BY DR. PREMAL PATEL
THE FALL AND WINTER SEASONS offer a list of many wonderful things: beauty in
nature, relief from the summer heat, holidays, and family gatherings. Yet this is also the
season for some not-so-pleasant surprises—from dry coughs and sniffles to sinus infections and the flu. It’s a time when the immune system, and particularly the respiratory
system, may be working overtime. Therefore, now is the time to take action to support a
healthy immune system and response.
In Ayurveda, strong immunity is a function of developing a healthy agni (digestive fire)
and plentiful ojas (life energy or vitality). Eliminating ama (toxic build-up) from the body
is also essential. An imbalance of agni, ojas and ama leaves us susceptible to disease and
These Ayurvedic suggestions can help fortify your immune system by stoking the internal
digestive fire, promoting energy and vitality, and encouraging detoxification.
1. Cleanse Ama (built-up toxins)
Ama in the system can block energy channels and increase energetic stagnation, inhibiting
the ability of the digestive fire to convert nutrition into healthy tissue and diminishing the
body’s ability to rejuvenate itself.
While a traditional seasonal cleanse (Ayurvedic pancha karma) is a great option, ongoing detoxification or removal of ama throughout the season is important. Try sipping on
hot water or ginger tea or eat some fresh shredded ginger with lime and a pinch of salt
If your system struggles with having soft, daily bowel movements which are essential to
remove waste, consider herbal supplements such as sat isabgol or triphala.
2. Practice Yoga Poses and Pranayama for the Immune System
Use yoga to stoke the digestive fire, boost the immune system, and optimize the flow of
prana. Practicing yoga poses as a part of your daily routine will bring vitality and energy.
Stimulate the thymus and expand the chest with deep breaths in bow, bridge, camel,
cow, and cobra. Support lymphatic circulation with downward dog and legs up the wall.
Kindle the digestive fire with twists such as triangle and seated spinal twists.
Pranayama breathing techniques harness the full power of prana. Alternate nostril
breathing can cleanse the sinuses and the nadis, bhastrika is used to strengthen and clear
the respiratory passages and lung tissue, and kapalabhati helps stoke the digestive fire
and cleanse toxins.
AYURVEDIC WISDOM FOR