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Autumn is upon us—and that means cold and flu viruses are lurking everywhere. How can you keep the bugs at bay? Sure, you can try the basics that many folks use: stay warm, perhaps schedule a flu shot, eat well. But you can also prevent colds and flu using ancient wisdom from yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda.

According to this holistic healing system, vata (ruled by the elements of air and ether) tends to increase in the fall. Often translated as “wind” or “that which moves,” vata’s qualities are cold, dry, light, mobile, and erratic. You can see these qualities manifesting outside: The leaves are getting brittle and dry, the temperatures are dropping (and fluctuating), and the wind is picking up speed.

These changes also affect the body-mind. Here is her list of telltale signs that your vata dosha is gaining too much momentum:

  • Dry lips, dry skin, dry nasal passages
  • Constipation, gas, bloating
  • Earaches, tinnitus
  • Insomnia, disrupted sleep patterns
  • Cold hands and feet, sensitivity to cold
  • Feeling restless, depleted, weak
  • Forgetfulness, trouble concentrating
  • Hyperactivity (including excessive talking)
  • Nervousness, anxiety, fearfulness.

Six Ways to Prevent Cold and Flu Naturally

Reduce stress. Ayurveda and allopathic medicine agree that stress can reduce the functioning of your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to illness. One of the best ways to balance vata in the fall, is to reduce your stress level. Severe chronic stress lasting for more than one month can double your chances of getting sick when you’re exposed to a cold virus. To reduce stress, prioritize self-care and make sure your work and social responsibilities are manageable. Exercising daily also helps.

Get more sleep. Science backs up this Ayurvedic adage. People who get less than an average of seven hours of sleep nightly were three times more likely to catch a cold than those who regularly got eight or more hours of sleep.

Practice Alternate-Nostril Breath. To reduce excess vata and prevent congestion, At Ayurbeauty we recommend Nadi Shodhana, or Alternate-Nostril Breath.


Cleanse and protect your sinuses. The neti wash (a gentle form of nasal irrigation) and nasya (the nasal application of medicinal oils and powders) can help prevent (and treat) colds. The neti wash flushes out dust, bacteria, viruses, and excess mucus.

Nasya is a therapy aimed at lubricating the sinuses so they are less reactive to dryness and airborne irritants. To try it, lie down on a sofa or bed and tilt your head back as far as you can. Drop two to four drops of oil in each nostril and sniff the oil into the sinuses.

Slow down your yoga practice. Make sure that your yoga practice is nourishing instead of depleting, so that you reduce stress and boost immunity.

Give yourself a warm oil massage. An Ayurvedic self-care practice called abhyanga (a full-body oil massage, which you can administer yourself) is said to reduce anxiety, stress, and excess vata. Using organic sesame oil in the fall, as its warming qualities counteract the season’s cold, dry nature.

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References: Six Ayurvedic Tips For Staying Healthy This Fall / Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health –


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