Throughout this post I will be linking to a compilation of useful videos and articles that i found inspirational whilst writing this over the last couple of days. I highly recommend reading and watching them as you read as they all fit in somehow to the overarching message for fighting coronavirus and boosting immunity. First of all, I’d like to share this quote from my favorite philosopher Alan Watts as a guiding light for you as you read throughout this post:
“By replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity we open ourselves up to an infinite stream of possibility. We can let fear rule our lives or we can become childlike with curiosity, pushing our boundaries, leaping out of our comfort zones, and accepting what life puts before us.” ~ Alan Watts
I think this quote very nicely summarizes the best view possible in regards to a positive outlook towards the current crisis, creating positivity in our lives by acknowledging the abundance of life all around us.
What can YOU do, with ONLY what you have at hand, to increase your natural health & wellness?
What I see when I look at the news, but also at people around me (mostly on screens), is that the world is going through a phase of change that is far deeper than any previously caused by a pandemic.
People are being forced to quit their jobs, or are being forcibly laid off. The world is moving online, and any previously common methods of interacting with the external world have shifted to those more remote alternatives.
What were previously thought of as standard means of making money: i.e. office jobs have become obsolete for the time being, due to the human contact involved in going to work or going out for food. Shopping for groceries and necessary goods have predominantly become once a week or once a month events, and new habits of planning ahead and stockpiling food, rationing and hoarding are becoming more commonplace.
You could say this is like a pre-apocalyptic movie setting really, except its real life and the problem is quite tangible. Nobody really knows whats going on, making it prime time for the world to get its act together and start focusing on natural health. Tens of thousands have died, and these coronavirus pandemics are appearing more frequently with this being the third major outbreak (SARS and MERS before). So what if this becomes the new norm? How will the unemployment gap be filled? How will people start to develop new ways of life? I think we are seeing history unfold before our very eyes, as the world changes people must change with it. But this is not a bad thing, it is the guiding principle of change that steers us towards sustainability; the inevitable balancing act between self-serving humanity and an interconnected ecosystem that tries to keep up with our demands. In the end, the changing norm now exemplified by the coronavirus, is something we can only expect to occur frequently given the cause-effect relationship of humans treating nature badly. Unless, people in all of their collectives (family, work, community, country, globe) decide to take active and conscious steps (which will inevitably include short term monetary sacrifices) towards relinquishing material domination over the natural world.
This includes the fair treatment of other life-forms, ethically sourced and sustainable methods of resource extraction, collection and waste management. We need to close the loop on capitalism and imbed the loop itself within well thought-out and scientifically curated operating boundaries. (see Planetary boundaries by Johan Rockstrom https://www.ted.com/talks/johan_rockstrom_let_the_environment_guide_our_development , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_boundaries)
Maintaining safe adaptive protocols and respect for these limits at all costs, reflected at all levels of government as well as at individual levels, in my opinion, should be a top priority . End-of-cycle waste can no longer end up in landfill or in the ocean. The recurring bottom-line should be focused towards strengthening the system rather than weakening its foundation. The mistreatment of animals as seen in wet markets in China which led to the development of the current coronavirus strain is just one example of the ‘normal’ risks we take everyday and how they should no longer be accepted as the risks are now too high.
So, I think what people can do with what they have at hand at home is simply to spend time bettering themselves. What i have tried to do is to learn a new skill. Currently I am enrolled in a web development course on Udemy, and have been exploring free courses online. As time is something we have in spades at the moment, learning new skills is a great gift we can give ourselves. Here are the links to some really awesome courses mostly free due to the coronavirus crisis; Compilation of links including some from Google, Amazon: https://www.classcentral.com/report/free-online-learning-coronavirus/ 85 free courses on Coursera: https://www.classcentral.com/report/coursera-free-certificate-covid-19/
What can YOU do, share or recommend to others with limited means, in maybe tough circumstances with little or no income?
This part highly depends on internet connectivity. Assuming that you live in a place in the world which is relatively modern, you have access to all the amenities the modern human global citizen should possess. This includes the internet, and with it, comes endless possibilities. Today with a decent broadband connection, anyone around the world can log into YouTube, type in the skills they want to learn, and the roller coaster ride begins, with endless recommended videos and links to choose from. Learning is no longer the issue, but rather it has become what to do with what you know. From this aspect of doing, as I have just graduated from college 2 years ago and have yet to find a decent job, I am also discovering the way. What I DO know however is that if we are determined to set ourselves against a task or to achieve a goal, anything is possible.
