It is March 15, 2020 and the Corona Wind is blowing crisis around the world. I choose the metaphor of the wind because like the wind, Covid-19 can seem uncontrollable. It’s an unstoppable force. It also primarily affects the lungs. Air is the common denominator in our lungs and the wind. Maintaining some sense of normal life in the face of such a threat is the challenge we all face. How we respond is the key. I believe the first thing to do is to realize that we do have a choice. We could succumb to the fear and panic. Or we could be creative and look for opportunity. This simple yet powerful change in point of view can have a profound impact on our quality of life. It puts us back in the driver's seat of our lives. This in turn reduces stress which is directly related to a healthy respiratory system. Stress causes the lungs to contract which restricts the airflow. This in turn causes major imbalance in our system. Just like a car with a clogged air filter, our bodies will not function properly. If we allow this to continue it will have serious consequences to our health.
Given that “Social Distancing” is recommended for all of us here are some suggestions for creative opportunities as we find ourselves spending more time at home. Catch up on reading. Start a journal. Take a class online. Explore the world of crafting. Spend time with loved ones. Dance. Play games. Go for walks. The outdoors is still not off limits even during the time of “Social Distancing.”
Regarding food and other natural remedies, it’s important to eat well to maintain a healthy immune system. At this stage of Covid-19 the best defense we have is our immune system. Soups are simple, easy, delicious and many of the ingredients are full of antioxidants that boost the immune system. Sweet Basil, also known as Tulsi is an adaptogen, fever reducer and immune-system builder. You can also make tea with Tulsi. Turmeric with black pepper help keep the blood clean. Cooking is also a source of creativity. Find new recipes. There are lots of groups online centered around cooking. Entering the Spring season, it’s recommended that we eat light as our lymphatic systems can get clogged. Using a Eucalyptus diffuser in the house helps keep the airways in the lungs clear.
Covid-19 is fostering chaos around the world. Another choice we can make is to create order and routine in our daily lives to help maintain health. Proper sleep, exercise, yoga and meditation all work in subtle yet powerful ways develop resiliency, so that like the bending blade of grass in the wind, you’ll bend but you will not break.
Though many people have only recently heard of sound baths, the use of music for healing is nothing new. From Tibetan singing bowls to Aboriginal didgeridoos, music has been used for its therapeutic effects for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used sound vibration to aid in digestion, treat mental disturbance, and induce sleep, and even Aristotle's De Anima detailed how flute music could purify the soul.
Gong meditation is a unique type of sound practice that involves using therapeutic gong sounds and vibrations to bring about healing. This practice is also sometimes referred to as a “gong bath” because participants are “bathed” in meditation gong sound waves. The goal of “gong meditation” is usually therapeutic, whereas mindfulness meditation has many therapeutic benefits, but its deeper goal is awareness and non-judgmental appreciation of the present moment.
Sound therapy has long been used to manage a broad range of health conditions. The treatments are based on the understanding that all forms of matter – including our body’s cells – vibrate at different frequencies. Factors such as stress, depression and disease cause cells and organs within our bodies to vibrate at non-optimal frequencies.
“The gong is very simple. It is an inter-vibratory system. It is the sound of Creativity itself. One who plays the gong plays the Universe. The gong is not an ordinary thing to play. Out of it came all music, all sounds, and all words. The sound of the gong is the nucleus of the Word. The gong is not a musical instrument, nor a drum. The gong is a beautiful reinforced vibration. It is like a multitude of strings, as if you played with a million strings. The gong is the only tool with which you can produce this combination of space vibrations.”
Essentially, a sound bath is a meditation class that aims to guide you into a deep meditative state while you're enveloped in ambient sound played by instructors, or sound therapists.
Sound baths are like a combination of restorative yoga, meditation, and sacred sound concert. The goal of a sound bath isn't to listen and pay attention but rather to let the sound wash over you. Like a bath, all you have to do is just lie back and absorb. Let the sound transport you.
Some of the supposed benefits of sound healing include:
Late fall to early winter is considered Vata Season according to Ayurveda and is dominated by subtle environmental qualities; dry, wind, varying temperatures, daylight savings, both subtle and sharp. Vata dosha represents the elements of air and ether and is most associated with cold and light attributes.
Ayurveda practices the art of balancing pairs of opposites. If you can get with the concept that cold needs warm, light needs heavy, sweet needs bitter, rough needs smooth etc. you can begin to understand the mindset of the practitioner.
These opposites require a delicate balancing act between the mind/body and spirit not to mention seasonal shifts, cultural expectations, and, in the USA it is the season of voting!
The primary focus of Ayurvedic living is to promote good health by virtue of living with the innate wisdom of nature. Modern life makes it more and more difficult to honor the changes of the seasons. It is up to us to create daily practices for connection, harmony and balance during Vata season. Here are some easy tools to stay on track.
Karen Barbarick-Collins is a Certified Ayurvedic Technician and Wellness Coach as well as a Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher. She is the founder of Bending Blade Healing Arts.