We've all got it on our minds, COVID-19, this new virus that is not stopping its spread. So let us just presume that it's here to stay, that we have a new bug to deal with. Maybe it will be seasonal like the flu, maybe not. Humanity will eventually come up with an answer. We're actually pretty good as a species at accomplishing anything we truly put our minds to. But what do we do in the meantime? Do we become paralyzed by fear, hide away from the world, and just watch Netflix all day? No thank you.
Yoga Sutra 2.33: Vitarkabadhane pratipaksha bhavanam.
“When disturbed by disturbing thoughts, think of the opposite.”
How perfect that this has been the sutra we're focusing on this month at the yoga studio. These ancient texts written at least 1700 years ago were addressing the same problems then as we have today. Our human minds can easily get caught in an endless spiral of negative thought patterns. So what do we do? We cultivate the opposite. We first clear our minds by breathing deeply, going for a mindful walk, a run, a meditation practice, a yoga class, a workout, a massage, lying down with your feet up the wall, a bicycle ride, letting out your aggression on a punching bag, whatever it is that works for you. Use the tools you know that work. Keep developing and refining them. Put away the technology and break this whirlpool of thought pattern. Get into you, get into nature, get out of fear, find neutral.
Oh look, the sun is shining! New leaves are pushing forth on the trees. The irises are starting to flower. The azaleas are showing their colors. New baby ducks are swimming on the water. A delicious breeze is blowing and the air is filled with the smell of citrus blossoms. It's spring. The natural world around us here in the South is awakening. Soak it up.
Now from here, from neutral, you have choice. These choices lead to action. Let us develop the opposite together. A beautiful thought arose in my mind yesterday. What if we use this virus as impetus, as the driving force to become the best versions of ourselves? Our immune systems have not yet had a chance to develop a natural immunity to this new pathogen. So let us help ourselves, our families and those around us to bolster our immune systems to the best of our abilities. If you have someone that depends on you, that needs you to be healthy, that needs you to support them, then it is of the utmost importance. It's time to do some spring cleaning!
On the paths of yoga we observe what is called the yamas and the niyamas, restraints and observances. In this time of lent and of coronavirus it is a perfect time for us all to do quite a bit of both. Take some time and contemplate what it is that you can start removing from your daily life to increase your own vitality. Where do you need to restrain? Perhaps it is time to finally restrain yourself from junk foods and beverages, from smoking, from alcohol, from too much caffeine, or from overusing technology and taking in too much information. Take some time and contemplate what it is that you can start committing to in order to increase your own vitality. Make a plan to commit to a daily meditation or stillness practice, to a daily bicycle ride, to a good walk or a daily yoga practice, to only intaking healthy wholesome foods, to drinking plenty of pure clean water, to doing the things you know that would help you become the best version of you.
Use this energy that surrounds us right now and refuse to allow fear to paralyze you. Instead, choose the opposite. Yoke this energy, harness it from the beauty of spring, and from the pressure of this current need to plan and be vigilant. Then an amazing thing will happen, you will flourish because of it.
Tools to Increase Vitality:
1. Triphala: Say What? If I have not yet recommended triphala to you as of yet. I am now! It is Ayurveda's number 1 supplement recommendation. It has an amazing effect to help the body gently assimilate and eliminate food, strengthen the immune system, and helps detoxify the body.
2. Echinacea Tea: Studies have proven echinacea helps bolster the immune system and decrease the amount of recovery time in those with common cold.
3. Reduce your Stress. Use healthy ways such as yoga, walking, massage, & meditation to lower your stress and anxiety. Studies have show immune system improvement as stress levels decrease.
4. Create healthy Sleep patterns. Give yourself time to unwind before bedtime. Do a 5 minute guided breathing meditation, dim the lights, turn off the tv or computer and drink some warm water or calming tea.
5. Wash Your Hands! I was shocked to witness someone yesterday leaving the bathroom without regard to the soap and water. Let's all do our part and retrain our fellow brothers and sisters in good hygiene and get that water hot!
5. Play Hooky! If there is ever a time to call in sick, now is it! Do not come in for a massage, do not go to your favorite restaurant, do not pass go, do collect $200. I will honor the same. If you need to reschedule, let me know.