So when it comes to Natural Health & Wellness, I believe the categories we can work on are 3-fold: Mind, Body, and Spirit.
A Couple Days ago, my friend added me to a Whatsapp group called 21Days Abundance Meditation Challenge. It’s by Deepak Chopra and it’s a 3 week journey where every day you meditate for 15 minutes, and he gives you a mantra for the day to keep in mind. For example today (i’m on day 3), it was “today i focus on what i want to attract into my life” . Chopra says we can manifest abundance in our lives by serving humanity with our unique skills and talents, and by choosing what to focus on, we quite literally, decide our fate by steering our thoughts with our mind. I believe him.
This can at first sound like mumbo jumbo, but actually it’s quite real. There are two kinds of people in the world according to Chopra; those who feel abundance in the world and those who feel scarcity. What you choose to focus on manifests in your physical reality. With all the negativity going around these days it makes it all the more important to take the time every morning to set out the intention for the day, and then to follow up with the attention necessary to make it real. So its intention and attention, together that coordinate your life towards your chosen focus point, which is quite exciting really. having all this potential in our minds eye is powerful, but it requires a focus point to operate i.e a goal; make more money, have more health etc.
However, we seldom remember to nurture and protect our minds, minding the endless cascades of information that bombard us from every direction, making it harder and harder to maintain a steadfast focus throughout our daily lives. Meditation helps keep this focus by reinforcing positive affirmations, through mantras and other useful tools like visualization and grattitude, to help us stay grounded in the present moment where pure potentiality unfolds constantly.
Here’s the link to the Day 1 of the 21 day abundance meditation challenge:
Taking care of our minds is paramount to taking care of our bodies, but this is similar to saying 1+2=3 or 2+1=3, two ways of describing the same thing. The mind and the body are one, and by nurturing one or the other, or both in conjunction, we increase the overall health and wellness in our lives from the ground up. Meditation is something we can do to escape the online world of overstimulation. There is more content online than we’ll ever be able to individually consume on our own, and there is no point frantically clicking around hundreds of videos in one sitting when by the end of the session all you got was an overload of information and a tired brain. We need to learn to take a break frequently throughout the day to just close our eyes and meditate, go inside and be aware of how our body is feeling. Anxiety and ADHD have become commonplace in my generation and all those born after 2000. With internet technology dominating normal ways of life, we have yet to understand the best way to use it in a healthy way. Best practice is subjectively allocated to the user, who without proper knowledge (the user manual for life which was never given), we can harm ourselves unintentionally. So the user drifts and floats around the web mindlessly with no goal in sight. Have a goal, and focus on one thing at a time, and what you do focus on will have more value. It’s all about quality over quantity once again.
We can meditate all day, but if we don’t take care of the body, which is the temple of our soul, then we cannot live abundant lives. This means developing healthy habits that involves physical movement to stimulate blood-flow articulation of the joints. We can choose to do this today in many different ways, and many methods exist from both East and West: Yoga, Tai Chi, Xi Gong, Calisthenics, Bodybuilding, HIIT etc. Anything that gets the blood pumping and the heart rate up for a little bit on a consistent basis is all we really need. It doesn’t have to be high intensity, in fact if your goal is long term-health, it’s probably better to do low-medium intensity but consistent exercise rather than high intensity workouts that could damage your health over time. We are creatures designed and born to move, and science has been in for a long time saying that people who are more physically active are healthier and happier. Not only in their body, but in their relationships, careers, etc. When we don’t move, we become stiff and develop illness and disease. When we move we allow our body to stretch and flow and grow in a healthy way.
This is my favorite Shifu (master) on the internet, he’s really good at explaining how to get fit in a simple way. Just follow along on his weekly workout videos for some fun and wholesome exercise, which is also family friendly! He mixes Shaolin movement, punches kicks and Qi Gong movements to balance the body from the inside out. This is week 1, to find the next one just type ‘shifu yan lei’ family workout week 2 into youtube:
This one is also good from the same shifu, it’s great 35 minute workout for the body, with Qi Gong to stretch the tendons and small muscles in the body that don’t often get the love they need:
I also tried this programme from Athlean-X, for a more structured, weekly workout plan to do at home, It was nice to have a very specific and laid out plan that he provides for free in the video:
I think it’s good to mix Western technical knowledge and Eastern ancient technical methods to reach a good wholesome workout regime. Just mix and match whatever you want and make sure to leave rest days in between. Overworking the body is not conducive to good health. However, making sure to move and get the circulation going and break a sweat for at least 20 minutes a day will benefit your body. I started implementing Qi Gong relaxation breathing (internal) after physical exercise like going for a jog (external) to combine internal and external for optimal results and recovery.
