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Holistic Health and Long Covid

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Anshu Bahanda: This is Anshu Bahanda on Wellness Curated. Thanks for joining me on this podcast. My mission is to empower you with health and wellness so that you can then go and empower others. 

So, I have with me today— Shobana Cooke. She’s a homeopath, a yoga teacher. She’s a pranic healer, vedic astrologer, and tarot card reader. Shobana has successfully worked with a number of COVID and long COVID cases. And as a homeopath and yoga practitioner, she’s been trained to treat the person, the individual, and not the disease. And she works to harmonize an individual’s energy flow in order to balance their mind, their body and their spirit. She believes that the real healer is actually within us. 

Shobana Cooke: Doctors, healers, and practitioners, I feel, are guides along the way.

AB: Yes.

SC : The real healer is each individual.

AB: Yes.

SC: And we all have this power. It’s just that some of us have spent a lot of time wanting to learn more and more about it, and some of us have spent time doing other things. But everyone has the same toolbox. The healing power is available to all and sometimes they just need a guide. And I see illness and disease as a portal almost to reconnect us if we have been broken in some way. So, it’s an opportunity sometimes that you don’t realize. It just puts together your mind, body and spirit if it’s been scattered. So, the medicine you choose, in the way that I think and as a holistic practitioner, is so important because the medicine can make that integration or it can also draw you further apart and scatter you more. So, it’s really important and it’s a very personal choice. Some people work best with acupuncture, some people work better with ayurveda. So, we have to honor the disease, we have to honor the preferences. I think one of the main things in this time that we’ve had is people didn’t know that they have this power to heal themselves. So, when you make doctors inaccessible and hospitals difficult to get to, people have so much fear. They kind of get paralyzed. Please take the fear away. We can do this. There’s lots of support out there and just look after your day-to-day practices, nothing major, very simple. Fresh air, sunlight, breathing, and healthy food. No one says you need to be a gourmet chef to eat healthily. But just simple living in the environment is not conducive for diseases to thrive. So, you’re already ahead of the game. And then, let’s say for whatever reason, you succumb to some disease. I know we’re talking about COVID and long COVID but I want to really make people understand that you don’t have to have a diagnosis to find relief. Sometimes people get really disillusioned because they’ve gone from doctor to doctor and they’ve done every test under the sun and they don’t have a name for their disease. Because you don’t have a name doesn’t mean you can’t have a treatment. Because you don’t have a diagnosis doesn’t mean that there’s no healing for you. It’s available because all it means is that your energies are deviated. We just need to harmonize it again. And then it doesn’t matter what the name of the disease is.

You’re back to health. So sometimes it helps us when there is this name, because then there are these protocols. Even though there are these protocols, you still have to tweak something, because the flu protocol for me and the flu protocol for you may not always be the same. So, protocols make it easy for us to be able to kind of pull it up and jump straight in. You spend less time, but still, if you don’t have success fast, you have to individualize the case. And that’s something holistic practitioners are really well skilled to do, be it acupuncture or ayurveda homeopathy. Any of the holistic energy practitioners can do this because that’s how they scan you. They diagnose you through these energy balances.

AB: Right. So, tell me, is that how you help people get well and stay well?

SC: Yes. So, for example, the immune system, let’s say somebody got the big ‘C.’

AB: Okay. So, the big ‘C’ in this discussion is COVID.

SC : Just for ease of reference, we’re going to call it the big ‘C.’ So someone got the big ‘C’ and they came to a person like me. And they have these symptoms. So, we have this moment. Then you can also understand where people become paralyzed: oh my goodness, have I got this dreaded thing? Because then you become almost like a leopard. Nobody wants to come near you. You have to isolate yourself. You feel terrible even though you are isolated, if you’re not looking after yourself in that isolation, it’s hard for you to come out of this. So, for us, as homeopathic or holistic practitioners, we need to understand first how you succumb to this disease. So, what happened in your life in the last week that you dropped your immunity and you got this, we have to go to that root cause and pull it up from there. So, let’s say the person said, “oh my goodness, my best friend passed away. I was devastated.” Then the remedies that we would choose for her, even though it’s the big ‘C’, the same big ‘C’ that the person next door to her is having, her weakness to be able to attract to this situation is because of her grief. So, we have to clear the grief first. We have to clear those emotions. Whereas the other person may have been on a bender at a party, drinking all night, didn’t sleep well, and had eaten terribly. We have to detox him of that, and he comes back to wellness. And this other person, we have to take away the grief. So, this is what I mean about individualization. Then there’s a middle portion where we can do a protocol where it’s like, okay, now these are the symptoms, classic symptoms of this; this is what you’re feeling; and then we take those aside. But we have to first clear the path with the root cause.

AB: Okay, so now explain to me what you mean by holistic health.

SC: So holistic health is, are we well in our mind? Are we well in our bodies? Are we well in our spirit? Sometimes we’re super fit. We have a great gym membership. We pay a lot of money to do lots of workouts, and we are apparently very fit. But we have a lot of anxiety. We have a lot of demons in our head maybe. We struggle with our eating or sleeping or whatever it is. So, then that means we need to balance this person, even though they’re very strong on the body side. We have to harmonize something between the spirit and the mind. 

