You always know winter’s here when people start getting sick! In fact my son and his family are wading their way through a stomach flu while my daughter and her family are immersed in a heavy cold. Ahh the glories of winter when all the germs seem to take hold, defeating our immune systems and crippling whole families. What to do apart from the prop-ourselves-up cold and flu tablets that some swear by? As they say prevention is better than a cure, and it’s a lot less trouble too.
Often our sickness is caused by being in the presence of someone who is sick and we breathe in their germs, or touch something they have touched and ingest in that way. If only we could just keep well by keeping away from sick people! Unfortunately this is not always possible is it, especially if they are your family or work mates. However at least you can always make sure you wash your hands before cooking and eating, don’t share food, utensils, cups and plates etc. In fact sick people should keep what they eat and drink out of separate and if possible leave a well person to do the cooking.
Two very effective yoga practices to prevent germs entering through the nostrils are neti and nasya. Neti is washing out the nasal passages with a warm saline solution while nasya is simply coating them with oil, traditionally sesame oil, to prevent the germs from taking hold. To coat the nostrils simply use a cotton bud and soak it in a light vegetable oil and gently coat the inner nostrils. This is very effective when you are traveling on public transport where there are always plenty of germs afoot.
Please find out how to do neti here
Another effective yoga practice to keep the lungs healthy is simply deep breathing of fresh clean air, and one of the best places to go get this air is down near the ocean. How lucky are we Gold Coasters! When we breathe in deeply we are strengthening our lungs and helping them to become more resistant to infections.
Salt is particularly good in repelling infection. In fact, salt caves which infuse salt into the air for people to sit amongst and breathe are springing up over the world. This salt therapy evolved from way back in the early 1800’s when it was noted that the workers of salt mines in Eastern Europe seemed to have remarkably good health and rarely had any respiratory problems. From this observation a natural salt therapy called halotherapy gradually gained popularity amongst some health practitioners.
So off to the beach in your spare time and breathe deeply, keep warm and ward off the winter flu! And if you are going to be amongst sick people, do nasya and when you get home wash away the germs with neti.
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training