AYURVEDA FOR RESPIRATORY HEALTH DURING COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has got the whole world in a state of panic. The rapid spread of the disease put a pause on life and living as we were used to. This has caused great stress and anxiety to all individuals.
Understanding the Coronavirus and its spread
The coronavirus attacks the respiratory system. It enters the body predominantly through the mouth and nose. The habit of frequently touching our faces can also bring the virus close to these organs, allowing it to infect the person. For this reason, it is absolutely essential to wear a face mask to reduce the ability of the virus to enter into our systems. In addition to this guideline which is being followed worldwide in an effort to reduce the spread, Ayurveda also provides a few practices which can help protect the respiratory system. By following these practices, it is possible to lessen the chances of infection, and purge the respiratory tract of any microbes which can cause disease.
There are several breathing techniques or pranayamas which are practiced to target various issues. Below are two such breathing methods which can be performed daily to keep the respiratory system functioning smoothly.
- Take some black cumin seeds in a small cotton cloth and wrap it into a little bolus by molding it in your palms to lightly break the seeds and allow the essence to be released. Next, make the pranava mudra with your hand. This is done by folding the middle finger to touch your palm. With the thumb and ring finger next to each nostril, open and close the nostrils alternatively, breathing in and out through either nostril at a time. The index finger must be placed between the eyebrows on the forehead to stimulate the crown. Then the anulom vilom pranayama is performed. This is done by placing the bolus in the right nostril, deeply inhaling, and exhaling through the left nostril. This is then repeated with the other nostril. Continue to do this for 5 minutes. The powerful cumin seeds work to clear the nostrils and the respiratory passageway, thereby reducing the possibility of any infection due to the coronavirus.
- Once this pranayama is completed, perform bhastrika pranayama. This type of breathing, also known as bellow’s breath, the name refers to a deep breathing method, or hyperventilation. Perform this by taking deep inhalation, holding the air inside and then exhaling from the abdomen. Inhalation is natural to the body, so effort is required predominantly while exhaling. Repeat this and gradually increase speed. Practice this every day for good respiratory health. It is common knowledge that the body requires oxygen for optimum functioning. By doing bhastrika, the body absorbs more oxygen, enabling detoxification. It also stimulates mucus in the esophagus which helps prevent any microbes from entering the body.
Apart from these types of pranayama, there is also another method to promote respiratory health. This is done with potent ayurvedic herbs, and can be done in two forms. It is called herbal smoking or herbal steaming.
- For herbal smoking, use herbs like ginseng, ‘Vayambu’ and ‘veppu’ or neem. The dried form of these herbs is added to burning embers of coal or coconut husk and the smoke is allowed to permeate the entire household. This is extremely potent and can clear the nasal path and promote prevention of any respiratory disease.
- For herbal steaming, take 50g of fresh leaves of Pinus sylvestris, which is commonly available and boil it in 5 liters of water. Allow this to steep and boil for a few hours and let the steam percolate all living spaces. This humidifies the environment, making it easy to breath and provides the same protection as herbal smoking.
By following the above methods, it is possible to protect yourself from the coronavirus, purely by herbal, natural, ayurvedic means. These have all been practiced for centuries and have been proved to be