The outbreak of the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, has been stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. As the World Health Organization officially declared the virus a pandemic, cities across the country are implementing preventative measures, like “social distancing,” to try to mitigate the number of cases and almost all the regular activities are coming to a temporary closure and pausing our busy lifestyle.

Strengthening immunity is the need of the hour!

What weakens our immune system?

Constant stress, less sleep, malnourishment, fast-paced lifestyle, anxiety etc. are typical sources that cause stress and weaken our immune system. A weakened immune system can lead to chronic infections, inflammation and autoimmune issues.

How can we strengthen our immune system?

Scientifically, breathing and meditation can help to enhance our immunity. Taking daily conscious deep breaths helps to balance the nervous system, reinforces the respiratory system, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and can even help activate the lymphatic system, which plays a major role in immune function. To combat the scary news and anxiety around it, yoga, deep breathing and meditation are highly effective and powerful tools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Harvard medical school recommend to take deep breaths, stretch and meditate. These tools won’t keep you free from disease. But they can certainly help you be free from panic, more able to protect yourself, and more in touch with your own inner wisdom and resilience.

I learned powerful breathing techniques and meditation almost a decade ago and have been practicing since then. Daily meditation practice has proven benefits in reducing stress, calming the mind, improving clarity of thoughts, better sleep, enhanced self-awareness, and the list of so many benefits is endless. I also teach meditation techniques as a volunteer teacher for the Art of Living Foundation, the largest volunteer based non-profit organization. The Art of Living Foundation is committed to creating a stress-free/violence-free society, through instruction in yoga and meditation. Art of Living is spread across 155 countries, more than 370 million people have benefited with the unique breathing technique and meditation. And it is right here in Norwalk.

You are welcome to free online meditation sessions and experience how to manage your stress and anxiety effortlessly. These sessions are directed by The Art of Living Foundation Instructors every day for 30 minutes from 7 to 7:30 p.m. You can choose to join one or all of the sessions, as your schedule best accommodates, with no obligation using the same web conference link you will receive when you register to any one session.

In these 30-minute sessions, you will learn simple and effective breathing exercises, obtain peace and a calm mind with a unique guided meditation, and manage stress and anxiety.

Guided meditations require no preparation or training. While many people find it difficult to meditate, guided meditations and doing it as a group make it easy for anyone to practice.

I hope that bringing people together for peaceful online meditation will raise awareness, and inspire the public to stand together for building a peaceful society.

Please email shubhadad@artofliving.org to receive a free online meditation session link.

Also, the Art of Living Foundation has a meditation app which supports a number of meditations. Go to https://members.us.artofliving.org

Shubhada Dantale is a Norwalk resident and an instructor with the Art of Living Foundation USA.