Who here does not feel stressed? Tired? Cold (depending on where you live on the Globe)?
Do you ever think of the risks and probabilities of falling sick?
Pushing that thought aside because there is no time to recover?
Life goes on right?! We need to be in shape!
Unfortunately today, there is never a good day to be sick.
And stress, lack of sleep, changes in weather, children going to school, roommates or family members working in a public setting,… are definitely good factors.
So I wanted to touch on quick practices that you can adopt to not be sick as often as you are today.
See, I have noticed that, in the past 3 years, since I discovered Ayurveda, I haven’t been as sick as I used to before then. And that is way too good not to share ;-)
So, before anything, I wanted to explain the idea of Agni.
For those of you who have worked with me in an Ayurvedic consultation and have received recommendations from me, there is a whole paragraph in my recommendations explaining this principle.
Because Agni in Ayurveda is key.
In Sanskrit, Agni means Fire. And it is actually a God too. The God of Fire.
But as Fire, Agni represents Transformation.
Transformation of our food into digestible components that our body can release, use and/or store.
And the amazing thing with this concept is that it touches many different kind of foods.
And that is known across the world in different culture, traditions, religions, …
Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my favorite teachers, describes it very well in his book “How to Love”.
Saying that “there are 4 kinds of food that we consume every day. They are: edible food (what we put in our mouths to nourish our bodies), sensory food (what we smell, hear, taste, feel, and touch), volition (the motivation and intention that fuels us), and consciousness (this includes our individual consciousness, the collective consciousness, and our environment).”
So we need the transformative fire of Agni on these 4 levels -> physical, experimental, emotional and spiritual.
Once again, we are being reminded how our experiences affect our daily life and that the health of our body can be measured in our capacity to digest those experiences we are going through.
In our body alone, Ayurveda says that we have 40 different kind of Agnis. Highlighting how that principle of Transformation is present at every stage of our Life, every second that we breathe. Be it at the microscopic level in our body or macroscopic world around us.
Alright, so now comes the trick. Agni being a fire, health lies in keeping that fire strong, shining bright, making its surroundings cozy and clean. By that, the engineer in me resurfaces meaning that we want a “perfect combustion”.
- Not too bright that the whole fire pit disappears -> meaning that we could have heart burns, ulcers, heat problems, anger issues,…
- Not too low that we have:
o Smoke (smelly gas, bloating, burping,….)
o Wood that hasn’t burned (burping, bad breath, thick tongue coating, undigested foods in stools, constipation,…)
o Ashes (which would be toxins, bringing bad body odors, brain fog, …)
So the way to keep strong through stress, exhaustion, changes in weather and social situations is to put a special effort in keeping your agni balanced and strong.
On a physical level, ginger tea or ginger pickles is one of the easiest way to do so.
I like to call them “Fire starters”.
As Sebastian Pole writes in his wonderful book “Ayurvedic Medicine – The Principles of Traditional Practice”, “Ginger is known as the universal medicine, turning it into an herbalist’s best friend. It’s most useful for digestion, lungs and circulation.”
Boosting our digestive fire, the agni residing in our stomach, is Ayurveda’s specialty. It is a personal approach that encompasses your whole body. What I just shared is one recommendation that is almost in all my recommendations for every single one of my clients. But it’s usually followed by individual diet recommendations with foods to favor, foods to limit, recipe ideas or book recommendations when needed. In order to make sure that we are feeding that fire properly with the right wood to have that “perfect combustion” I was just talking about.
On the experimental, emotional and spiritual levels, when you feel that you are not able to digest what’s going on around you, bringing a sense of weakness and imbalance in your mind and in your heart, preventing you to live a happy, fulfilled life with a strong feeling of protection, and maybe also preventing you to sleep properly and getting enough rest; in that case, my suggestion is to seek and find practices that will help you cope, heal and handle these difficult moments.
My favorite practices, when I am on the verge of becoming physically sick from an excessively stressful time, or lack of rest or a bug I didn’t know I could catch are:
- Stop – as soon as possible, for as long as possible, try to stop putting yourself up the stressful or upsetting situation that is causing you to feel this way. Though sometimes we cannot abandon our responsibilities, so it’s all about getting a break. Be it for 12 minutes with this amazing meditation or a few hours or maybe a few days.
- Going for a walk in nature with the appropriate layers to keep me cozy, or practicing yoga, both to improve circulation, increase heart rate and change my mindset.
- Reading a book that will soothe my mind, make me feel better and help me rest – I have a special place in my heart for Romance Novels
- When getting really sick physically:
o Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep – clearing my calendar as soon as possible to just sleep as long as possible and as often as necessary.
o Staying inside for at least the 1st day as I am usually weak and even in a summer day, going outside is too much
o But then indeed, on the 2nd or 3rd day, use the natural energy of the sun and fresh air to support me into my recovery. Going outside for as long or as little as my body can handle and coming back to rest
- Last but not least and to really take advantage of, seek professional help. Alternative medicine or family doctor, therapy or coaching, do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help to learn the tools that will help you get stronger in Life.
So here it is. Overtime, these practices have helped me stay healthy (in my body and in my mind), considerably limit the times where I would fall sick, recover faster if so and coming out stronger with the knowledge and understanding of what my body needs, always amazed at being able to work as a team with it.
I hope it will help you as well and be sure that I am always available to support you on your path.