Benefitting from exercise is something we can learn to do in the activity itself, experiencing the joy of flow in activities like yoga and xi gong that emphasize slow deep breathing and connecting not only to our bodies but to the world at large . The joy of movement happens in the reaction of our body to stimulus. This is called Hormesis, and it functions in the same way as vaccines or cold showers do in terms of their health-creating benefits. The concept goes a bit like this in a nutshell: small dose of stress short-term – body adapts – long-term immunity. It helps to understand the mechanics of the world, the air that we breathe to fuel the life in our body, the organs and veins that transport nutrients and filter toxins that we engage with in the world around us. The pendulum that swings between states; rest & digest, fight & flight, day and night, inhale & exhale. There are lots of home workout for free out there on the internet, and with nothing more than a chair and a couple of sticks, and maybe even a pull up bar, people can exercise their body in the comfort of their home. Preferably outside in the fresh air, of course. I hope you enjoy!
This video is a TED talk I found which was very enlightening to me, it describes a theory of life from Taoist philosophy. The speaker, Master Shi Heng Yi compares life to climbing a mountain, and how each person should reach the peak in his own most suitable way. He describes how when you reach the top, no one will be able to tell you how the moment of clarity you experience is felt, neither will you be able to perfectly describe it to anyone. The main takeaway i got was the 5 major hindrances to climbing the mountain (life):
- Sensual desire: Derived from the 5 senses; Seeing, smelling, touching, hearing, tasting. If the temptation to indulge in sensual desire becomes too strong, it turns into obsession which is negative for you.
- Ill-will: Describes a state of the mind which arises from negative emotions; Aversion/rejection/dislike of the present moment. Unless we learn to let go of ill-will, we cannot enjoy the journey.
- Sloth and Torpor: Heaviness of the body, Dullness of the mind. Characterized by sleepiness, non-motivation, lack of energy and depression. In order to continue your path, find a way to get out from the cell.
- Restlessness: The state of an unsettled mind, worrying about the future or rejecting the past. The monkey mind that constantly jumps from one branch to another, unable to stay in the present moment.
- Skeptical doubt: Indecisiveness, getting lost in thought, worrying about other people’s opinions. This leads to getting disconnected to your goals.
To prevent these hindrances, we need to structure our lives in a way so that these hindrances do not occur. Each of them brings dark clouds over our minds, and the monk reminds us to just let it rain. We can use this 4-step method described in the talk to heal the soul:
- Recognize what state of mind you find yourself in
- Accept, acknowledge and allow the situation/person to exist in peace
- Investigate your mental state, ask Why, What, How, to solve the problem
- Non-Identification, the practice of disconnecting from the physical body and seeing things from an external perspective
Physics has spoken of the unified field theory, where everything is connected. Some call it God, the Holy Spirit, or some call it Source, some call it many names. But it all points to the same thing; that the universe and everything in it is connected on a deeper level than just the physical. Pure consciousness is pure potentiality. But what does this mean? I think this is what the monk talked about when reaching the top of the mountain, each of us will see for ourselves the meaning of the universe. By taking the time to connect to this abundance in our daily practice through meditation, movement, nature and mindfulness, we behold the food to nurture the spirit.
This is naturally the section i have the least to talk about, because the realm of the spirit is the realm of the ‘unspeakable’, in the sense that it is impossible to express in words. However, this ephemeral element takes an important place in all of our lives, and it is important that each of us find our own path to spiritual clarity. No amount of intellectual analysis will explain it. In Tao philosophy, it is said “if you try to accord with it, you will get away from it” for there is no you separate from life which has to accord with it. As Alan Watts would say, this is like trying to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps.
How can we help-encourage-ensure stronger immune systems to improve our natural resistance to Covid-19?
From what I have gathered so far in my 23 years of life, there are a certain amount of things within our control that can either positively or negatively affect our lives depending on how we approach them.
