Though we all love the inspiration that comes with working in a group during retreats, there are many wonderful practices you can do on your own to boost immunity—techniques that are simple, safe, and free. Here are a few techniques recommended by Larissa Hall Carlson, Dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda.
Try gargling with warm salt water twice a day. Gargling cleans out bacteria and germs that linger in the nasal passages and throat for 24 to 48 hours before getting into the bloodstream and weakening immunity. Using a neti pot is also a nice option for clearing the sinuses; use it each morning, followed by a few drops of nasya oil.
Mindful eating is so important for healthy digestion and strong immunity. To receive the nourishment in your food, you need to chew thoroughly. Slow down and enjoy each meal in a peaceful environment. I recommend at least one relaxing—and if possible, silent—meal a day, and no eating within two hours of bedtime to ensure proper digestion and a good night’s sleep.
Sip hot water throughout the day. This soothes, hydrates, decongests, and helps cleanse the body. I carry a thermos of hot water with me everywhere and regularly take sips. In general, I suggest warm over cold beverages. Anything iced is difficult to digest when immune function is low.
Daily meditation reduces stress, settles the nerves, and calms the mind. Silence miraculously boosts our buffer against germs. Whether you prefer sitting or walking meditation, opt for at least 10 minutes per day. Practicing yoga nidra or Savasana for 20 minutes a day, two to three times a week, will further soothe the nervous and endocrine systems.
Each night before getting into bed, try jotting down things for which you are grateful. Perhaps you’re grateful for your yoga practice or peaceful moments in nature. Whatever it is, writing it down each night helps you to focus on the positive, and also quiets the mind and reduces stress—easing you into a good night’s sleep, which is essential for boosting immunity.
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