All material and information presented by Blueberry Bunch is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made about products, supplements, or treatments have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The information on blueberrybunch.com is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner before making changes to your diet, exercise routine, or lifestyle.
This past month has been incredibly challenging. Our survival mode has kicked-in and there is a rise in global consciousness. We are all doing our best to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by taking care of ourselves, family, friends, and our communities.
As an Ayurvedic healer, many of my clients reached out asking for tips on improving their immune system during this time of crises. Before I start talking about Ayurveda is important to remind that the CDC and the WHO have a lot of online resources and are the authorities on the prevention and safety measures for the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease). Be informed so you keep unnecessary fear and anxiety away.
Ayurveda is an ancient healing system that focuses on the prevention of diseases. Fundamentally Ayurveda believes that our bodies are free of “dis-ease” when we are in harmony and aligned with nature. On the other hand, when we stress our bodies and don’t pay attention to the environment around us, we begin creating disharmony and eventually “dis-ease”.
Below are a few “tips” that I want to share on supporting your immune system for overall health and well-being.
Food as Medicine
The health of your gut is important for your overall health and immunity. During Kapha season (late winter/spring) eat warm, cooked, light and easy to digest foods to support overall digestion. Avoid fried, heavy, dairy and mucus producing foods (ex:bananas, milk, cheese). Avoid refined sugar and carbs! Cook with spices such as ginger, mustard seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, garlic and clove.
Drink warm liquids avoiding cold beverages and ice as it creates constriction, stagnation and congestion. Ginger tea, CCF tea, Turmeric-ginger tea, Tulsi tea and sipping on plain warm water are wonderful choices to keep your body hydrated and to support digestion.
Our breath is vital! It is our first action when we are born and our last action before we leave this world. Pranayama is one of my favorite practices as it eases the mind, helps balance your body’s energetic channels, and strengthens your lungs.
Get enough sleep and rest. When we sleep 7-8 hours per night, our bodies have the opportunity to repair, regenerate and digest not only food, but also emotions and the overload of information from our day. Your metabolism is more prominent at this time and a complete night of sleep is essential for good health and strong Ojas (vitality). Avoid late nights by going to bed around 10pm.
Regular physical activity early in the morning increases stamina and stimulates the immune system while promoting circulation and burning accumulated fat. Choose grounding and outdoor exercises that are enjoyable. Avoid over exerting and depleting exercises.
Meditation & Positivity
Cultivate happy thoughts! In difficult times a clear, steady and positive mind is essential to maintain a healthy immunity system. Meditation is a wonderful practice to lower anxiety levels and bring you a sense of calm. If you are new to meditation, there are many APPs that can guide you on starting a daily practice. Start with a 5-10min practice each day slowly increasing to 15-30min. Some of my favorite apps are Calm and Insighttimer.
Having a self-care routine is essential in creating a harmonious rhythm between your body-mind and the nature around you. If you don’t have a daily routine yet refer to this article on Dinacharya and consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner that can guide you on creating a unique routine just for you.
Ayurveda has many wonderful herbs and ancient formulas to strengthen your immune system. Because Ayurveda believes in bio-individuality and each person’s unique constitution, is extremely important to consult your practitioner if you are interested in taking ayurvedic herbs. Is also important to consider that Ayurveda uses ancient vedic formulation, or a combination of herbs with a carrier instead of a single herbs as listed below. The list below is to get your curious about this wonderful science.
Ginger – clears phlegm, expectorant, diaphoretic. Using ginger in teas or everyday cooking is very helpful in aiding a sluggish digestion and clearing ama (toxins) from your digestive system.
Turmeric – antiseptic, antibacterial, antioxidant, aids digestion, cough. Turmeric is great for cooking, seasoning and should be consumed in small doses.
Clove – cold, congestions, cough, increases agni and improves digestion, toothache and gum infections. Clove is used in traditional ayurvedic preparations such as Sitopaladi and Talisadi. Is also a great addition to your morning oatmeal and cooked spiced fruits because of its distinct flavor.
Guduchi – anti-inflammatory, fever reducer, immune system support, infections. In low grade fevers guduchi is given with mahasudarshan and a pinch of pippali (long pepper).
Tulsi – antipyretic, decongestant, antibacterial, expectorant. A tea of tulsi with cinnamon, cardamom and lemon grass can be used in the first signs of cold.
Pippali – kapha reducer, low agni and sluggish digestion, immunity, mucus, rejuvenative for the lungs. A tea of ginger with a pinch of pippali can be given for weak lungs.
Luciana AWC, CHC, RYT, AYT
Resources:Sahasrayogam – Dr.G. Prabhakara Rao; Bhavaprakasa Vol.1 – Prof. K.S. Srikantha Murthy ; Ayurvedic Medicine – Sebastian Pole; M.A,Sc.; Texbook of Ayurveda, General Principals of Management and Treatment Vol. 3 – Vasant Lad,
All material and information presented by Blueberry Bunch by Luciana Ferraz is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made about products, supplements, or treatments have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The information on bluberrybunch.com is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner before making changes to your diet, exercise routine, or lifestyle.
