How to build your immunity using Āyurveda

March 09, 2020 1 Comment

How to build your immunity using Āyurveda

With the current hysteria flying around about contracting the corona virus, the question everyone is asking themselves “What can I do to prevent myself from getting sick?”. In my opinion it’s not a vaccine or covering yourself in saran wrap- the bigger question we should be asking ourselves is if we are living a lifestyle that promotes healthy immunity, and if not, what we can do to change that. 

The best way to prevent yourself from getting sick is to increase your OVERALL health, which means supporting your digestive capacity and ojas, or deeper immunity through a healthy diet and lifestyle. Getting stressed out and hysterical about things you can’t control does not help, and in fact weakens your immunity. So let’s get smart and review what steps we can take to support our health both short and long term.


Digestive Health is Queen

Why is supporting your digestive health such an important component of immunity? Because healthy digestion supports healthy immunity, overall vibrancy, and directly contributes to building up your ojas. You are not what you eat, you are what you can DIGEST, and when you are digesting good foods per your constitutional needs, you will have a stronger body that can handle exposure to viruses better than those who don’t. 


What are some markers of healthy digestion?

-Lightness after eating

-clean tongue (no coating)

-steady weight

-stable energy levels

-contentment and satisfaction

-regular bowel movements without odor

-strong immunity

-hunger without getting hangry


What are some markers of impaired digestion?

-gas and bloating

-tiredness after eating

-irregular bowel movements (come at random intervals)

-lethargy

-coating on the tongue

-strong smell to your stool

-gets sick easily

-acid reflux/hyperacidity

-lack of appetite

-excessive appetite


If you are having any of the above symptoms, please refer to this article to learn more about cultivating good digestion through proper food combining and eating habits


What is ojas and how does it relate to my immunity?

Your ojas IS your immunity, and so much more. It is your vibrancy, emotional and physical stability, contentment, and overall resiliency.

The Charaka Samhita, one of the classical texts of Āyurveda, gives clear reference to cultivating ojas, and it is not done by one action alone. It is rather the sum of your thoughts, habits, diet, and lifestyle that yield the quality of ojas we need to stay happy and healthy.

“As the bees collect honey from the fruits and flowers, ojas is similarly collected in the body by the actions, qualities, habits, and diet of the human being.” Ca:SU 17:76

This is why your daily routine, diet, and lifestyle are critical for health. They directly inform your ojas, which is why Āyurveda places such strong emphasis on cultivating correct habits.

What are signs of good ojas?

-radiant eyes

-compassion

-control of emotional fluctuations

-good memory and concentration

-stable body temperature

-strong immunity

-glowing skin

-healthy digestion


What are signs your ojas is depleted?

-fatigue

-increase of dosha

-heaviness of body

-loss of muscle mass

-excess sleepiness

-pallor (pale skin)

-dry skin

-constipation

-cold hands and feet

What can you do to cultivate ojas?

As mentioned above, the best way to cultivate ojas is to cultivate a healthy lifestyle that includes yoga, prānāyāma, exercise, healthy eating, and contemplative practices like prayer or meditation. Your body loves routine like the one I outline in my 10 Step Daily Routine Guide, and habits like this take you a long way towards building strong immunity.


Cultivating emotional stability is also CRITICAL FOR HEALTH, as emotional fluctuations really take it out of you. Ever notice how exhausted you get after intense outbursts? That’s because they deplete you on a deep level. Thus why daily meditation and controlling your mental fluctuations are so critical to good health. 


Diet is also a wonderful way to increase ojas, and here is a list of foods that help to increase it.


-soaked and peeled almonds

-ghee, fats, oil

-amla fruit or herb

-spices to balance digestion

-honey

-milk

-dates

-figs

-avocados

-mung beans

-ancient grains

-local food from your farmer’s market


The truth is, outbreaks like the Coronavirus are likely to continue in the years to come as our communities have become so connected through travel and world commerce, and while we should definitely follow best practices like handwashing, avoiding travel in contaminated areas, and quarantining ourselves voluntarily when sick, we also need to show up for OURSELVES by taking responsibility for our health on a daily basis.  Taking the steps I’ve outlined will not only help you stay healthy during outbreaks, they are going to keep you healthy long term. So get awesome, get healthy, and tread the path of wellness daily.

May the force be with you.



1 Response

Merrilee Howell
Merrilee Howell

August 27, 2020

Thanks for the very helpful article & encouragement to eat well & keep exercise, prayer & balance in our lives.

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