Message from Pratima
The situation we are collectively facing with the outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 feels very much unprecedented. The world looks very uncertain. Most of us are dealing with fears and anxiety. Everything is being questioned or put on hold. One of the reasons this coronavirus feels so scary to us is because it is different from anything we’ve seen before. I’ve been discussing the evolution of the virus for the past few weeks with Ayurvedic colleagues and scientists who are currently working closely with the World Health Organization on studying the COVID-19 virus. As one colleague said to me, this virus is indeed new and different, yet it can be managed if addressed correctly.
When I was growing up in India
In reflecting on the events of the past weeks, I am reminded of everyday health practices that I used growing up in India:
- Every time we went out, we had to wash our feet and hands before we came into the house, then we had to change our clothes
- Every day, we would burn incense and herbs in the house to clean and purify the air
- We ate simple, fresh home cooked food
- We protected animals, fed them and took care of them
- We prayed morning and night. We respected the elders in the house
- We helped each other. We laughed. We enjoyed life
Those were some fundamentals of life I think we should look to go back to now. Achieving balance in all aspects of life creates happiness, beauty and peace and supports health and well-being.
It is at the core of Ayurveda and the essence of life.
Immunity is our entire lifestyle
In light of the current situation and this specific virus, I would encourage you to follow some of the preventative measures below.
- Drink warm water but avoid excess water accumulation in the body as this virus thrives on moisture. Minimize high water content fruits, such as melons
- Avoid or decrease your intake of animal protein and eggs. Instead, increase your complex carbohydrates intake, such as taro root, arrowroot, sweet potatoes
- Increase your intake of vegetables such as lentils, mung beans and all cooked, dark leafy greens. This will make your body more alkaline, which is ideal for immunity
- Eat warm, cooked foods. Nothing cold nor directly from the fridge. Eat dry snacks and dry fruits
SUPPLEMENTS AND SELF CARE REMEDIES
- Take natural Vitamin D and incorporate vegetarian foods that contain K2-7, including ghee and fresh green chilies. This will help keep your lungs clear
- Take a natural calcium supplement or 1 tablespoon per day of sesame seed powder as a natural calcium source. This keeps the lower part of the lungs clean and dry from excess mucus
- Take 25mg of zinc to ward of viral infections
- Keep your nasal passages very clean. While all salts are antibacterial, sindhav or sendhav salt (which are mined from rocks), does not hold moisture like other salts, like sea salt. It is therefore ideal to use sindhav salt with a Neti Pot to decrease mucus, congestion and moisture
- Put a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil on a handkerchief or tissue and routinely inhale the scent. It helps to keep the lungs clean and open, while reducing congestion and mucus in the lungs
- Gargle once per day: 1/4 cup of warm water, 1/4 tsp sindhav salt, 1/8 tsp baking soda, pinch of turmeric. This will make your throat more alkaline, increasing resistance to infection. For any persistent irritation, pain or inflammation, increase to 3 times per day
- Drink tea with ginger, holy basil, fresh turmeric and honey
- Give yourself a nice massage with warm sesame oil, incorporating some essential oils according to your dosha (For Vata: lemon, neroli and sweet orange; for Pitta: rose and sandalwood; for Kapha: sage and lavender)
- Sleep more, especially during this time. For optimal healing and rejuvenation, most people need 7-8 hours of good, sound sleep. This allows the body to regenerate, therefore enhancing your innate immunity
IF YOU HAVE TO GO OUT
- Respiratory masks, like those used by health professionals, are short in supply and only those that create a complete seal around the face are effective at filtering inhaled air from contaminants. That said, if you do wish to cover your face to reduce your exposure, use an oversized scarf and wrap several times around your nose, ears and mouth. You can also add a drop or two of eucalyptus essential oil. Have several clean scarves available near your door to wear as you leave your home, as well as a small basket to dispose of used scarves when you come back. Do not reuse a scarf before washing once you’ve worn it outside
- When you arrive home, remove your shoes by your door. Ideally, if you have disinfectant spray or wipes you can also wipe them down. Next, immediately wash your hands and remove all your clothes. If possible, take a shower. This way, any virus that has attached to your clothes or hair can be cleaned out
- When greeting others, replace the usual handshake with a nice bow and say 'Namaste'. This means "this is a soul greeting from which I surrender to the divinity within you."
- Avoid any crowds. Try to be silent and still.
- Food is not just what we eat, but all that we hear, see and touch from all five senses. The body also has to digest everything that your senses consume. Therefore, become aware that constantly listening to the news will disrupt our body and make our energy low. Whenever you wish to inform yourself, choose trusted sources. Use this time to listen to a beautiful podcast or inspiring music. What we eat, hear, see, feel and touch is how we nourish ourselves from a whole body perspective
- Do simple, slow breathing exercises such as alternate-nostril or breath retention (kumbhaka) breathing. Ten minutes of this practice each morning and night is ideal
- Do sun salutations with the Om Surya Namaha mantra. Invoking the energy of the sun within yourself will enhance the body’s ability to fight bacteria and viruses
- Meditate as much as possible. Inhale and say “I’m healthy”, exhale and repeat “I’m happy”
- Get to know yourself. Experience your higher consciousness
- Be happy
- Be thankful
I also understand that you may have other specific questions in regards to your very own situation and I will be providing additional Phone Consultations if you would like to discuss any of those diet and lifestyle recommendations further from the context of this virus. In an effort to support our community during this difficult time, we will be donating 10% of proceeds from Wellness Phone Consultations to the Food Bank for New York City.
I will also be sending videos in the coming weeks with tips such as breathing and meditation exercises for extra support.
PRATIMA Spa is currently closed; however, we will keep you informed of any new communications as well as specific initiatives to help the community on our website and social media channels.
Lastly, remember that like everything else, this is temporary and this too will pass by.
We need to be strong, healthy, and aware.