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Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort in Kerala, India
25 Feb – 5 Mar (with options to stay longer)
Let’s embark on an unforgettable journey to South India, the healing cradle of the world. Through the medicinal and rejuvenating therapies of Ayurveda, experienced at its very source, we’ll renew our energies and awaken spiritual, mental and physical transformation within our bodies.
In our busy world, finding balance can often feel like a crazy, uncoordinated dance. We often over-caffeinate and over-stimulate, staying close to screens and allowing our interactions and workloads to overwhelm and stress us. We also turn to food as comfort instead of medicine, tending to look away from our habits and questioning whether our lifestyles truly suit us. But there is another way, a better way, one that helps bring awareness to our imbalances, empowers us to make changes to our bodies and bring health rituals to our daily lives—and that’s Ayurveda, the world’s oldest intact healing science.
Practiced in India for over 5,000 years, Ayurveda (which translates to “science of life” in Sanskrit) has been gaining more attention in the western world. Although it’s an ancient science, Ayurveda offers many practical applications for our lives today. By gaining a few insights into its basic principles, you can set the foundation for how to apply Ayurveda to your own life.
Understanding your body type in terms of Ayurvedic doshas
According to Ayurveda, you have a unique constitution, established when you were conceived, that represents your natural mental, emotional and physical state. Your constitution is made up of a ratio of the three doshas (energetic forces of nature)—Vata, Pitta and Kapha—and you’re likely to have one or two doshas that are predominant.
While your constitution will remain unaltered during your lifetime, your constitution does respond to changes in your environment. I’ll explain the significance of this in the next section, but first I’ll give you some detail on each dosha so you identify a few unique characteristics.
Composed primarily of these natural elements: air and ether
Governs these functions in the body: movement of all biological activity, including elimination and breathing.
Signs of a balanced Vata individual: creative, artistic, sharp, quick thinking and loving
Composed primarily of these natural elements: fire and water
Governs these functions in the body: digestion, metabolic functions and body temperature
Signs of a balanced Pitta individual: energized, sharp and quick minded, goal-oriented, productive and enthusiastic
Composed primarily of these natural elements: water and earth
Governs these functions in the body: provides the body its structure, form, nutrition and groundedness.
Signs of a balanced Kapha individual: calm, dependable, loving and affectionate
Knowing your primary dosha and how it can become imbalanced
Knowing your constitution (which one or two doshas are primary for you) is key. It will help you know what imbalances you’re susceptible to, issues those imbalances can cause, and how to bring harmony and healing to your body.
While you can experience an imbalance in any of your doshas, you’re likely to be most affected by an imbalance in your primary dosha. Each dosha is associated with certain health issues, which can include disruptions to your sleep, energy levels and the function of many systems (respiratory, reproductive, digestive, muscular, neurological, etc.).
So, what factors can aggravate your dosha and create disease? There are many, including the food you eat, what you drink, your emotional state, relationships, exercise routine, workplace, environment, how you sleep, the climate/weather, sounds and stress. Again, what affects you is very personal and related to your constitution.
Restoring balance to your constitution
Ayurveda offers you many holistic ways to get your individual equilibrium back, heal your body and prevent disease. Empowering you with lifestyle changes and rituals that are specific to your constitution, Ayurveda takes the preventative approach of Eastern medicine, rather than the curative approach of Western medicine, to keep you well.
When you or your Ayurvedic counselor recognize an imbalance in your primary dosha, these are a few ways you might address it.
How to balance Vata:
Eat a Vata-balancing diet. This may include eating warm, lubricating, grounding foods that are rich in healthy fats and protein as well as sweet, sour and salty tastes—while avoiding fried, cold, raw and low-fat foods.
Take time for self-care and allow plenty of time in between activities.
Practice Pilates, yoga and meditation, and take long walks.
Perform Abyangha, a self-massage with oils soothing for Vata, such as sesame oil.
Use a diffuser with calming essential oils, such as clary sage, vanilla and clove.
How to balance Pitta:
Eat a Pitta-balancing diet. This may include eating cool, astringent, sweet and bitter foods, including lighter proteins, dark greens, peppermint tea and lime—while avoiding red meat, caffeine, excessive spices and foods that are deep fried or processed.
Make time to relax and play, but limit competitive activities that could aggravate you.
Practice yoga, swimming, biking or fast walks while avoiding the warmest times of the day.
Play soothing music.
Use a diffuser with calming essential oils, such as lavender, rose and lime.
How to balance Kapha:
Eat a Kapha-balancing diet. This may include eating fresh cooked vegetables; lighter proteins; light grains like quinoa, millet and buckwheat; and especially astringent, pungent and bitter foods—while avoiding high-fat foods, dairy, gluten, red meat, sugar, salt and foods that are fried, processed or sour.
Practice self-acceptance and positive body image.
Practice cardiovascular activities, such as biking, running, martial arts or any other vigorous type of exercise.
Use a diffuser with uplifting essential oils, such as tulsi, cinnamon and frankincense.
More Ayurveda resources and support
Want to discover dietary recommendations and other ways to integrate Ayurveda into your life? I’ll be posting more about Ayurvedic living in the future. I also welcome you to connect with me personally to learn more about your unique constitution, and how to support yourself with this ancient science of life.
Until next time, live well!
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