Firstly, diet. I think it is the most important tool at our disposal that we have complete control what we choose to put into our bodies. However, everyone is different and each of us should find the diet that best suits their body.
However, I have noticed that a predominantly plant-based diet is the best bet as it provides the best ‘bang- for-your buck’; nutrients per calorie (https://www.drfuhrman.com/elearning/eat-to-live-blog/128/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods).
In essence the goal when eating food is to feed the cells in your body with the essential foods; protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, in the most efficient way without going over or under what your body actually needs. Empty carbs like white flour, sunflower oil, or sugar, tax your body’s digestive system whilst providing little valuable nutrients. Any excess or lack in the essential food elements leads to health problems, so what we can do is to firstly be mindful to the intake of our foods (i like to use https://cronometer.com/ sometimes to track what i eat to see if i am getting enough vitamins in my diet). Secondly, the quality of our food, fresh and organic is obviously best, home grown even better! As then you can control exactly what ends up on your plate. Having a diverse diet is also important, lots of greens, sunshine and exercise as well.
I think breathing is the next big thing i want to mention here. We inhale Oxygen (O2) and exhale Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Two molecules going in, three molecules going out. The air we exhale is heavier, i.e. has more volume of molecules, than the air coming in (oxygen (o2)+carbon(c)=Co2). Where does the carbon come from? Well, as I learned from the TED talk linked below, it actually comes from the food that we eat! As it turns out, when we lose weight, 80% of that comes out of our body in the form of carbon dioxide. In other words, if you lose 10kg, around 8.4 kg of that comes out of your lungs.
So, if you want to lose weight, the principle goes: eat less, move more. Why? Because when you move more you breathe more. And when you eat less, there’s less carbon to burn, breathe more, more carbon leaves your body. Poof, voila, you are air! I learned that Antoine Levoisier from the 1700s said when you eat, “nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.”
IN: Food + O2 –> OUT: CO2 + H2O
Carbohydrates (hydrated carbon), which we take in, ends up leaving our body in the form of gas, through our lungs, or H2o into the toilet. So here’s an extension to the proverb, ‘you are what you eat’. You are also how you breathe! And a bunch of atoms. Add to the mix deep breathing and relaxation, and you’ve got a hell of a health practice on your hands. The classic one I practice every day is the Wim Hof Method (WHM). It involves breathing deeply for 30 breaths, with deeper inhales than exhales, followed by a full exhale – breath retention, then a full inhale – short 15 second breath retention and release. This is one round, and a whole session lasts optimally 2-3 rounds. I highly recommend taking part in the follow along on YouTube. As far as free health training from home for the immune system goes, i’d say WHM breathing is one of our best tools available today:
The method also combines Cold exposure for scientifically proven health benefits associated with something called “Thermogenesis”. It involves strengthening the vascular system and organs with cold (contraction of the veins) followed by hot (relaxation of the veins) to create a highly immune-boosting response in the body. The legendary Wim Hof just turned 61, and he did a 61 minute Ice bath to treat himself to some good old cold exposure and remind himself of the beauty of life!
I had to include Wim Hof in this section because i find him truly inspirational and whenever immunity boosting comes up, he’s the one i’m instantly reminded of. So remember guys, if you get stressed out, just BREATH MOTHERFUCKER.
In conclusion i hope you enjoyed reading my blog post as much as I enjoyed writing it and I hope you find some of the links and videos as useful as I did! Honestly there are so many gems out there, my friend once called YouTube an Academy more valuable then his college degree. Sometimes it feels like there are so many pieces to the puzzle just floating around, with no idea how to fit them all together. I think taking the time to learn about the Mind, Body and Spirit and fitting in healthy habits like meditation, exercise and reading, is a great blessing in life and a way to develop clarity and the ability to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. I am really happy to be a part of the Natural medicine community and be able to share my thoughts with the world through writing blog posts. Imagine how awesome that is, try explaining that to a caveman 10,000 years ago; being able to share your thoughts electronically to thousands if not millions of people around the world with the click of a button. I think we are all so lucky to be a part of this moment in time, and I for one am truly grateful to be riding this wave of change into the future with abundance and unlimited possibilities all around, and am excited to see what the future holds. As i started with an Alan Watts quote, I thought it only fair to end with one too:
“To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”
― Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety
Stay Sustainable, Safe and Healthy,
With love as always,