Column: Yogi Ashwani

Swine Flu: Increase your immunity

First I must warn the readers not to take Ayurvedic potions if the H1N1 Virus has already affected them. You should get yourself examined by a medical doctor and follow the course of treatment.
I would have recommended Ayurvedic treatment if I had gathered empirical proof of treating those affected by the flu; in its absence itís not right to make tall claims. Besides, in Ayurveda, not every herb is meant for everyone, not even neem and tulsi leaves; a personís doshas have to be assessed carefully before the start of treatment.

Yoga and Ayurveda are basically both immunity-building preventive ways, not curative. There is no disease in Ayurveda; how can there be a cure? There is a preventive method in ayurveda (ref Arti Gaurís article in this issue). Here Iím recommending kriya and asan that will help you build immunity.

Certain yogic kriyas and asanas boost the immunity system of the body immensely. A kriya is an action, which is directed towards the complete being, inducing energy where it is required and deducing it from where it is not. The kriyas should always be done on an empty stomach.

Maximum imbalances in the body start with congestion in the stomach, especially considering the unhealthy eating habits of people today. When the agni or digestive fire is feeble, a person is not able to digest the food properly, the result of which is excess of toxins or ama. Hence, it is pertinent to have a strong digestive system in order to increase the immunity levels and strengthen the body. Agnisaar kriya as the name suggests is aimed at rekindling the digestive fire, which results in proper elimination of waste from the stomach and intestine. For this:

1 Sit in Siddha asana with your back absolutely straight.
2 Hold your knees with your palms.
3 Then slowly exhaling completely make a chin lock doing Jalandhar Bandha. (Sitting in Siddha asana and keeping the back erect slowly push your chin down towards the throat pit forming a lock without putting pressure on the nape and without curving the spine.)
4 Then holding the position and the breath move your stomach in and out 5 times and then slowly inhaling release the Bandha.
5 Slowly, depending on your comfort you may progress to 14 sets.

Agnisaar kriya should not be done by women who are more than three months pregnant. However it can be practiced in the postnatal period as this kriya strengthens and develops the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm. Those suffering from high blood pressure, overactive (hyper) thyroid gland, acute duodenal or peptic ulcers should, chronic diarrhea should not perform this kriya.
We exist in various layers (kosha) at the physical and etheric level. The physical body or the Annamaya kosha is the densest of all the layers and is inextricably dependent on the etheric layers in order to function. Hence, balance between various energy gradations is important for emotional, physical and spiritual well being. A simple asana like Vrikshasana would bring about complete stability, strength and vitality whereby the equilibrium of your physical body would not be deranged easily, retaining its high immunity levels. For this,

1 Stand straight. Start breathing in ujjai (Inhale deeply making a hissing sound from your throat. As you inhale your stomach comes out and as you exhale your stomach goes in)
2 Fold the right leg and place the right heel next to left thigh as high as possible.
3 Fold your hands in above the head. Hold. Repeat on the other side.


óThe writer Yogi Ashwini Ji is the head of Dhyan Foundation, Delhi.
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September 2009

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