Amid all the gloom spreading across the world due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has as of now infected more than a 100,000 people (WHO 03.07) and increasingly, everyone is focusing on preventive measures, at least until an effective cure is developed. This is not an exception but the norm, whenever a new kind of virus hits the human species.
The immediate reaction is one of fear and dread, since the spread is faster than a cure which might be weeks or months away. Similar fears are associated with an increase in both number and intensity of natural disasters recently. The Coronavirus shows a breakdown in our collective immunity, at both physical and psychological levels. It reflects a greater breakdown in the biosphere, which we humans have disrupted in many ways.
Our society has become increasingly more artificial in terms of how we live, our food, water, air and technological dominance in our lives. We have mindlessly polluted and damaged our natural environment from the soils to the sky, in many ways. We also see a breakdown in the psychological immunity of people and their ability to withstand difficulties, opposition, stress and uncertainty. This simultaneous breakdown of physical immunity and psychological immunity has lead us to become completely focused on outwards stimuli and ignore our inner core building strengths.
Yoga and Ayurveda sciences are India’s greatest contribution to human species as a knowledge bank for living healthy lives with unison of mind, body and spirit. These two sister sciences are more important than ever today, because they can guide towards building a healthy immune system, in response to ever increasing existential crisis from environmental and human causes.
Yoga and Ayurveda are ancient sciences based on prevention and not curation. When combined with the concept of holistic living and a well-balanced diet with a nature conserving lifestyle, both these sciences offer advice on building long-term immunity as an individual, which effects in creating a healthy society. Natural foods and herbs can help build immunity against environmental diseases and make us strong internally instead of relying too much on external factors for our wellbeing.
Prana is the life force energy that brings life and harmony to all. It is the master form of universal energy working at every level of our being. Yoga sees the entire universe is a manifestation of Prana. The main force behind our immune system is called Ojas in Ayurveda, which refers to the essence of all the bodily tissues and nutritious strength which is our ultimate genetic strength.
Ayurveda and Yoga suggest living your life with Mindfulness at all times, so that when stress related to uncertainty and fear hit us, our practices can help fortify our bodies and minds, which may help give us an edge to ward off viruses. Their primary teaching is to keep our stress levels low and our immune system healthy. This can be achieved by proper food and herbs as well as by natural living on all levels.
Yoga, Ayurveda and Mantra Meditation can further increase our psychological immunity and help us be less vulnerable mentally to the increased fear stimuli from our disrupted environment and from those around us. Outer difficulties push us back on our inner strength. We need to stop relying excessively on external factors for our wellbeing. We must recognize that our ultimate strength lies within our own divine self and consciousness of our cosmic existence, in unison with nature and mindful living.