There is breath-taking beauty in the flame-coloured flowers of Gulmohar trees that dot the landscape as Vaishakha, the second month of Basant rtu, begins. This is meant to be a time of fresh beginnings and of hope. But for us this has become the time of loss and fear. We are struggling to come to terms with the sheer scale and scope of the Covid pandemic raging across India. We are exhausted and tired of the seemingly endless ravages of this pandemic. And most of all, we have begun to grieve – for the loss of friends, family, colleagues and even strangers. Because loss and the fear of loss touches us all. And what we all need is respite from the stress and anxiety.
But despite our fears and anxiety, the seasons turn. Perhaps it is in their turning, in the unstoppable forward march of time that we can find a moment of peace; a moment of respite however small from the grim reality that envelops us.
Vaishakha is a precursor to the stillness and heat of the oncoming Grishma rtu. But it is also a time of beauty – of trees rustling in gentle breezes, of birdcall that fills the air, of bees buzzing and drowsing along flowers. And in these small moments of beauty perhaps we can find relief.
Right now we are all experiencing stress. Prolonged stress can take its own toll on the body and the mind. Stress can trigger allergies, impact the functioning of the heart and weaken the immune system. It can lead to an imbalance in the body. So managing our stress levels is vital.
Shavasana: Regular practice of this simple Yoga asana can help us manage our stress levels better. Lie down on a flat surface such as a yoga mat or a rug. Keep your spine straight, and your arms relaxed by the sides of the body. Close your eyes and consciously relax all the muscles in the body. And then breathe. Evenly. According to Dr Vasant Lad, practising Shavasana daily offers tranquillity to the mind and rests the heart. He recommends practicing the asana for 10 to 15 minutes daily.
Stress-Relief Tea: Here are two herbal teas recommended by Dr Vasant Lad to offer relief from stress.
- Brahmi tea: Steep ½ a teaspoon of Brahmi in a cup of boiling hot water for a few minutes and then sip slowly.
- Herbal tea: Mix an equal amount of Brahmi + Bhringaraj + Jatamansi + Shankha Pushpi. Steep ½ a teaspoon of this mixture in a cup of boiling hot water for 10 minutes before drinking. According to him, “you can drink this tea 2 or 3 times a day for stress management”.
Laughter & Tears: Both, crying away your fears and worries, or forcing yourself to laugh are excellent ways of releasing stress and tension from mind and body. Pick the one that comes easier to you at this time and practise this form of natural release once a day.
At a time of mounting worry it is important to take care of your body and to bolster your immune system. Raw Mango or kairi, which becomes abundant in this season, is also excellent for your body. It offers a boost of vitamin C and vitamin B which helps with heart health, prevents dehydration by helping with sodium and other mineral imbalances in the body, stimulates the digestive system and helps with constipation and liver health. Here are two traditional and delicious ways to have raw mangoes.
1) Aam Panna: a traditional summer drink, Aam Panna offers the body vitamins and minerals while also helping it cope better with the increasing heat.
2) Kairi Chutney: Raw Mango chutney is a delicious accompaniment for any meal. Here is one simple recipe:
- 1 Raw Mango: peel and roughly chop the flesh
- Coriander: Wash and roughly chop a handful of fresh Coriander leaves along with stems
- Mint: Wash and roughly chop some Mint leaves
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Green chillies, Rock Salt & Roasted Cumin seed powder as per taste & a generous pinch of Hing (Asafoetida).
- Blend everything together adding a little water if required. Refrigerate and enjoy.
Difficult as it is, it is more important than ever for us to keep our spirits up, manage stress and remain hopeful. We can all but hope that this too will pass.