Immunity Tips for Well-Being

Notes from Our Last Kindred Herbal Workshop on:

Immunity

All human beings have the inner potential and skill to be completely healthy, but in today’s world, because of the social and economic pressures, human beings have forgotten that all things happen deep within before they appear on the physical and mental levels. Swami Rama, Holistic Health

What is Immunity?

Immunity is our body’s natural response to maintain a level of homeostasis in the face of an ever-increasing number of outside invaders. Increasing environmental, industrial, social, pharmaceutical, emotional, and dietary stressors all have an effect on our immune system.  

What can we do to help ourselves?

Yoga: Medicine From the Inside

  • A yoga practice helps us to learn to pay attention to our actions, emotions, and feelings and to listen to the call of the body before an illness manifests.
  • Inner contentment and mental satisfaction are the real keys to health.

Ayurveda – literally, “knowledge of life”

  • A therapy that is tailored to fit an individual’s unique constitution.
    • The balance of the doshas
    • Eating a balancing diet for your unique constitution

To Improve Immunity:

  • Laugh and smile a lot
  • Take time to relax
  • Meditate regularly
  • Spend time in nature
  • Exercise your creativity
  • Offer your gifts to others
  • Follow your heart’s passion
  • Engage in physical activity
  • Reduce toxins
  • Daily activities that are 100% healing–avoiding immune depressing chemicals and foods.
  • Keep the channels of circulation open.
  • Strong heart, balanced emotions/emotional stability, good relationships

Ayurvedic Herbs-Adaptogens/Immunomodulators

An adaptogen is an herb that allows the body to “adapt” to stressful situations by increasing the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety, and fatigue. These herbs balance the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems and maintain optimal homeostasis. Adaptogens have also been called “tonics,” “rasayanas,” or “restoratives.” Not all antioxidant substances are considered to be adaptogens, though adaptogens do contain a fair amount of antioxidants. One of these adaptogens is Chyawanprash.

We sampled the Ayurvedic herbal jam Chyawanprash (jam) and discussed several other herbs that help our body balance and strengthen the immune system.

Western Herbs

Amy discussed:

  • Herbal modulators and preventatives to help strengthen the immune system and prevent infections
  • Immune stimulants
  • Antimicrobials to kill germs
  • Lymph movers to cleanse the body of toxins
  • Diaphoretics to induce sweating to reduce fever and eliminate toxins

We sampled Amy’s homemade elderberry syrup. So yummy!

This is for educational purposes only. These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure disease. Please consult a health care provider before use, especially if you are pregnant or nursing.

Find the perfect way to strengthen your own unique body-mind with:

Herbs: Contact Amy nicholsonamyj@yahoo.com for:

  • Individualized herbal formulas
  • Elderberry kits ($10) or homemade syrup ($20)
  • Herbal counseling

 

Ayurvedic Nutrition and Lifestyle Consultations: Justina justina.namaste@gmail.com

  • Ayurvedic herbal formulas
  • Nutrition counseling

 

Kindred Herbal Workshops are held monthly at Trailhead. Our next workshop is February 16, 1-3 pm: Self-Love and Nourishing the Heart

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You Are a Blessing

I do not know who to credit this image but it is fabulous!

It was my birthday recently but I am determined to celebrate every day of this month-not by boozing-up or eating cake every day but by taking care of myself and celebrating my life.

In the past, I’ve had little enthusiasm for my birthday. But, someone gave me some great advice last year that shook me–it changed my way of thinking and being.

She asked me “What are you doing to celebrate your birthday?” I gave my usual response…oh nothing really I don’t like to celebrate it very much.” (The fact was for some reason I always felt melancholy on my birthday.) She said to me “What happened to you? When did you stop celebrating your life?” That question hit me like a blow to the heart. Did I not appreciate my life…was I just floating by? As painful as it was, I knew the answer…

My husband committed suicide on Ash Wednesday in 2003. He did not seem depressed to me…he wasn’t lying around in bed moaning about the darkness and hopelessness of life. He was going to work and getting things done. I was oblivious to what was going on inside him. At that time, family doctors were giving out samples of “mood managing” pills with a “let’s see how this one works” approach. I don’t think they realized the damage they were doing in the constant stops and starts. I am sure this contributed to his instability. I didn’t even know he was taking anything until after he died.

