Don't forget to get your inner flu booster this year to protect not only against the flu but whatever other viruses may be circulation this year. I'm not advocating for or against the flu vaccine. But no matter which external protection you choose, building your system up from the inside is equally vital if not more so.
In Ayurvedic medicine, health is maintained by:
- Removing the factors which create imbalance
- Having the body's waste products eliminated correctly so the channels are open and flowing
- Having a strong digestive fire to properly digest food
- Having the internal systems in balance.
Notice that all of these factors for health involve your internal health.
So what creates a healthy internal environment? Often it comes down to conscious choices and habits. As easy as it might be to take the shot or pill, health really is about what you do on a daily basis and that comes down to diet, good activities and mind control. If that sounds overwhelming, remember to start with small, simple steps. Give yourself the daily anchor of a soup or stew chock full of vegetables and whole foods like grains and beans or meats. The warm meal will not only give you one solid healthy meal but the liquid component will help reduce phlegm which in excess often leads to respiratory illnesses.
For the body and mind, yoga and meditation provide a hearty portion of overall nutrition for the internal organs, nervous system and glandular system. The glandular system especially is vital as the glands are the guardians of your health. In my Kundalini Yoga classes for the fall, when the seasons are changing and there is often windy, cool weather, I often choose a theme around boosting the immune system through a focus on the glandular system.
The other piece of health is to know thyself. As you are all different, taking care of yourself will involve tools that fit your unique needs. For example, last year I had taken a weekend trip to Minneapolis for a yoga event. The event was powerful and uplifting but also released some toxins so I was feeling a little draggy. Because of that, I didn't cook much which meant that what I was eating wasn't the most ideal for my body. After several days I was starting to feel like I might be coming down with a cold, which all of my family had had. I immediately knew I needed to answer my body's SOS call. I made a large pot of ginger tea and drank that for a day. I got serious about reducing Kapha energy which creates phlegm by decreasing wheat, sugar, and dairy and using more heating spices and lifestyle elements. I reduced my activity load so I could rest more. And I took the time to cook several nourishing meals. The result was this within a couple days my symptoms were gone and I was feeling good again.
Through my conscious choices to support internal health, I was still exposed to the colds but I didn't succumb to the illness. Take care of yourself in whatever way you choose, but try not to be overly dependent on external resources to the exclusion of taking care of your internal systems.
©2011, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Pewaukee, WI