The whole world is trying to fight this invisible assassin, COVID 19, hence having taken the step towards Lockdown. For many people, especially those who have had a busy schedule at work all these years, it is difficult to cope up with this Lockdown situation. But you should also understand that this Lockdown not only protects us against COVID 19 but helps us remember how to relax as many of us have even forgotten to take sufficient rest every day. We have become so busy that because of high Vata, our Kapha has been depleted substantially which means the nourishment of the bodily tissues is affected, immunity is compromised and we are prone to premature aging. So now that you have time, we can cultivate positive habits explained in Ayurvedic literature in our daily life which will promote health.
What can you do during this Lockdown?
1. Start Practicing Yoga – It has become a fancy to have six-packs and do bodybuilding, so most people have opted to go to Gym. It is not wrong but one should also understand that Yoga or Walking is also important apart from going to the Gym. We need a balance. A gym may demand workouts beyond your actual capacity, target fixing for achieving ideal BMI increases stress both mental & physical, workouts in an air-conditioned facility is not good as exercise is done to increase circulation and produce heat and sweating, also there is no fresh air as we are doing workouts in a closed air-conditioned room most times. Whereas yoga or walking practiced in open space such as the terrace or porch is relaxing and makes you stress-free. It also increases your energy levels, improves your focus and concentration. So overall, the gym increases physical and mental stress sometimes. It is necessary to balance it with yoga or simply walking, say you may go to the gym 3 times a week and practice yoga or walking 3 times a week, thus maintaining a balance. This is the right time to start with basic yoga exercise which is more suited to present-day lifestyle especially when one has to overcome different types of physical pains (back pain, neck pain, etc) & mental stress related to a sedentary lifestyle.
2. Do Self-massage – As we grow, Vata increases in our body which causes degenerative changes in the body. Because of our fast-paced lifestyle, nowadays degenerative changes occur early in our life. Self-massage with lukewarm mustard oil (for winters), ghee or coconut oil (for summers) and sesame oil (for other seasons) for 10 – 15 minutes daily before shower or before bedtime will help to balance Vata thereby preventing early aging. It will improve bone & muscle strength, prevent musculoskeletal problems, reduce dryness and improve skin health too. Also, the need for chemical-based lotions will decrease as oils penetrate in the deeper layer of skin, keeping it hydrated. If you do not like the smell of the oils, you may add few drops of Aroma oil (Rose essential oil or lavender oil or lemongrass oil) to the base oil and apply it to your body.
3. Follow a regular routine – Many of us have deviated from our regular routine due to a busy lifestyle. Although we know it is not good for health, we find excuses for not having a regular routine. Now that we have slowed down, it is good to be back in track with the rules of nature. Wake up early, eat meals on time and go to bed on time. Once we resume normal life after the lockdown period, you may continue to do this.
4. Home garden – Indoor plants are easy to grow and render us with positive health benefits. Greenery represents health – some plants purify the air, some add to our meals, all plants keep us occupied as we will feel happy nurturing them. Tomatoes, chilies, onion, okra, basil, mustard, mint, coriander, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, spinach are good options to start growing in our living space where there is little sunlight. There is no need for any investment, we just need a container big enough, say old utensils, storage containers or bottles to grow them and some water & sunlight.
5. Quit bad habits – It’s time to quit cigarettes, alcohol, refined sugar and caffeinated drinks. For so long you have been addicted to these thinking they help you overcome stress. Addictions only lead to deterioration of health over the period. It is time to quit them. Replace caffeinated drinks with herbal infusions, refined sugar with honey or natural sugar, etc.
6. Join a health course online to keep you fit. Knowledge is wisdom. It is never late to learn new things. Maybe you have been too busy for a while that you did not focus on anything else except your job. It is time that you show interest in learning new things, especially related to preventive health like Ayurveda for a total transformation to help yourself, your family & friends to stay healthy.
This article is written by Vaidya Lakshmi L. She is senior Consultant Physician & Head of Panchakarma Department in Chakrapani Ayurveda Clinic & Research Center.