Mar 5, 2020

How to Build Immunity


The patriarchy is alive and well. I was so devastated to see Warren have to drop out of the race for the democratic nomination and be left with two very old, white men. I just told my husband that the patriarchy is making me sick...I have a little scratch in my throat today. Although I was joking and being a little dramatic (Luisa has been sick all week so it was just a matter of time I guess) I think there is immense truth to the fact that the systems that are designed to oppress cause enormous stress for those who are the recipients of that oppression. And stress causes illness. Ok. Rant over for now. 

On another note, COVID-19 virus is wreaking havoc in many communities and people seem to be panicking a bit. Stores are running low on toilet paper as people fear the possibility of quarantine. Seriously. 

Of course take the necessary precautions, but try not to go to a place of overwhelm and fear. The stress alone will weaken our immune systems. 

In addition to all of the precautions that are suggested by the CDC let’s also talk about building our immunity. 

In Ayurveda, ojas is also known as the gel of our immune system. When we have strong ojas our body functions with ease. Ojas brings excellent digestion and superior tissue formation. 

There are a few things that we can each do to build our own ojas. Ojas is directly related to our digestion so we’ll start there.

Here are some basic tips to improve your digestion from the wisdom of Ayurveda:

  1. Choose foods that your body digests easily. This might take some research and experimentation on your part because it is not always the same for every person and can change over time (seasons of the year, seasons of life, etc). Warm, soft, cooked foods are easier to digest than raw or cold/frozen foods so if you love salads let the greens marinate a little longer and throw some cooked veggies on top.
  2. Eat your largest, most nutrient rich meal around noon when your digestive fire (agni) is burning the hottest. This is when your body produces the most bile and is better equipped to digest the heavier foods.
  3. Have a consistent schedule for your meals and space them out at least 3-4 hours to give your body the time to digest the food before you add more to the process. Snack only when you are hungry and if that is often then choose more protein and fat to add to your largest meal (lunch). This might take some time to grasp if you are used to restrictive eating and then find yourself binging in the afternoon. It’s all about intuitive eating, which is very counter-culture and could take some time to build.
  4. Eat supper early, at least 4 hours before you go to bed, and choose lighter options like soups, stews or marinated salads for your later meal. Again, easy to digest foods. This will allow your body to do its job to cleanse overnight. If your dinner is too heavy or too late the body is kept occupied digesting the food instead of rebuilding itself. 

The inability to digest our food leaves us with what is known as ama. This creates dis-ease. In ALL of the layers of the body. 

Next step to building immunity is SLEEP. We live in a culture that is chronically sleep deprived. We are overworked, overstimulated, overscheduled. And we consistently borrow time. This drastically depletes our immune system. 

And it’s not just getting enough sleep, it’s getting restful sleep. Deep sleep. 

Here are some tips to get better sleep:

  1. Eat dinner earlier and choose food that is easy to digest. Soup is the best option.
  2. Go for a gentle stroll after dinner. Watch the sky change. Bask in the beauty of nature as it turns to dark.
  3. Hit the pillow no later than 10pm when the energy shifts into pitta time of day (when agni is the strongest). When we go to bed later than 10pm we are more susceptible to that second wind and have a much harder time getting to sleep. 
  4. Turn off the screens at least 2 hours before you want to be asleep. 
  5. Listen to the fatigue messages that your body gives you instead of trying to power through another episode on Netflix or another chapter in your current book. 
  6. Find ways to bring ritual to your bedtime routine. Self-massage, aromatherapy, meditation, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, a warm bath, a cup of tea. Whatever invites you to wind down. 

Here’s to strong ojas. 

Nourish, Digest, Rest, Repeat. 

Want a little help bringing these immunity buidling habits into your day to day? Apply to be a part of the evolutionary group Align & Awaken. We make small, incremental shifts overtime that amount to massive changes in how we are able to show up. And we do it together. 


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