New Delhi: COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense misery throughout the world. People’s physical and mental health have taken a toll and we still do not know when things will turn back to normal.
However, we can inculcate healthy lifestyle changes to help us sail through these trying times. One beneficial habit to make part of our daily routine is to practice yoga.
YOGA FOR POST COVID-19 RECOVERY
If you are someone who has recently recovered from COVID-19, add yoga to your daily routine for speedy recovery.
“For people who have recovered from COVID-19 infection, it becomes especially important to get back their health and build immunity. Apart from a proper diet and ample sleep, yoga can be a good way to help in the recovery process because the asanas are known to help boost energy,” says Dr Jyoti Waghmare, Physiotherapist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune.
She further elaborates, “Since the Novel Coronavirus primarily attacks the human respiratory system, the focus should be on improving the natural mucociliary clearance mechanisms of the respiratory system and lung capacity. Breathing exercises like kapalbhati and pranayam can work well on your breathing mechanism. Many Yoga asanas are especially focused on restoring the lungs’ function and helps to pump oxygen-rich blood to all cells of the body.”
YOGA FOR MENTAL WELLBEING DURING THE PANDEMIC
The Ministry of Ayush suggests that Yoga is known to play a significant role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients, especially in quarantine and isolation.
Apart from physical ailments, people are undergoing huge mental stress because of the pandemic.
Losing a loved one to the disease, post COVID blues, a crumbling economy leading to job losses, a drastic change in everyday lifestyle and an overall atmosphere of uncertainty that is looming large over everybody – are multiple factors that have wreaked havoc with people’s mental health.
“The practice of yoga is extremely beneficial not just to your physical health but also to your mental wellbeing. The physical benefits of yoga include elasticity, muscle strength, improved respiration and much more,” shares Janvi Sutaria, Clinical and Health Psychologist, Mpower – The Centre, Mumbai.
She further elaborates, “The pandemic has caused a surge in negative states due to feelings of uncertainty, fear of contracting the virus, financial difficulties, trauma, and loneliness. The fact is that feeling excessive amounts of anxiety and stress in itself makes one more vulnerable to the virus. Yoga is, therefore, an effective activity to not only curb worry but also protect oneself from infection.”
HOW YOGA PROMOTES MENTAL WELLBEING?
Janvi Sutaria explains exactly how yoga helps in improving our mental wellbeing. “Practicing yoga is directly linked with stress–reduction as it modulates the nervous system. It decreases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system – responsible for the “fight or flight” response – and increases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which triggers a relaxation response: the heartbeat slows down, muscles relax, and breathing becomes slower. Exercise is also known to increase your endorphin and dopamine levels (popularly known as the “pleasure” hormones) and decrease your cortisol levels, which is associated with higher stress.”
She continues, “performing the asanas and breathing activities enhances one’s sense of control and mindfulness of the present, which are useful in combating the uncertainty regarding the future.”