It's that time of year again – time to break out the warm boots, marvel at the falling leaves, and cuddle up under a blanket (or ten,) praying that the sniffle in your nose was caused by nothing more than seasonal allergies.
Yep, flu season once again. Or, how I choose to see it: flow season.
Although the fall is a beautiful, magical time, filled with candy apples, pumpkin EVERYTHING, and countless spooky attractions, it is also a very trying time for your immune system, putting it on high alert. Every where you go, every corner you turn, ever door handle you push, there are thousands of bacteria just waiting to move in and call your body their new home... My apologies and sincerest condolences to those who are phobic of germs.
While some things are out of our control and difficult to avoid, I firmly believe in the power of preventative care when it comes to your physical health. Studies have shown that an active lifestyle, equipped with elevated seretonin levels and a super-charged metabolism, has the power to strengthen your immune system and help your body become a much more daunting match for ailments, such as the common cold and the dreaded flu bug. The same can be said about a healthy and balanced mental state – bet you saw that one coming, eh? As many of you already know, meditation and intentional pranyama have the power to regulate your nervous system and combat the stress hormone, chortisol, in your brain, which can ultimately result in a healthier mind, body and spirit. This can have a profound impact on your body's response to outside interference. With that in mind, we can begin to look at our regular yoga and meditation practice as an all encompassing healing cocktail, preparing our bodies to battle any villain that threatens to knock it down.
If you need a little more convincing, let me share a personal experience with you:
Recently, I found myself in a battle with what appeared to be the common cold with a sprinkle of bronchitis – a lovely recipe for many sleepless nights and a whole lot of aggressive/alarming coughs. Thankfully, due to my regular practice and general health consciousness, I didn't stay that way for long.
As someone who spent much of her childhood with a weakened immune system, I'm very familiar with the feeling of absolute misery that accompanies a cold or flu encounter. I'm also very familiar with typical sick-time protocal, but since I've developed a much stronger and more vital immune system over the years, I decided to take a different approach this time. So, rather than wallowing in the misery of my throbbing throat, head and body, I made the conscious decision to stick with my (gentle) yoga practice and meditate to this mantra every morning: My immune system is powerful, my body is healing, I am so thankful for my health.
Whether it was the energetic intention or the simple act of allowing myself to breathe and relax for thirty minutes straight before I started my day, I found myself in a much more elevated mood throughout the duration of my 5-day sickness. I felt strong, despite being absolutely exhausted. I felt healthy, despite my inability to speak or laugh for more then five seconds without hacking up a lung. I felt like I was going to be okay. By the time my sickness had faded and I was finally able to lie on my back again, I realized that I had a new-found appreciation for my body and all that it does for me. Because I had shifted my focus to my body's natural ability to heal itself, I didn't allow my mind to drift into a state of misery, which, let's face it, would have been totally valid.
My point is, the state of our physical health isn't only determined by the food we eat or the amount of calories we burn, it is also equally determined by our thoughts, our habits, and our intentions. Maintaining a regular practice of mindfulness every dingle day will not only keep your brain from exploding from the stress of the day, it will also keep your body on track with its natural healing rhythm.
Am I suggesting that a simple mantra can replace the healing power and sleeping aid of nighttime TheraFlu? Not a chance! Sleep is number one on the every-expansive list of healing regimens, so you get it however you need to get it, my friend. Just remember that a healthy mind is the gateway to a healthy body, so get some rest, give some thanks, and find some flow during this mighty cold and flow season.
I hope you have found this post helpful and/or encouraging, and that you will take a mindful approach to your health during this flu season. If you have any questions, or would like to inquire about a class, feel free to reach out and send us a message on the Mountain Yoga Studio Facebook page. We are always happy to hear from you and look forward to helping your find your flow.
1) School is almost back in session and the leaves are on the ground, which means we've officially transitioned from summer to fall. We have updated our yoga and cycling schedules for the fall months, so keep your eyes peeled and your mind open to the endless possibilities of your practice.
2) One of our newest teachers, and brightest yogis, Jessica Cenotti, has brought her vision to life and made some special goodies for all of your self care needs. Packed with nourishing essential oils, and wrapped in quality packaging, all of her Witch Doctor products can be found in the studio, with sample-goodies available for testing.
Stay up to date on our Mountain Yoga Studio Facebook Page for more information, or drop by the studio for a chat! Your mental and physical health are our top priority. Come hop on your mat to rediscover your light.