Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Are you getting caught up in the hysteria being created through our media hype?
I do hope not!.... In case you are feeling anxious and fearful you may like to know that there are some Yogic measures you can take to keep a clear head and help prevent the spread and contraction of the Corona virus.
We are currently being subjected to constant media coverage over the corona virus pandemic.
As a result some of us may be feeling anxious, worried and fearful. There are of course higher risks for those who are elderly or already suffering illnesses. But first off we need to remain Calm, Cool and in Control of our actions, so that we can handle the situation in a sensible and diligent manner.
I thought it might be helpful to offer some extra advice in addition to the current World Health recommendations to wash hands in hot soapy water, keep fingers out of our mouths, nose and eyes.
Within the yoga traditions we can draw from rituals that for centuries have proved helpfull in maintaining health and wellness in body and mind. These rituals are worth considering to help prevent the current virus invasion.
Indications of the virus being spread through body fluids are now a well-established fact. Sadly since the virus is not an airborne germ the facemask becomes pretty redundant. They will only protect the nose and mouth against other people coughing their spittle over you and prevent infections being transmitted from hand to mouth.
The areas of our body that are most at risk are all the openings around our face - mouth, nose, eyes and ears. These are the passages we need to protect, to keep them healthy and moist.
Follow these five Yoga Rituals to stay protected.
Yogic Eye Cleansing
Each morning pour some bottled water into a clean sink. Fill your cupped hands with cool water. Lower your face, and then splash quickly around seven times over the eyes. Release the rest of the water, take a breath and then do it two more times.
It rinses out dirt, irritants and other foreign pollutants from the eyes, leaving the eyes clean and eyesight sharp.
Follow the eye-wash by gently tapping on the eyelids with the index finger. Blink your eyes 7 times and rotate your eyes in all directions. (roll the eyes around clockwise, then counter-clockwise, then quickly up-down, left-right, and diagonally).
Yogic Nostril Cleansing
After washing your eyes, pour more fresh water into the sink and put a little water in one hand. Gently sniff in up your nose, to moisten the airways. Do it a few times. If you sniff too hard it may sting so be careful. Alternatively you can use a saline nasal spray a few squirts into each nostril.
After drying off, you can use a little nasya oil or coconut or pure toasted sesame oil, to lubricate the inside of the nose, just a few drops on your finger. The oils are all antiviral, antimicrobial and antibacterial and act as a protective barrier against viruses and bacteria.
Mouth and Throat Gargle
Gargling is an ancient tradition that helps to keep the mouth and throat healthy. Not so popular now in the west but still widely active as a daily habit in Tokyo, due to their movement around a densely populated city.
After being out and about in public areas, on transport, in shops etc it makes sense to gargle when you get home.
Add a ¼ teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to some warm water and gargle two or three times. You can do this morning and evening as a simple prevention measure.
Oiling the Ears and Feet
Put a few drops of any one of the previous oils mentioned sesame/coconut/nasya
oil on your finger and then rub it around the inside of your ears.
Then use the rest of the oil to massage the bottoms of your feet, thiss helps reduce vata, one of the three Ayurvedic doshas.
In Ayurvedic medicine, vata is associated with the nervous system, its state is often reflected in our mental health. When vata is in balance, we tend to be enthusiastic, imaginative, funny, quick to learn, and spiritually minded. But the excess vata of winter months can leave us susceptible to feeling more fearful, scattered, or worried than usual. Physically, pain is the most obvious indication of excess vata; other common signs are insomnia, dry skin, constipation, flatulence, and irregular menstruation.
The mass media hysteria surrounding the spread of the virus can be all consuming, causing us to become anxious and fearful. The best way to approach the current madness is to reduce your contact with the media. Switch off the 24/7 news bulletins on TV and Twitter and be selective and sensible with your research for advice.
Meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety and blood pressure. Just fifteen minutes practice a day can noticeably decrease stress, by instantly inducing calm, clarity and peace of mind. Meditation also boosts the immune system and invokes healing into body. If there are any germs lurking they will have less chance of surviving in a strong healthy body.
The effects of meditation actually slows down the brainwave frequencies that can help to change our outlook and ease away stress and anxiety. Definitively the process facilitates the absence of thought and brings us into the present moment.
A Fifteen-minute meditation will simply involve sitting in an upright chair with feet on the floor and hands resting in the lap. You can set a timer for fifteen minutes, then follow this ritual for a calming practice.
Close your eyes and focus on your breath in and out through the nose.
Bring your attention to your belly and notice the belly rising as you breathe in and falling as you breathe out.
Move your awareness to your feet and visualise roots growing from the soles of the feet down through the floor, through the foundations and into the earth beneath you, continuing down, deep down to the centre of the earth.
These roots are being anchored into the earth, firm and securely tied down.
Notice a wave of energy gathering around the base of the roots.
Visualise this energy as a white ball of light, shining strong and bright, radiating outwards and upwards through the earth.
Take a moment here to invite this energy into your body.Observe it as it travels up the roots, through the earth, through the foundations, through the floor and into the soles of the feet.
Filling the feet and toes, rising up the legs and into the torso, travelling up the neck and filling the face, forehead and up into the crown of the head.
This energy is strong, powerful and magnificent.
Feel it in your body, circulating, penetrating and vibrating in every single cell.
Say to yourself in your head – “Breathing in my breath is deep” – “Breathing out my breath is slow”.
Repeat this mantra to yourself to the end of the meditation.
Slowly bring your awareness back to where you are sitting and gradually open your eyes.
I would like to add that these rituals are not intended to be a replacement for any medication prescribed for individual illnesses but they are sensible measures that have been used and proven for a very long time to keep the mind and body healthy and strong enough to fight off harmful viruses. Here's helping you to stay Calm, Cool and in Control.... Namaste.
Annie runs Yoga, Mindfulness Meditation classes and courses from her studio in East Molesey, Hampton Court, Surrey.
For more information on yoga classes and courses go to Moorwellbeing website.