Here we are in this difficult place, between coping with the effects of isolation and navigating our way in an unsafe world. This in-between zone is not only a harsh new reality but also a dramatic metaphor for the changes…
In my medical, psychotherapy, and yoga therapy practice, I combine yoga and meditation with what is called Functional or Integrative medicine. Functional (integrative) medicine Functional medicine is a systems-based approach that examines every part of the body, not only the…
The healthier you are, the better your chance to get through the coronavirus pandemic relatively unscathed. The latest research shows that people who are overweight, who have diabetes and other chronic diseases, or who smoke are more at risk of becoming seriously ill with this virus. However, there are things you can do right now to improve your health and reduce your risk.
There are four pillars of health that create a strong foundation for total wellbeing:
- A calm, peaceful mind and the cultivation of self-awareness.
- 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted, deep, restful sleep.
- Plenty of activity and exercise.
- A good diet, and appropriate fasting (especially if you are overweight).
All four pillars support each other. However, the most important is a calm, peaceful mind, which cultivates self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the most important thing you can have at this time. It is even more important than toilet paper.
There are two viruses in the world at present. One is the coronavirus. The other is psychic contagion… fear and panic.
It is because of psychic contagion that the development of self-awareness and a calm, peaceful mind is key to your health and survival. Self-awareness, which improves with deep rest and a healthy lifestyle, is critical. Self-awareness enables you to:
- Stop touching your face while you are potentially exposed to coronavirus.
- Monitor your state of health and tune into your needs.
- Know what to eat and how much exercise you need to improve your health.
- And most importantly, self-awareness cultivates good mental health and prevents unnecessary anxiety, panic, and catastrophizing.
Every time you step outside the boundary of your front door, you are potentially exposed to coronavirus. Self-awareness enables you to move through the world outside of the relative safety of your home and remain safe and connected rather than disconnected out of fear, thereby becoming more vulnerable.
The cultivation of self-awareness and connection enables you to absorb information and process it so that you gain a sense of confidence that is grounded in reality. It is from this position that you can access your intuition and creativity to respond intelligently.
You will need a lot of self-awareness to adapt to the new world that is emerging in these next months.
The first pillar – Develop a calm, peaceful mind and self-awareness
The development of a calm, peaceful mind and self-awareness is the most challenging of the four pillars. It is much easier to modify your diet or start doing some exercise than to deal with your mind, yet your mind influences all the other pillars.
It is relatively easy to create physical health, but the mind is a much bigger fish to fry. This is because much of it is unconscious. You are only aware of a small fraction of your mind, your conscious mind, which is like a wave arising out of the ocean of the unconscious mind, which is the realm of your psyche and spirit.
Your psyche is an autonomous force, outside of your control. You need to be able to dive into the psyche via meditation to form a healthy relationship with this bigger part of you. The way to do this is by regular meditation practice.
From the point of view of the ego, the psyche is chaotic, because the forces and impulses contained within it do not conform to social norms. You can see your psyche reflected in the strange world of your dreams. There is a constant tension between your ego and your psyche, and this tension needs to be managed if you are to remain healthy, both physically and mentally.
How we are using yoga, meditation, and western medicine to build immunity and protect ourselves from the coronavirus.
We are publishing three articles on how to maintain health and have the best chance of preventing illness during the pandemic of Covid-19.
The first article (this article) will discuss the two best yoga meditations to build healthy, resilient immunity that can give you a better chance in the fight against a virus.
The second article details how to build the four pillars of health from both Eastern and Western perspectives.
The third article recommends Eastern herbs and Western supplements that Jayne and I are using to support our health and immunity and which I recommend to my students and clients.
Yogic theory tells us that the key to staving off viruses is to make your life force (vitality, prāna) stronger than the life force of the virus, otherwise your immunity (agni) can’t cope and the virus wins.
If you can follow the advice in the articles, you will increase your immunity and resilience.
We live in interesting times!!!! Global warming, mass migration and epidemics crashing through the borders of nation-states, and financial disruption. All this distress can weaken your immune system, making you prone to illnesses, such as the coronavirus. These are all boundary issues.
People dream about getting into their yogic practice and improving their diet and sleep. Prior to the virus spreading, this may have seemed a luxury that you can take up when “you have time”. However, today a healthy lifestyle that conserves energy and builds vitality-prāna is crucial to developing strong boundaries that either prevent the virus from entering or if the virus does get in enables you to combat it.
If you haven’t been building your prāna, now is the time to start. Within a few weeks of practicing energy building meditations along with some lifestyle modifications (suggested in the second article), you will feel more relaxed and more robust.
If you are suffering from chronic illness your life force (prāna) and your agni (digestive fire, immunity) are both not working properly.
Build prāna and agni
The key to gain the best advantage, and to prevent a virus from taking hold or from becoming a severe illness, is to build your life force–prāna and your immunity–agni.
Prana is the energy at the basis of all creation. Everything that exists, animate and inanimate, is a manifestation of prana in one form or another. At the macrocosmic level, prana is called Maha Shakti, which means ‘great power’ (maha…
The Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico and Brazil, November 2, 2019.
Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. It has become a national symbol and as such is taught (for educational purposes) in the nation’s schools. Many families celebrate a traditional “All Saints’ Day” associated with the Catholic Church.
Halloween is a fun celebration mostly for children to dress as ghosts and ghouls and delightfully spook neighbors. The Day of the Dead is more personal and familial. It’s aimed at remembering the departed, the loved and unloved.
And why not celebrate our dead, remember, and commemorate?
Your reasons need not be religious or cultural. Reasons can be found in the origin of the words, commemorate, memorable, memorial, remember, and memory itself. The Latin root for these is memor, meaning “mindful”, and the Greek word mermēra, meaning “care”.
– Merriam-Webster Dictionary
We remember to be mindful of and to care for the dead. Just one day, before we forget again.
Gone And Forgotten.
Obsessed with the here and now, the new and the better, we forget the past and the departed. It’s as though we suffer mass-amnesia.
Prolific intellectual, art critic, and poet, Clive James addressed this in his tome Cultural Amnesia, published in 2007.
Shining a light on the legacies of public figures that have shaped the culture and thinking of this century, James’ central idea of the book is that cultural amnesia is a deficit that touches us all in the Western world. He traces the origins of forgetting to the mass-trauma and ongoing grief of World War 2. We are compelled to forget the inhumanity of the Holocaust, and yet, in doing so, we are impoverished both culturally and personally.
This shared forgetting causes us to neglect the history that created our here and now, the cosmic soup in which we all swim.
We neglect to even know of the public lives whose legacies we benefit from, whether by liberation, peace, beauty, or empowerment. We forget our teachers, those accessible gurus who lit our path. In a hurry to become the teacher, we overlook rightful homage to the blessings bestowed upon us. We forget grandparents and ancestors who created us, whose essence and, to an extent, superficial characteristics and temperament, we embody throughout our mortal lives.
We forget the past not only because of cultural amnesia caused by trauma, but because we prefer tangible, finite, knowable things. The Western world is focused on material living. Unless we seek it consciously, the unknown makes us feel insecure.
Death is a mystery. Without attention to the mysteries, we are poorer. As Joseph Campbell wrote in The Power of Myth, “It’s important to live life with the experience, and therefore the knowledge, of its mystery and of your own mystery. This gives life a new radiance, a new harmony, a new splendor.”
Radiance and splendor are essential to wellbeing. Without them, we are possessed by mundanity.
The Fecund Void.
“Into the void of silence, into the empty space of nothing, the joy of life is unfurled.”
— C. S. Lewis
The void is more than half of our conscious existence.