Ayurveda, yoga & pranayamas to boost your immunity against COVID-19

How can you prevent getting Covid-19 or coronavirus? Is there anything you can do to boost your immunity and lower your chances of getting it? Let's learn all about the virus that has caused an uncontrollable pandemic worldwide and how we can protect ourselves from contracting Covid-19.

Symptoms of Covid-19

When coronavirus affects a person, it comes out in the form of cold, dry cough, fever, sore throat, weakness, and fatigue among other variable symptoms. Since the body's natural defences drop with coronavirus, prevention is definitely the best cure.

How Covid-19 spreads

If an infected person’s saliva touches a surface, then that surface becomes a host for the virus. Any person who touches the same surface - a doorknob, napkin, elevator button, it could be anything, has been exposed and can contract this virus. Recent studies and cases have now confirmed that the virus is airborne too. So, it has become quite difficult to protect ourselves in the open outdoors. Which is why it has been advised that people stay indoors in this second wave of pandemic to prevent contracting it.

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How to prevent Corona?

  • Avoid going to places where there is a crowd. If you do go out, wear a mask - some health workers advise two masks even!
  • Maintain personal hygiene, wash your hands, face, and any other exposed area or take a bath (if you go out). Use hand sanitizers before and after touching things in a public place. Even at home, wash your hands several times in a day. It is one of the best ways to ensure that you don’t contract the virus. 
  • Stay hydrated. Lack of water in our body causes the cells to become dry, and it becomes a breeding ground for the virus. 
  • Similarly, keep putting oil or ghee in your nostrils (one to two drops every few hours) as dry nostrils are prone to infection. 
  • Rest well, consume fresh food and freshly cooked food, to ensure that your immunity levels don’t go down.

Building immunity is the way forward

Ayurvedic herbs around us have immunity-boosting potency. Nature is the remedy to this man-made virus. The following herbs and concoctions can help you enhance your immunity and prevent coronavirus, as well as many other day-to-day ailments that occur due to a change in weather.

  • Amruth - Also known as Giloy or Guduchi, Amruth is an immunity-enhancer. It is commonly available in the market as a herb and tablet form. You can buy this tablet here and make it a part of your daily immunity building regimen. 
  • Amla - Popularly known as the Indian Gooseberry, it is quite regularly used in the Indian tradition. Most houses consume it daily in the form of juice or chutney and it is also a major part of the supplement called Chyawanprash. Amla is an antioxidant and a rich source of Vitamin C, which is very important for boosting immunity. Since it is a fruit, amla can be eaten raw or taken in juice or even consumed as a part of health supplements and/or tablets
  • Tulsi - Also known as basil, this herb is very effective in treating upper respiratory and lower respiratory diseases such as cough, cold, and dyspnea. It has antibacterial and antiviral properties. You can have tulsi leaves directly or consume it in the form of herbal tea. It is also available in the form of drops or tablets. 
  • Turmeric - Turmeric is a common ingredient in every Indian kitchen and is a part of most home-cooked meals. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and has the potential to prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart diseases. But the best thing about turmeric is that it gives a massive boost to your immune system. This is another thing that should be strictly consumed daily. You can buy turmeric powder and put it in milk and cooked food. You can also consume it in the form of tablets. 
  • Black pepper is another spice, when consumed with turmeric, that boosts immunity and prevents the body from contracting any form of cold and in effect, the coronavirus. The turmeric tablets already have pepper in them but you can also buy them individually to put in your meals.  
  • Panchagavya - Panchagavya is said to be a system booster in Ayurveda and it increases the flow of energy in the body. A body with higher energy levels is not only easier to treat but also in preventing the disease. 
  • Another pro tip to note is to reduce your sugar intake as sugar reduces your body’s immunity levels.

Yoga and pranayama for building immunity

Yoga and pranayama are just the healthy practices the world is in need of and is realizing today. Whether it is infection, psychosomatic diseases, or lifestyle disorders, yoga and pranayama work for everything. 

Even in the case of coronavirus, people who have been practicing yoga, meditation, and pranayama have experienced a higher level of immunity and lung strength, making it difficult for the virus to affect their bodies. Let’s find out the different pranayamas and asanas that you can do in the comfort of your home to enhance your immunity levels.

1. Pranayama - Prana is the life force in our body. Pranayama means the exercise of increasing the life force in our body. Increasing prana in our body can help tackle many diseases and even prevent them. It can be increased by consuming fresh fruits, vegetarian food, taking proper rest, but mostly with pranayama. The following pranayamas should be done daily to improve your lung strength and immunity levels:

  • Ujjayi Breathing: Ujjayi breaths are the full yogic breaths which are a common aspect of many pranayamas. In this, the focus is on taking breaths through the base of the throat, thereby instructing the lungs to increase the intake of oxygen. 
  • Kapalbhati: Kapalbhati helps clear your air passage ways. It also increases the level of oxygen in your body, thereby increasing its immunity against diseases. 
  • Nadi Shodhan Pranayama: Nadi Shodhan or Alternate Nostril breathing technique is a simple pranayama which calms the mind. It is a good pre-meditation breathing exercise. Just do it for a few minutes and then let your mind meditate for 10-15 minutes. This is simple to do and recharges your body and mind in minutes. You can couple it with any of the easy guided meditations available here.

2. Yoga - Yoga asanas are a good way to improve your body’s physical fitness. But they don’t just work in improving your flexibility or helping you lose those extra kilos. There are specific yoga asanas that can help boost your immunity as well. Here are the top five yoga asanas you can do to increase your immunity levels:

3. Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) - The best thing that can help you increase your immunity levels during this time of panic and stress is Sudarshan Kriya yoga. A comprehensive yogic technique, Sudarshan Kriya has elements of pranayama, yoga, and meditation incorporated in it and works on every level of our body. It heightens our immune system, specifically improving the defense mechanism which is the most important requirement at this time.

It is seen that even in the people who start practicing Sudarshan Kriya from scratch, their immunity levels reach the maximum levels in just 15 days. This simple 20-minute breathing exercise will not only help you prevent contracting the coronavirus, but also impact your emotional, mental, and physical well-being in the most positive and meaningful way. 

These practices will not only help us prevent the virus but also improve our daily life in a highly positive manner. To this effect, stay strong and stress-free with the power of meditation, breath, and yoga. Know more here. 

With inputs from Dr. Nisha Manikantan, Founder Director, Sri Sri Ayurveda; Dr. Lokesh Raturi, Sri Sri Tattva; and Ravi Onkari - Head, Corporate Yoga Programs

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