system. Your lymph absorbs all the viruses, bacteria, parasites and other toxins from the blood stream and sends them to your lymph glands to be destroyed by your white blood cells. You have approximately 600 lymph nodes in your body clustered around elbows, armpits, the backs of your knees, groin, the back of the head, behind the ears, the chest, intestines and pelvis. Yoga is a very effective way of moving lymph because a wide variety of postures can target these areas and clear them of congestion. A lack of movement can clog you up and lead to a compromised immune system. In Ayurveda, the lymphatic system deals with aama, a broad term that means toxin or undigested material. An efficient lymphatic system will help your body to perform aama pachana, the digestion of toxins, efficiently.
Yoga has been proven time and time again to effectively mitigate the negative effects of stress. Yoga switches on the vagal response which promotes the ‘rest and digest’ functions of the body.
As the saying goes- Keep calm and keep moving. A regular practice will help you stay centred, calm and in control. Keep your reactive mind at bay and maintain spaciousness.
Make time for meditation!
Even if you have never learned to meditate, make time to just sit, lie or walk for 15 minutes and watch yourself breathing. That’s it. Pay attention to the sensations of the breath and look for pleasant feelings. The more your mind can attach the experience of watching your breath to pleasant feelings, the more you will want to do it. A positive and uplifted mind will help keep your immunity buoyant.
Get fresh air and make sure you move enough to raise your heart rate and get your lungs pumping. Exercise is one of the best ways of maintaining a strong agni. Keep the fire in your cells burning brightly.
Eat lots of fresh green food that has been cooked. There is a chill in the air now so don’t eat the chill too. Take the coldness out of the food and bring out its sweetness. You will be killing off the bugs and breaking down the plant’s natural defences at the same time, so you get the full nutritional benefits.
Use Herbs and Spices
All the following will boost your agni, which means they will keep your digestive power strong and act as natural antibiotics to help you kill off invaders.
Peppercorns (all colours
Hawes recommends the following antibiotic syrup if you’re feeling lousy and need a bit of nature cure-
800ml of apple cidar vinegar
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp of finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
2 tbsp grated horseradish
2 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp chilli powder
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp coconut oil melted over a low heat
Juice of one lemon and half the zest (grated)
- Place all the above in a large glass jar (ideally brown or blue).
- Screw lid on tight and shake well to mix.
- Leave in a cool dark place for 7 days, shaking at least once a day.
- Strain the liquid from the mixture into a fresh jar squeezing out as much as possible from the pulp then store in a cool dark place.
- Take one tablespoon twice a day with food when needed. Shake well before use.
Caution– Not recommended for pregnant women, children under 10 and those on blood thinning medication or with stomach ulcers.
Remember the following supplements. They have a lot of clinical data behind them which means that it is not just traditional mumbo-jumbo-
Vitamin C– at least 1000mg a day. If you are living in a vulnerable area, take up to 3000mg per day. If you have covid symptoms, take 1000mg every hour all day (up to bowel tolerance- i.e. diarrhoea). You will be amazed at how powerful this can be.
Zinc/ Selenium– Important for a healthy immune system.
Vitamin D– Get some sunlight on your skin every day. You don’t need to be out for long. Just 20-30 mins a day.
L-Glutathione– An essential antioxidant used by every cell of the body to mop up free radicals caused environmental toxins. A lot of studies link low L Glutathione with low immunity and even premature death, so it is one to definitely reach for in these times.
It is the mother of all antioxidants so you can boost it by taking Vitamins C and E and Selenium, sulphur rich foods like broccoli (yum), cabbage, kale, onions, garlic, brussel sprouts (yuck) and cauliflower.
Keep well hydrated. Get in the habit of drinking 2 cups of water 30 mins before every meal and two hours after. You are probably thirstier than you think.
Iodine is a very effective anti-viral that can safely be used without medical supervision. Take two drops of Lugol’s iodine (12%) in half a cup of water every hour until the symptoms subside. Swill the water inside your mouth, gargle, swill and inhale the vapour. You can take up to 25mg per week of iodine without adverse effects.
Ever heard of a salt pipe? I have only recently discovered them and think they are an amazingly simple idea. If you have respiratory symptoms, put four drops of iodine into a salt pipe and inhale for two minutes, four times a day. You can also smear some iodine inside your nostrils.
Do something kind for others. It will heal your heart and lift your spirit. Ultimately, love is the greatest healer of all.
Tarik is a qualified and experienced Yoga Teacher/Trainer and Ayurvedic practitioner. He runs Yoga Teacher Training courses, co-tutors an Ayurveda in Action Online course that ties in with a BWY accredited Module and runs workshops in Ayurveda for Yoga practitioners. He’s been teaching Yoga since 1997 and practising Ayurveda since 2003. His main approach is to help students establish a sound physical practice that is appropriate for their Constitution as a foundation for deeper, subtle meditative work. For more information please visit his website www.yogawell.co.uk
 Nature Cures: Recovery from Injury, surgery and infection by Nat.H. Hawes. Hammersmith Health books, 2020.