Updated: Jan 14
According to Ayurveda, 'the science of life,’ vitality and good immunity is the natural result of living a well-balanced life; mind, body and soul, in alignment with the natural cycles of nature.
During adverse times it is more important than ever to manage stress in order to remain calm, centred and balanced, as good immunity is based on this very principle of balance. There is no surprise that in times such as these, more and more people are turning to the holistic wisdom of Ayurveda as this ancient science balances one’s energy through right thinking, lifestyle, diet, self-care and the use of herbs. Ayurveda is fast becoming recognised across the health and wellness industry as a highly effective holistic practice to stimulate the immune system and boost the body’s natural ability to fight off viruses.
Ayurveda recognises that immunity is directly connected to the health of the gut, and a strong well balanced digestive fire, known as agni, is paramount to good health and a strong immune system. Pitta is the Ayurvedic dosha, bio-energy that is connected to the digestive fire within the body. A well-balanced pitta dosha is therefore key to a healthy digestive fire and a strong immune system.
‘Ayurveda considers that health of the digestive system is at the center of optimum health.’ (Sebastian Pole, 2013)
Too much digestive fire can show up as dehydration, irritability, acidic stomach and inflammation whereas too little digestive fire can show up as an inability to absorb nutrients properly, constipation, diarrhoea and flatulence. When one’s digestive fire is well balanced,
‘…it gives immunity, a sparkle in the eyes and luster to the skin.’ (Sebastian Pole, 2013)
So how does one go about balancing the pitta dosha, optimising the digestive fire and boosting the immune system? Well, thankfully Ayurveda is full of simple yet highly effective ways to easily realign and balance one’s system for optimal health.
1. Drink warm water and lemon
This simple Ayurvedic morning ritual is a great way to stimulate the digestive fire, promote digestion, alkalise the system, remove excess toxin known as ‘ama’ and is high in Vitamin C. Try having a cup first thing upon waking.
2. Oil pulling and tongue scraping
A build-up of toxin in the system can lead to poor digestion and an imbalance in the digestive fire. To remove excess ama, one can use oil pulling and tongue scraping. Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic practise which involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth for approximately 15 minutes before spitting it out. A tongue scraper is an easily found Ayurvedic tool which scrapes the toxin off the back and top of the tongue and is highly beneficial if done every morning approximately 3 times.
Meditation has been widely shown to reduce stress and balance the mind, body and soul. Our thoughts and emotions, as well as the way in which we nurture ourselves all impact the digestive fire within and affect our ability to assimilate not only food, but life! Meditation has been shown to calm and optimise the system on all levels so as to balance gut health and strengthen the immune system.
4. Realign with the rhythms of nature (circadian rhythm)
One of the easiest ways to balance one’s system is to realign with nature’s cycles. Start by waking up with the sun and going to bed before 10pm. Establish a regular and consistent routine throughout the day and make sure to eat at the same times during the course of the day. According to Ayurveda it is best to have your main meal at lunch time.
5. Eat mindfully
Slow down, engage your senses and savour the experience of eating your meal. Bring your full awareness to the moment as this helps to prepare your body to receive the meal. The mind has a powerful way to activate the digestive system in preparation for digestion. Where possible choose a pacifying whole food diet and cook with immune boosting Ayurvedic butter - ghee.
‘Ayurveda recognises, we are not what we eat, but we are what we digest. By making choices that strengthen our digestive ability, we form the foundation for good health and vitality.’ (Dr. Sheila Patel, M.D., 2019)