31 May 2020: A worldwide virulent pandemic
Had it been only up to monetary things where everything seemed to be known to everyone, things seemed handle-able though at times it did look like humanity was losing the battle. What we haven’t factored in is the incalculable mental and psychological misery of just sitting in one place day and night not knowing for how long. Military lock-downs or blackouts last till the enemy is defeated or otherwise surrenders. Weather-related lock-downs last till the weather lasts. But a pandemic is a different ball-game more so when there is no known medication/vaccine for it. What makes the COVID 19 pandemic especially bad is that one can never be sure if one is already affected or not.
India has been luckier than the world in some respects. For one, the spread of the virus, given our population size, seems to be low when compared with that of the rest of the world, more so the western countries. The other is the presence of Ancient remedial practices including Ayurveda which for millenniums has seen and felt the onslaught of viruses, bacteria and other pestilences, and given the world one of the most natural of remedial means to build immunity across ages.
In doing so what Ayurveda does is to keep the human body fit across body-types, doshas and prakriti throughout the year, across weathers and related health issues by using a mix of weather-fortified foods which matches one’s body-type, lifestyle changes which suits situations and weather, yoga and related physical practices for mental and physical fitness, and the use of time-tested natural means including herbs, roots, oils and judicious concoctions of these.
In Ayurveda, the concept of immunity to fight diseases starts rather early- right at the time of conception. Would-be parents are advised to follow certain practices be it related to food, general upkeep, fitness and medical conditions. From the time of birth, Ayurveda prescribes the minutest of details including the kind of feed, milk, type of milk, hours of sleep, bathing and general upkeep, etc. with the express intention of building the child’s immunity to fight all kinds of viruses and pestilence. As one progresses in age, immunity is enhanced after assessing one’s prakriti and dosha status, besides one’s lifestyle and temperament.
Lock-down or otherwise, COVID or SARS, Ayurveda has certain time-tested means of boosting people’s immunity. We mention a few time-tested ones below
Do research of your body type to see which dosha affects you in which form:
The living tissue as per Ayurveda can be any or all of three energies, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha which we inherit from our parents as also develop in ourselves as a consequence of the lives we live which could include places, foods, seasons and age besides a lot many other factors. Ideally, they ought to be in a particular state as per prevailing seasons but in most cases, they are not. And when they are not, it affects everything from immunity to energy levels, and one’s general mood. For the best of immunity, a detailed prakriti analysis, and resultant dos and don’t are a must. In times of a lock-down, this may seem out of place but at the earliest, it ought to be done to avoid issues later.
Follow a sound dinacharya routine RIGOROUSLY and do not deviate every now and then. From the time we leave the bed in the morning to the time we go back to it, what we do constitutes our “Dinacharya”, and a dinacharya with the right set of activities whether during the lock-down or even otherwise were followed rigorously goes a long way in bringing a sense of assurance to the body which itself imparts it with necessary physical strength and strong immunity. BUT for that, it should be practised regularly in a sustained manner. Also, where one already has existing medical conditions like diabetes, a heart condition, weight gain, etc. religiously following a well-thought dinacharya can be the best thing to prevent progression of the disease to its next and more severe level. Dinacharya has elements of everything which constitutes a normal day’s activity starting with rising early, cleansing the bowels, exercise and meditation, bathing, cleaning of the mouth, the first food of the day. As the day progresses, it helps understand the significance of the 2nd meal right when the sun is overhead (doing so helps digestion). Later in the evening, dinacharya advocates early meals, some walking after meals, bed-time, direction and type of bed to lie on. Dinacharya is especially important when we are subjected to an untested situation like a month-long complete lock-down. With a proper, and time-tested timetable ie. Dinacharya in place, immunity boost is one of the outcomes. It also helps lessen the feeling of boredom and resultant depression and dejection which themselves affect immunity.
Eat foods depending upon your dosha and the weather. Food though covered under dinacharya needs a special mention here during such stressful times. Boredom and a feeling of gloom invariably find the company in “tasty” treats, and sometimes a peg or two of alcohol, all of which contribute towards lowered immunity. Most “soul foods” are heavy in salt, oil, masalas and chillies, all of which beyond a point is counterproductive to immunity. In fact, they are known to lower immunity. Agreed that these cannot be completely done away with but they should never be taken regularly. Also, a teaspoon or two of life-giving “Chawanprash” with a day-full of “tasty treats” don’t add up to good immunity. Instead, one should consume season-specific foods cooked with the right ingredients to lighten the load on digestion.