Maybe you’re feeling fearful and somewhat helpless right now because of COVID-19. Our collective fear is compounded by our disconnect from the wisdom of how to support our body’s innate healing intelligence. I encourage you to use this fear and uncertainty as a trigger to invest in what you can control – your daily habits that support immunity.
In Ayurveda we see that the strength of our immune system is dependent upon the strength of our digestion. Agni – our digestive “fire” – metabolizes the food we eat. It transforms this food into the 7 major tissues of the body – plasma, blood, muscle, fat, nerve, bone, reproductive tissue. The final byproduct of digestion is our immune system, or “ojas” – the subtle essence of vitality, vigor and immunity. This process takes about 30 days. About two-thirds of the US population has some form of digestive symptoms, so the potential for collectively weakened immunity is huge.
When digestion is strong, we build healthy tissues, have abundant energy, a balanced, positive mind and a strong immune system.
When digestion is weak, two things happen:
- We build poor quality tissues and have little left to put towards building our immune system.
- The undigested food matter putrefies in the digestive system and becomes toxic, overflows into circulation and coats the cells of the body. This inhibits the proper functioning of the cells and fosters disease.
We also have a societal stress epidemic. Stress is a digestion and immunity killer. When you go into fight-or-flight mode, your body shuts down digestion and sends resources to other parts of the body to fight, flee and survive. When you’re escaping the bear (or your non-stop schedule, your crazy commute, pressures of perfectionism, stimulation overload, etc.) your body receives the signal to go into survival mode, not to digest a meal. Also, stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol – not only weaken digestion but also deplete the body and immune system.
Our Standard American Lifestyle has us in constant fight-or-flight mode and swimming against what naturally supports our body to heal itself. Here are a few simple steps you can take RIGHT NOW to start supporting your immunity:
- Eat a light, plant-based dinner by 7pm, latest. Our physiology is not designed to digest a late, large, protein and fat-rich dinner. Late, heavy meals are like a sledgehammer to digestion, creating toxicity and inhibiting your body’s ability to purify. It’s a triple whammy for killing immunity.
- Get to bed by 10pm. This is crucial for building a strong immune system. After 10pm you’re looking at more disturbed sleep, sleep deprivation (regardless of how many hours you sleep) and a disrupted detoxification process.
- Do 20 minutes of movement upon waking. The lymphatic system, which helps to rid the body of toxins and waste, needs exercise in order to pump and do its job. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout. Just get moving. Do yoga, dance, stretch, jump up and down. It’s important to do this first thing in the morning, even if you plan to exercise later in the day.
- Limit your ingestion of media (including social media). Do the minimum to stay informed and then SHUT IT DOWN. Your mind does not know the difference between a real and perceived threat, so your body will go into fight-or-flight mode and start releasing stress hormones more easily the more you ingest the fear.
- Sit in silence. Meditate. Pray. Do whatever it is you do to help your mind digest your emotions, sensory impressions, experiences and traumas. All of this helps to keep your nervous system calm and thus, your digestion and immunity strong.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn how to empower yourself with the most essential and impactful habits for supporting vitality, immunity, and mental and emotional ease, I’m enrolling now for the next round of my Essential Living Course that starts on May 6, 2020. To learn more or to discuss your health or habit challenges, schedule your free 30-min phone session with me here.
Unlock the wisdom within to prevent, heal and thrive!