For holistic health, we’re looking at all these three pieces and trying to bring them together. And I think one of the challenges is that people don’t see themselves like that. They kind of see themselves as I’m not my thoughts, but you’re all of it. The way in which I work with, also with, let’s say, a tarot or the vedic astrology, or the homeopathic case taking, is we get to know you at your core, at your essence. So, what are your fears, what are your phobias? That says a lot to us. So, then we’re able to come in and help calm down those things in order to integrate the person. So, it sometimes takes a while because you have to trust enough to reveal yourself.

And we all have shadow sides. The person who’s coming to us for healing has to feel safe enough to reveal themselves because otherwise, we can’t put the medicine in the right place. Whereas with the Western practitioner, you tell your symptoms and they’ll give you ABC and you go off. They don’t need to know whether your cat was sick last week or if you like your mother-in-law or not. That’s irrelevant. But for us, that’s all part of the picture. Even in the case of a COVID, it’s important for us to know who this person is.

AB: Okay, so I was going to ask you because I know you worked with people who’ve had COVID. How have you helped them?

SC: Yeah, we actually have and sometimes it’s been so seamless that people have then just gone on with their lives, and it didn’t seem like this big moment. But I think in terms of the long C, it’s stuff that you’ve ignored. It’s the housekeeping you didn’t do. So, when you got the C, it just really knocked you off your feet. And then you may have not taken energy medicine, you may have taken chemical medicine, but you didn’t deal with all the boxes that you were already carrying. And the C that I have seen and have worked with has a very big mental health piece. I feel, it really kind of takes the spark out of you and you feel very low energy and a bit depressed. So, you can’t shake that feeling off. It takes a while. So, with the long C, what happens is every time you meet the stress situation or every time you do a little too much, then it crashes again. We have to use homeopathic remedies or we use acupressure or yoga practices to kind of get them back on track. 

The recovery, which I had kind of told you is the important one post the C— the big or the small C, is almost like you have to refresh your whole vital force. You have to refresh your blood quality. Diet becomes a really important piece in this. Pomegranate, I have seen to be a star performer in the recovery process. The dried fruits, like dates and other dried fruits, but ones that don’t have the sulfur, ones that are more organic. King coconut water is phenomenal with replenishing electrolytes. So the king coconut is a different, completely different tree. It’s orange in color, it’s got a sweeter taste, and it has a very soft kernel. I think at Whole Foods and the Holland and Barrett’s of the world, you do have king coconut in a container. Now, in a protocol, we do this like a week of it, where you’re drinking that daily, you’re having the dates, you’re having the pomegranate, and you kind of put these things back into your system so you can replenish, really pick up the energy again. Because if you don’t, I find the crashing is frequent. So along with that, we’re also looking at the homeopathic remedies and the ones that seem to have performed really well in the post-C and the recovery has been almost for those who are familiar with homeopathy, like the acid force thing, where you’ve just lost that spark, where we need to kind of put that fizz back into your life. So, I find the camphor, the acid force, they’ve been fantastic to just pick people up. And sometimes people felt like they were not going to make it. They felt like they’ve given up, and you have to almost pull them out. And this is the part, I think, which is hard because we have been told that people need to be isolated and family can’t go see them. And you have been made afraid to look after your loved one because apparently, it’s so contagious you can’t do this. So, in that really depressing moment when actually love is the vibration and the frequency they need, that’s the medicine they can’t get. If you’re careful and your hygiene practices as a caregiver are in place, don’t be afraid to care for your loved one because they can’t do it alone.

AB: Wow, okay.

SC: They can’t do it alone because if you just, say, isolate them and see them in two weeks and they’re going to be better. There are a lot of emotional things they go through. If they get better from the C, it’s almost like they’ve fallen down on their mental health.

AB: You know this better than most people here because you’re an astrologer, but [the] mental health [of people] as it is has really suffered in the last two years. That’s very good advice you’re giving people that— don’t just desert people.

SC: There is a contagious element, but there’s a contagious element with a lot of other diseases too. It’s no different. But if everyone keeps their vibration high and this is why I choose to refer to it as the big C, is because we don’t want to keep strengthening this thing. We actually want to ignore it and we’re going to carry on with the practices we know so we don’t keep drawing it to us. There is something about constantly saying, I’m going to get sick, I’m going to get sick. And then you vibrate at that low frequency and you walk into something.

AB: What lifestyle change do you recommend that people stay healthy?

SC: I think it just needs to be simpler. Nothing that we can’t afford. We can go for a walk. We can eat simple, clean food. You don’t need to have so much. Like less is more. But I would say keep active, keep positive, really vibrate from that place of love and service. Because ultimately that’s what we’re all here to do and we need to help each other out. Like, we can’t walk away when someone’s fallen. Your neighbor, who may be used to really enjoy seeing you, says, “oh, hello, how are you?” You’re now afraid of her and she’s afraid of you. And fear is the worst thing I think we can do [this much] for ourselves at this time. I’m not saying run outside and hug everybody. We have to be careful. We can still interact. We can still find ways to support each other. You asked me about a healthy practice. I have to go back to yoga. I think that there are very simple practices. You don’t need to have a 1 hour long practice every day.

