This piece is based on a Q&A session with Kamlesh Barwal, Global Head, Art of Living Yoga, The Art of Living. Kamlesh is a senior Art of Living faculty and has conducted programs across India, China, Russia, Kazakhstan and the Middle East.
The information provided is only in public interest and we do not make any claims to prevent or cure Swine Flu. If already diagnosed, it is better to consult your physician.
Can regular practice of yoga prevent the flu? If yes how?
A regular practice of yoga ensures that all systems (endocrinal, digestive and circulatory) are working optimally well. Yoga poses, mostly inversions and forward bends, are very helpful for the lymphatic system that is responsible for draining out toxins from the body. Practice Adho Mukha Svanasana, Hastapadasana, Sarvangasana, Matsyasana to increase blood flow into sinuses. Practices like Jalneti can keep the sinuses clean and infection free.
How can one build their immunity with yoga?
Yoga strengthens the bodily functions along with relaxing the mind. Immunity is directly related to the mental state. Poor liver function, digestion and a stressed body and mind is at higher risk of catching infections. We must practice asanas like Badhakonasana, Natarajasana,Shishuasana, and Pavanamuktasana that gently compress, or massage the belly and can help get rid of digestive ailments.
There is ample research to show that just 20 minutes of meditation every day can increase endorphins and decreases blood cortisol levels, and enhance mental wellbeing of an individual. A sound sleep is another factor that increases immunity.
How does the deep breathing or pranayama help?
Maximizing one’s breathing capacity through pranayama builds resistance to attacking bacteria and viruses. Kapal Bhati boosts resistance of respiratory tract, Bhastrika drains out the lungs and Nadi Shodhan increases the resistance of sinuses.
Is it possible to treat Swine Flu with yoga?
When you are down with flu and cannot practice asanas, its best to do pranayama. In early stages, asanas like Bhujangasana, Setu Bandhasana and pranayama like Bhastrika can help expand the lungs and flush them. Also, meditation plays a key role in keeping the stress hormones at bay and boosting the immunity. Sheetali and Sheetkaari pranayama can help get relief in fever.
Ayurvedic doctors suggest Tulsi (Holy Basil) leaves to boost immunity as it has amazing medicinal properties. Rich in antioxidants, it is known to relieve stress, strengthen immunity, and relieve respiratory inflammation and congestion. Tulsi can be taken with ginger and honey/jaggery or boiled in drinking water or Tulsi tea can be had in regular intervals. Tea made from Laxmi Taru leaves (Simarouba), Tulsi, Amla and Amrut (Giloy) acts as an immunity enhancer.
Additionally, ginger and turmeric (haldi) powder mixed with either limejuice or honey can also be taken twice a day. Sri Sri Ayurveda’s Shakti drops contain properties of most of the above.
Is there any specific yogic diet one can follow to prevent or treat flu?
- Eat sattvic and freshly cooked simple vegetarian food.
- Avoid eating fast food, canned, frozen and packaged food.
- Drink at least 6 to 8 liters of water daily to keep the body de-toxed.
- Include more green vegetables in your diet and eat on time.
- Eat more Vitamin C rich vegetables and fruits like Amla (Indian gooseberry).
- Take Triphala regularly for proper digestion.
Additionally, burn Sambrani dhoop – a very potent atmospheric sterilizer at home and also sprinkle agnihotra ashes around your home.
Finally, Heyam Dukham Anagattam: हेयं दुःखमनागतम्
Patanjali Yoga Sutras say that yoga can help you avoid the suffering that is yet to come. So we must start practicing regularly some yoga asanas, pranayamas and meditations today to avoid catching flu.