I am sure he felt out of control. He did not ask me for help. He did not confide in me the depths of this overwhelm. Sure, he complained to me about this or that but never said he was in danger of committing this act. We had fun times, went on dates, he still did so much for me. The day before he died we took the little ones to see Barney Live (creepy dinosaur!) When we got home he ran me a bath and poured me a glass of wine. He took care of me. The next day we met at the Cathedral for the noon Ash Wednesday service. I took my daughter to art class, he went home and killed himself. Who knows why people do what they do.

It is so important to me now to help people find the tools they need to nourish their mind and heart. My grief (and my guru) led me to the study of Yoga and Ayurveda. I have learned so many things about myself and what I need to reduce my own pain and suffering. I do still suffer though…obviously. I have dark moments, dark days where I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Some days it is harder to find light than others. This is the stuff of life. But despite the details, despite my depression, despite my anxiety, despite my PTSD from finding my husband’s body in the garage, despite my overwhelm there is a bottom line and here it is: It is a blessing to be a human being and to be alive...I am a Blessing! The details of your life may not be ideal. You may be suffering in health, finances, creativity, depression, sobriety, relationship…any number of things. But, your heart knows the truth of this bottom line. Say it to yourself over and over. Let it inspire you to keep going. Ask your Divine for help or direction if you need to but stay with the bottom line. There is a reason you are here. You are a blessing. Believe that.

Healing is Holistic

What is the number one therapy? Change your life. Oh, but how do we do that? If we have a goal of reducing stress, losing weight, reducing our depression or anxiety, we typically go through a process of mentally trying to figure it out, or we kick in our willpower and forge our way ahead. Unfortunately, using these methods, we run out of steam very quickly and fall back into old habits.

The sages of the East have long known that we are multifaceted beings. Specifically, in yoga philosophy, it is known that we have three bodies ( the gross body, the subtle body, and the causal body) and five layers or sheaths (the food sheath, the energy sheath, the mental/emotional sheath, the intelligence/discrimination sheath, and the bliss sheath). Sometimes, you will see the layers represented visually as a spiral. These sheaths intertwine and interconnect. To achieve our goals of health and well-being, we have to take care of each of these layers.

When I work with clients, I  assess, and bring attention to, all of the layers of their being to promote the desired result. For example, it is documented and scientifically validated that if one does not breathe deeply and diaphragmatically, there is a greater occurrence of anxiety. So sometimes, to treat anxiety, I need to teach clients how to breathe as well as modify their nutrition and provide tools to calm the nervous system.

Also, we are all different in our needs, and one method that works for one may not work for another. The treatment modalities of yoga therapy and Ayurveda are centered on the individual, not on the particular imbalance. This is why it is best to find a guide for your health and not simply grasp at answers that you find on social media or the Internet. Self-care means taking care of each layer of ourselves, constantly assessing how we can nourish ourselves.

The physical body, the outer-most layer, requires nutrition and lifestyle modifications that are specific to one’s physiology. The energetic layer requires breathwork training to keep the nervous system calm and less prone to episodes of fight or flight. The mental/emotional layer requires meditation, prayer, and study to understand the root of one’s state. Unfortunately, we are not taught how to manage our mental and emotional life. There is no class called “Acceptance 101” or “Managing Life 101.” We do try to manage the ebbs and flows, the highs and lows on our own, usually by using rationalizations or intellectual analysis, unfortunately, a lot of times in isolation. Finding healthy nourishment for the mind (mantra, affirmations, inspiration, loving community in which to share) is essential. Practices in developing one’s intuition help build internal trust and resilience, and we find a healthy level of discrimination from which to operate. Finally, connection to the spiritual, one’s concept of the Divine, helps to move through one’s daily struggles in a posture of surrender. It is very stressful to believe that we are alone in this world, solely responsible for ourselves, our happiness, and our well-being.

Once we understand our duty to all of the layers of our being, accepting the ebbs and flows with equilibrium and grace (a practice for sure!), then we become more compassionate with ourselves and the world.

Fortunately, the sciences of yoga and Ayurveda supply the tools we need on our journey of self-discovery. The purpose of these philosophies is to establish a way of living that removes pain and suffering so we can live in a state of joy.

If you are interested in working with me to find your joy and balance…shoot me an email at justina.namaste@gmail.com, and we’ll work together to find the best fit.

Thank you for your interest in my work and my blog.

Namaste.