Here we are in this difficult place, between coping with the effects of isolation and navigating our way in an unsafe world. This in-between zone is not only a harsh new reality but also a dramatic metaphor for the changes…
Common signs of coronavirus infection include respiratory symptoms, fatigue fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. It seems that colds and cases of flu usually have more upper respiratory symptoms, including sneezing; however, the presentation of COVID-19…
The healthier you are, the better your chance to get through the coronavirus pandemic relatively unscathed. The latest research shows that people who are overweight, who have diabetes and other chronic diseases, or who smoke are more at risk of becoming seriously ill with this virus. However, there are things you can do right now to improve your health and reduce your risk.
There are four pillars of health that create a strong foundation for total wellbeing:
- A calm, peaceful mind and the cultivation of self-awareness.
- 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted, deep, restful sleep.
- Plenty of activity and exercise.
- A good diet, and appropriate fasting (especially if you are overweight).
All four pillars support each other. However, the most important is a calm, peaceful mind, which cultivates self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the most important thing you can have at this time. It is even more important than toilet paper.
There are two viruses in the world at present. One is the coronavirus. The other is psychic contagion… fear and panic.
It is because of psychic contagion that the development of self-awareness and a calm, peaceful mind is key to your health and survival. Self-awareness, which improves with deep rest and a healthy lifestyle, is critical. Self-awareness enables you to:
- Stop touching your face while you are potentially exposed to coronavirus.
- Monitor your state of health and tune into your needs.
- Know what to eat and how much exercise you need to improve your health.
- And most importantly, self-awareness cultivates good mental health and prevents unnecessary anxiety, panic, and catastrophizing.
Every time you step outside the boundary of your front door, you are potentially exposed to coronavirus. Self-awareness enables you to move through the world outside of the relative safety of your home and remain safe and connected rather than disconnected out of fear, thereby becoming more vulnerable.
The cultivation of self-awareness and connection enables you to absorb information and process it so that you gain a sense of confidence that is grounded in reality. It is from this position that you can access your intuition and creativity to respond intelligently.
You will need a lot of self-awareness to adapt to the new world that is emerging in these next months.
The first pillar – Develop a calm, peaceful mind and self-awareness
The development of a calm, peaceful mind and self-awareness is the most challenging of the four pillars. It is much easier to modify your diet or start doing some exercise than to deal with your mind, yet your mind influences all the other pillars.
It is relatively easy to create physical health, but the mind is a much bigger fish to fry. This is because much of it is unconscious. You are only aware of a small fraction of your mind, your conscious mind, which is like a wave arising out of the ocean of the unconscious mind, which is the realm of your psyche and spirit.
Your psyche is an autonomous force, outside of your control. You need to be able to dive into the psyche via meditation to form a healthy relationship with this bigger part of you. The way to do this is by regular meditation practice.
From the point of view of the ego, the psyche is chaotic, because the forces and impulses contained within it do not conform to social norms. You can see your psyche reflected in the strange world of your dreams. There is a constant tension between your ego and your psyche, and this tension needs to be managed if you are to remain healthy, both physically and mentally.
How we are using yoga, meditation, and western medicine to build immunity and protect ourselves from the coronavirus.
We are publishing three articles on how to maintain health and have the best chance of preventing illness during the pandemic of Covid-19.
The first article (this article) will discuss the two best yoga meditations to build healthy, resilient immunity that can give you a better chance in the fight against a virus.
The second article details how to build the four pillars of health from both Eastern and Western perspectives.
The third article recommends Eastern herbs and Western supplements that Jayne and I are using to support our health and immunity and which I recommend to my students and clients.
Yogic theory tells us that the key to staving off viruses is to make your life force (vitality, prāna) stronger than the life force of the virus, otherwise your immunity (agni) can’t cope and the virus wins.
If you can follow the advice in the articles, you will increase your immunity and resilience.
We live in interesting times!!!! Global warming, mass migration and epidemics crashing through the borders of nation-states, and financial disruption. All this distress can weaken your immune system, making you prone to illnesses, such as the coronavirus. These are all boundary issues.
People dream about getting into their yogic practice and improving their diet and sleep. Prior to the virus spreading, this may have seemed a luxury that you can take up when “you have time”. However, today a healthy lifestyle that conserves energy and builds vitality-prāna is crucial to developing strong boundaries that either prevent the virus from entering or if the virus does get in enables you to combat it.
If you haven’t been building your prāna, now is the time to start. Within a few weeks of practicing energy building meditations along with some lifestyle modifications (suggested in the second article), you will feel more relaxed and more robust.
If you are suffering from chronic illness your life force (prāna) and your agni (digestive fire, immunity) are both not working properly.
Build prāna and agni
The key to gain the best advantage, and to prevent a virus from taking hold or from becoming a severe illness, is to build your life force–prāna and your immunity–agni.
Siddhi Saraswati is a yogi to the core, but it might surprise you to know that she doesn’t practice classical yoga postures. Siddhi is proof that yoga is more about poise than a pose. Read about how her relationship with life, learning, nature, and multiple sclerosis makes her a true yogi.
Words by Siddhi
In 1985 I heard about an Australian medical doctor who had spent a decade studying with a guru in India and had returned to Australia to teach yoga as the foundation of wellbeing. That doctor was Swami Shankardev Saraswati.
My meeting with him soon after changed my life in a most positive, nurturing way.
It sparked in me a deeper connection to yoga, and I became certain that it was to become my vocation. I traveled to India to further my studies and completed my teacher training back in Australia. I taught yoga in Sydney and enjoyed a wonderful yoga community for well over a decade.
In 1998 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It moved quickly through my brain and spinal cord, damaging parts of the myelin sheath, the neural pathway that sends messages from the brain to the body. My brain, spine controlling balance, proprioception, cognition, voice, and movement were all affected.
I tried hard to retain the life I’d grown to love, but when I could no longer drive or teach I was forced to leave my students, my community, and to find a new way of living.
Words by Bhakati
A head-on motor vehicle accident over twenty years ago left me catastrophically injured.
Every bone in my face was broken, and my left leg was in 16 pieces. In the aftermath, I had a bleed in the brain and still have left-sided weakness, without the use of my left hand.
However, I survived the multiple trauma, and I continue, slowly and steadily, to heal and love life!
There have been wonderful healers along the way; my beautiful chestnut horse, K.C., and Big Shakti have been the major factors in my onward journey.
Having been a student of Sri Chinmoy since 1978, I knew the importance of meditation, and especially relaxation, so I began with Big Shakti’s guided relaxation meditations.
I moved away from group meditations after Sri Chinmoy’s death, and I was longing for new supportive teachers and community.
Big Shakti’s online courses and seminars not only helped me to meditate more regularly, but they also gave me a renewed sense of connection to a global community. I felt a strong heart connection with Swami Shankardev and Jayne Stevenson.