The Ayurvedic way to beat cold & flu season

The Ayurvedic way to beat cold & flu season

 Is it just me or does everyone seem to be suffering hard this cold and flu season?

As the colder months come towards us at speed I have decided to share with you my top ayurvedic tips to staying on top of your health this winter.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the ancient sister science to Yoga. Its a healthy lifestyle system that has been used for more than 5000 years. It promotes good health and prevention of illnesses through lifestyle practices such as meditation, yoga, massage, dietary changes an herbal remedies.

Ayurveda’s main pillar of health is to reduce toxins in the body. Toxins can be formed internally from incomplete processing of foods, caused by stress, overeating low digestion etc. And also absorbed externally through breathing, drinking and eating.

The Ayurveda collective name for all different types of toxins is Ama. Preventing a build up of Ama is crucial for good health and immunity.

When your digestive fire, called Agni, is low, digestion is poor. If this build up of Ama in the gut is not dealt with it can enter our circulatory system and transport around your entire body disrupting your biochemistry.

Ayurveda considers this build up of Ama to be a contributing factor to almost all diseases.

Healthy gut, healthy body and mind.

So what can we do to help?

Here is how I stay on top of my health in an easy and manageable way.

 1. Eat warm foods

During the colder winter months our digestive systems are weaker. Try to avoid eating too much cold food during this season as it makes your digestive system work harder, potentially leading to stomach related issues and indigestion. Warm and easy to digest food is kinder on your body and helps you stay healthier.

2. Drink hot water

Now you will have head me talk about the positive effects of hot water if you have attended any of my courses or experiences.
It literally gives me life!
Drinking hot water throughout the day is the most effective Ama-removing approaches there is. As the hot water travels through your digestive tract it cleanses the digestive and elimination system dissolving Ama impurities.
Bonus, if you are unwell already, add ginger to your hot water and make ginger tea. It expels congestion, helps get rig of phlegm, reduces gas and bloating and supports good circulation. Throwing in a slice of lemon gives you that extra vitamin hit too.

3. Stretch and move the body

Gentle Yoga can really help you when you are feeling under the weather. And it doesn’t have to mean roll out your mat and throw yourself into a pretzel.
Some ground based stretches or sitting in a chair for upper body stretches can be enough to release the stagnant energy manifesting in the body. This can open up your chest to help your lungs fill with new fresh oxygen, relieve stiffness and stimulate the parasympathetic system.

4. Breathe

Gentle mindful breaths are exactly what your body needs to clear congestion, enhance circulation and restore a balanced energy flow through the body.
Even if your nose is super stuffy, slowing down and taking a mindful breath can still work.
Takin in a deep, slow (so you don’t cough) breath for as long as you can (aim for 6-8 seconds) and then just as slowly and mindfully blow that breath away until all of the stale air in your lungs is released. Repeat this for 2 – 3 minutes, twice a day.

5. Salt water gargle

This is an Ayurvedic favourite and super effective.
Gargling with warm salt water loosens any mucus in the throat and cleans out bacteria and germs too.
Half a teaspoon of sea salt or Himalayan pink salt into a cup of cooled boiled water and gargle for a minimum of 30 seconds. Repeating twice a day while you are unwell and then once a day for a week after you are better.
This works best on an empty stomach and is not recommended for anyone on a sodium restricted diet.

 Did you find this helpful?

Have I peaked your Ayurvedic interest?

I have a brand new signature health programme launching soon that will show you how to take your personal health to the next level with a complete and bespoke, overhaul, without the hard work!

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Love Laura x

The role the Vagus Nerve Plays in Stress Related Illness.

The role the Vagus Nerve Plays in Stress Related Illness.

What is the Vagus nerve?

The vagus nerve is one of the most important nerves in the body. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body that starts in the brainstem and extends all the way down to the colon, it plays a crucial role in regulating our autonomic nervous system, which controls our heart rate, respiratory rate, digestion, and other important functions in the body. By activating the vagus nerve, we can help to reduce stress and improve our overall well-being.

One of the most interesting functions of the vagus nerve is its role in the body’s stress response. When we experience stress, the vagus nerve plays a key role in activating the body’s “fight or flight” response. This response is important in helping us deal with immediate threats, but when it becomes chronic, it can lead to a number of health problems.

What role does the vagus nerve play?

Understanding the role of the vagus nerve and its connection to stress-related illness can help us better manage our stress and improve our overall health. Here are just a few of the benefits of understanding this connection:

  1. Improved stress management: When we understand how the vagus nerve is involved in the stress response, we can learn to activate it intentionally to counteract the effects of stress. There are many techniques that can help activate the vagus nerve, including deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga.
  2. Reduced inflammation: Chronic stress can lead to inflammation in the body, which has been linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Activating the vagus nerve has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help prevent these and other chronic illnesses.
  3. Better mental health: The vagus nerve is also involved in the body’s relaxation response, which can help us feel calm and relaxed. Activating the vagus nerve through techniques like deep breathing can help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
  4. Improved digestion: The vagus nerve plays a crucial role in digestion, helping to regulate the release of digestive enzymes and the movement of food through the digestive system. Chronic stress can interfere with these functions, leading to digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Activating the vagus nerve can help improve digestion and reduce symptoms of IBS.

How to activate the Vagus nerve

Here are some ways to intentionally activate the vagus nerve:

  1. Deep Breathing: One of the most effective ways to stimulate the vagus nerve is through deep breathing. Slow, deep breaths can help to calm the body and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and relaxation. Try breathing in slowly through your nose for four seconds, then exhaling slowly through your mouth for six seconds. Repeat this several times, focusing on making your exhale longer than your inhale. Always work within your own limits.
  2. Meditation: Regular meditation practice has been shown to increase vagal tone, which is a measure of the strength of the vagus nerve. Meditation helps to reduce stress and improve emotional regulation, making it an excellent tool for improving overall well-being. Try meditating for a few minutes each day, focusing on your breath or a particular mantra.
  3. Cold Exposure: Exposing yourself to cold temperatures, such as taking a cold shower or jumping into a cold pool, can help to activate the vagus nerve. Cold exposure stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve immune function. Start with short exposures and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable.
  4. Singing or Humming: Singing or Humming can help to activate the vagus nerve, as it involves controlled exhaling and a deep diaphragmatic breath. It can also be a powerful way to release emotions and improve mood. Try singing along to your favorite songs or finding a chanting practice that resonates with you.
  5. Exercise: Regular exercise can help to increase vagal tone and improve overall health. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase cardiovascular function. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.

Incorporating these practices into your daily routine can help to activate the vagus nerve and improve stress management, leading to greater overall well-being. It’s important to note that these practices should be used in conjunction with other stress-reduction techniques, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and practicing mindfulness.

Take out some time to learn more about this important nerve and how you can activate it to improve your health today!