Lockdown Learnings from THAC – The Health Awareness Centre

The Health Awareness Centre, Mumbai is Dr. Vijaya Venkat’s creation and her instrument to bring a “healthy” change in all our lives. Her daughters run it now and every post of theirs is worth its weight in gold. For me Vijaya Mami, as I called her, was way ahead of her times. The way of leading a healthy life that she taught me and thousands of people is being proven right, especially in these times of the Covid19 pandemic. Her advise of eating wholesome nutritious vegetarian food and building the body’s natural immunity are becoming the only weapons available to fight this pandemic !! I think of her everyday and thank her every single day because she truly made our lives better by being a part of it.

A couple of days back, the THAC FB page had a post on “De-Activation” which was outstanding and much needed in these crazy times. I am re-posting it here. The link to the original post is – https://www.facebook.com/159193870871061/posts/1646981678758932/

The article is pasted here for ready reference.


What does it mean to deactivate? Is it physical or mental? Is it yoga or is it meditation? Or is it tuning in to tune off?

At these times of lockdown when outside movement is restricted, when there is uncertainty around, when work from home extends beyond 9 to 5, when the kids and the elders need extra attention, when the meals have to be cooked, the dishes need to be done, and the list goes on and on. Is there a pause button?

The pause is important to continue, to reboot, the pause is to prevent a stop!

While we go about our days expending energy, what are some of the ways to rebuild our energy reserves? That is where the various forms of deactivation come in. We will look at some of the structural, functional, sensory, and mental deactivation forms and at what times one can use this. Although always keeping in mind to be guided by the body.

STRUCTURAL deactivation – Long hours of sitting or standing or being in a particular posture can create stiffness in the body. Structural deactivation helps provide the body with the much required movement and create space within for it to function. Here are some of the ways to do structural deactivation – hand stretches, body twists, neck rotation, shoulder rotation, the swinging of hands and legs, any movement that stretches your body, and thereby creates space.

FUNCTIONAL deactivation – This helps to cool down the body, to conserve the energy, to relax the nervous system. Some of the ways to do functional deactivation are – legs on a chair with the back on the floor, Shavasana, bathing before bedtime, ice packs on the belly, focusing on the breath, doing a body scan and consciously relaxing each part of the body, sitting on a chair and dropping head.

SENSORY deactivation – We absorb our world through our senses. They are overworked and active all the time especially with so much of use / overload of the phone, computer, television, traffic sound. And now with so much of zoom calls with the earplugs stuck in, the senses are zoom fatigued. Our senses communicate through the nervous system to the brain. Overactive senses lead to an overactive nervous system and brain. It is important to give our senses a break and relax the nervous system. Here are some of the techniques for sensory deactivation – face massage, gibberish, om or mm chanting, rose water eye pads, rose water or essential oils rubbed on palms, wrist, and feet.

MENTAL deactivation – When our sense is overactive, our brain is also overworked. We are constantly dabbling with what happened in the past and what to do in the future, especially with the uncertainties looming ahead. It is important to create space in the brain and give it much needed switch-off from time to time. The mental deactivation helps when one is feeling emotionally overwhelmed, when one feels ‘out of control’. Some of the ways in which we can do this are – writing on paper and throwing it away, singing, dancing, painting, doodling, knitting, any activity that brings joy to you.

Is there a best time to do these techniques? Yes, when you tune in, your body will indicate this. So make sure to stop amidst all that you are doing and ask yourself this question. Having said that one might need a trigger to ask this question. The trigger can be a reminder set on your phone or every time you step into the kitchen for cooking, or after you have cleaned up the dining table, create your own pattern. Instead of taking a long break like for 10 mins every 5 hrs, short breaks of 3 mins every 2 to 3 hrs will create the much needed relaxation for the body and mind during these times. So create the time, space, and energy through deactivation.

Now having looked at the various methods of deactivation and the times when one can use this, we can come to understand that deactivation is a way to shut off, to relax. This is different from yoga or meditation where one is doing the practices in an attempt to train the body and the mind.

Go ahead tune in to tune off!

Image Illustration: Ramya Raghavan


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