How to Boost Your Immunity
Here are my top tips for staying well in mind and body, and boosting your immunity.
1. Keep warm, especially the middle of your back; warm food and drink little and often
2. Reduce toxins - caffeine, alcohol etc
3. Restrict your exposure to the news
4. Daily exercise - take a walk, a jog, or a yoga flow with a focus on spinal strength, bone density and postural awareness.
5. Eat immune boosting foods (onions, garlic, orange and red stuff, broccoli has lots of Vit C)
6. Massage - learn some simple self massage routines
7. Include time for stillness and contemplation in your day
8. Connect with your friends and family
9. Take social distancing seriously
10. Soften and breathe
A positive mindset can go a long way to boosting your immunity. The way we choose to respond to a situation dictates how well we manage in the face of unfamiliarity. We are in a period of unprecedented change; we can choose to embrace it, or fill our thoughts with scary stats and COVID-19 news programmes. Make conscious choices.
Check in with your breath when you wake up and from time to time throughout the day. Your breath is a window into the state of your nervous system. Too fast, shallow, feeling your heart beating when you're sitting still - these are all signs that you are stuck in your active sympathetic nervous system, which negatively impacts your immunity. Try this 5 minute reset to feel calmer.
5 Minute Reset
Sit nice and comfortably
Move your head up and down and then settle in the middle
Gently close your eyes
Open your sense of hearing wide
Identify each sound you can hear, one by one
Take your time...
After a while, bring your attention to your breath
Breathing in and out of your nostrils
Notice how the air is cool as you breathe in
and warmer as you breathe out.
Imagine the journey of your breath into, around and out of your body...
Notice how the breath moves your body
expanding and contracting
Listen to your breath
Smile, and move on with your day :)
Let's learn something new...
What are you choosing to do with your time? Whether it's planting some seeds or creating a vegetable garden, learning a language or new skill, baking bread or expanding your home-cooking skills, or getting into a healthy exercise routine, let's come out of this period with something to show for it.
For me, this is a period of togetherness with my family, where we can use our creativity to explore new ways of working and adopt a healthier routine. Never before have so many generations jumped online to connect with each other and that is simply wonderful. We are now talking, sharing, doing yoga, playing games and watching films together on WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom, House Party and Netflix. I sense the generation gap has moved smaller. We are caring for neighbours in our community and clapping our gratitude to the NHS. It is heartwarming and a great boost to our immune systems.
Just take a moment to free write about all the wonderful opportunities and outcomes of this lockdown will bring. Free writing is a way of journalling that lets your pen do the writing, without planning what you're going to write. It's interesting to see what thoughts come out of your mind and in what order. Notice if your thoughts are inclined towards catastrophising or seeing the positives.
Create a gorgeous yoga space and enjoy a yoga practice. Include some cat-cows for spinal mobility, cobra to stimulate your thymus (your body's first response to cold or flu), downward dog to increase circulation and for grounding, lunges for your quads (the powerhouse for germ-busting white blood cells), some big exhales for your lungs - go from standing to forward fold for these - chair pose or a handstand in the kitchen for bone density and to clear congestion (heating poses are great for this) and 10-20 breaths in tree pose for inward withdrawal of the senses. You can incorporate all of these into a flowing sun salutation.
After a good flow, take some long restorative yin poses - lie on your back, maybe roll up a towel and place it under your spine, then open the arms wide. This is great for opening the lung meridian, and releasing tension in your shoulders. Other great yin poses are seated forward folds (legs straight or wide. Two thirds of the fold should come from the hips, and a third from the spine), fish pose, shoulder stand or legs up the wall, and supine twists. Hold for 5 mins each, but be careful not to overstretch.
This can lead nicely onto meditation. The colour of Spring is green. Imagine breathing in the colour green, and breathe it all over your body filling it with oxygen. Move from one body part to the next, starting by breathing the colour green into each toe > the lower legs/thighs > the hips/pelvis > the spine/torso > the arms/each finger > the shoulders > the neck > the head, and finally the crown of your head. Imagine the green colour expanding around you. Enjoy some stillness before returning to awareness...stretch, wiggle. Take 3 long breaths to close your practice.
Self massage is really lovely and easy to do. Try this one for size. Sitting up, tilt your head to the right side (ear towards shoulder) and place your right hand gently between your shoulder and your neck. Enjoy an easy stretch, and repeat the other side. Or, if you're sitting at your desk, lean your eyebrows on your thumbs. Start near the nose and work outwards, leaning for a few seconds on each. If you discover you're holding tension in any of these points, pause for a few seconds and notice how the feeling changes, then move on. To finish, smooth your thumbs along your eyebrows, then repeat higher and higher on your forehead, and the same with your fingers along your cheekbones. This is great for headaches and clearing your sinuses.
Spring is here, so let's rise with the natural energy of the season and get creative. Wishing you, your family and your friends well. Take care.
For daily online classes - go to my home page for the full schedule. I can't wait to practice with you!
For Neals Yard Remedies - antiviral, cleansing and wellbeing products, great to gift, go to my shop: http://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/nickydye