There are little things you can do. There are mudras, there’s breathing, maybe even it’s just one asana you want to do. Just do it. It’s like making a necklace. You just string one beat at a time and before you know it, you actually have done quite a bit. Keep it simple, and keep it small so that it’s sustainable. These 21 days, let’s say, we have goals, and we do these really intricate things, but we can’t keep that pace.

AB: Even to prevent the big C, keep it simple, is that right?

SC: I’m saying keep it simple because it’s a frequency. If you look after yourself day-to-day, your immune system and your vitality is going to be strong. So, you’re not going to be at that lower vibration. The vitamin C’s are doing very well. Vitamin D is probably the star of the pandemic. Our homeopathic echinacea is fantastic. And I wouldn’t take complicated precautions, I wouldn’t have multiple things that I have to do because it’s just not sustainable. I think we’re going to have to do this for a little bit longer. If you set something up too complex, are you going to have the stamina and the endurance to keep doing it? Whatever works for you, but I would say do your day-to-day stuff, do your work, do your workout, be that friend, be that sister, mother, be all of that.

AB: My question is the tips. Do you have any tips? Particularly now people are back to leading normal lives, right? Whether they’ve had the vaccine or not, they’ve decided, people have decided they’ll wear masks where they need to. The people who feel they need to have the vaccine, have had it. So, what can they do now? Can we give people some tips?

SC: Okay, so my tips would be in the yoga practice. I would still say those of you who can, the sun salutation practice is our vitamin D energetically. So, I would say that’s a great practice for people. For those of you who struggle with the traditional sun salutation practice, there’s great modifications on the chair practices. The chair sun salutations are equally powerful.

AB: The sun salutation, you said it helps get vitamin D. Is it meant to be done at a particular time?

SC: Yes, it is. So, the traditional sun salutation— Surya Namaskar practice is very scientific. So, we have to give a lot of gratitude and thanks to all the rishis and gurus who brought this knowledge down to us today. So, in the morning you face east and, in the evening, you face west when the sun is going down. Personally, I think yoga is not a religion, it just comes through the Hindu traditions down to us. But people can use whatever prayer or invocation they feel guided to. It doesn’t have to be a Hindu chant, but there are very specific sun mantras that just makes it really strong. So, you’re kind of getting it from the energy body, you’re getting it through your physical body and there is a synergy that takes place. Then you sort of sit down and you go into a quiet moment of breathing. The Nadi Shuddhi, which is the alternate nostril breathing, think of that as your cleanser. You’re cleansing both your Ida and Pingala nadis and you’re balancing yourself. Remember, we talked about harmonizing mind, body, spirit. So, the Nadi Shuddhi will help you harmonize. And the most important breathing practice is the Bhramari Pranayama

AB: Oh, Bhramari. Okay.

SC: Yes. Which is, I think in the west they call it the humming bee. There have been incredible studies about the potency of Bhramari Pranayama. Just three Brahmaries a day is more than enough. 

AB: Wow. Okay.

SC: So, I think my little practice, maybe seven, eight minutes, you can make it longer, you can make it more elaborate, but it needs to be something you can stretch and knot— those would be my tips. So, if yoga was my maintenance in my maintenance box and I added my vitamin C and my D, sometimes maybe I would alternate my C with homeopathic echinacea; you know, herbal teas, the tulsi teas, coriander teas are phenomenal. I’m not really saying you need to do much more than that.

AB: Okay, perfect. That’s fantastic. Now tell me, what advice do you have for the people?

SC: You lose your taste and you lose your smell. We are able to navigate this world through our senses. So, when two of them get taken out for us, we’re really confused. Because smells, tastes, sight, sound, and touch give us a lot of pleasure and it also gives us a lot of pain. It works both ways. So, when we remove two major senses, you have no joy from that. That, I think, is why the mind really collapses at some point, because then it just doesn’t have the strength. We eat what we eat because we like how it tastes or how it looks. So, when you can’t enjoy it, you start to deplete very fast. So, I would say in place of remembrance, you have two senses that are out of action. So, remember to use skincare routines. Like, touch is really important. Beautiful things to look at, like the flowers, listening to the music. Because you have to navigate without two.

AB: So, I’m going away with two very important things that you’ve said today. One was to keep everything simple. And that’s something that’s really stuck with me because you’ve said, just keep life simple. Don’t make it too complicated. Just go back to keeping life simple. And the other very important thing, which very few people say is that when someone has it (COVID), don’t just leave them be. They need love more than anything else. Thank you. That was a really useful chat and I hope we’ve helped lots of people with that. 

Thanks for joining us. Hope you enjoyed the Wellness Curated podcast. Please subscribe and tell your friends and family about it. And here’s to you leading your best life.