What to practice During Covid 19 ?
What is COVID 19?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). (1)
The disease was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, China, and has since spread globally, resulting in the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. (2) The disease is caused by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), previously referred to as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). (3) It is primarily spread between people via respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. (4) Constant hand washing/sanitization and not ignoring the symptoms of coronavirus such as sore throat, fever, cough, headache, and diarrhoea among others are of utmost importance during the rampant spread of COVID-19. Old age people, people who have chronic medical conditions such as heart issues, diabetes, lung disease and people with poor immune systems are at higher risk and more susceptible to contract the infection.
In this pandemic scenario either people are taking it as jest and putting own and other’s life at risk or making it too fearsome (too much fear, anxiety, stress, hording things, discriminating people who are working in hospitals or aviation). Even isolation or self-quarantine is a fearful or an alien concept to everyone which arouses mass confusion and panic. Self-isolation is not new concept in Yoga, yogic texts tell us about “Pratyahara”- seeing deep within, Pratyahara is a Sanskrit term meaning “withdrawal of the senses.” It is the fifth limb of Patanjali’s eightfold path of yoga. Social distancing and Lockdown period is to start the journey with in.
So what to do? How to be active to maintain the health and to improve our immunity during lockdown period?
Simple suggestions one can follow:-
Pranayama & Breathing exercises can help fortify the lungs, clear nasal passages and strengthen the respiratory system, clear out sinuses, creating a strong resistance to infection.
- Start your day with Jala neti (nasal cleansing) with luke warm salted water.
- Salt water gargle which clears your throat.
- Wash your eyes with eye wash cups.
- Then practice Kapalabhati Kriya (forceful or active exhalation passive inhalation 60 strokes into 3 rounds preferably thrice a day in present circumstances or as per your capacity) cleanses your respiratory tract. Avoid this practice in high BP, acidity, severe back pain, any recent stomach surgery, pregnancy and period days.
- Suryabhedana pranayama (right nostril breathing) inhaling from right nostril exhaling from left nostril do this pranayama for 10 rounds thrice a day to generate that heat which enhances the immunity of your mucous membrane.
- Sheetali pranayama breathing through tongue (folding tongue in pipe shape if you are unable to fold your tongue you can do your teeth touched and untouched place your tongue behind teeth and suck the air thru it) and exhaling through nostrils . Sheetali is to cool down the anxiety and stress. Because high stress or anxiety or panic or fear will decrease our immunity.
- Anuloma Viloma Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing). Helps to keep the upper respiratory tract in good condition and reduces stress level. Practice for 3 to 5 minutes Please wash your hands before and after practice.
- Ujjayi Pranayama (10-15 rounds) is useful to keep the trachea and bronchial area in good humour
- Meditation is very important in order to stay healthy and to keep our stress levels to a minimum.
- Meditation is known to help ease anxiety and stress due its relaxing effects on the body and mind. As we slow down our breath and focus on the present moment, it becomes much easier to let our worries slip away.
- If you’re new to meditation or don’t know how to start , just start by sitting cross leg position you can sit on folded blanket so that there is no strain on your knees, if you can’t sit on floor you can sit on chair, with your back against a wall or in a chair with a supportive back.
- Sit up tall, spine up right, neck and shoulders relaxed, feet on the floor if sitting on chair and close your eyes. Slow down your breath and turn your attention to the expansion of the chest and naval sinking as you breathe in and out.
- Be with your breath watch your breath be fully aware of your breath, it’s okay your mind will wander here and there gently bring it back don’t force yourself. Thoughts will come and go just don’t pay attention or don’t attached with them. Because meditation is not about stopping your mind—it’s about training the brain to come back to the present moment, irrespective of the thoughts that pass through our minds.
Yoga asana for Immunity:
Asana is rooted in “asa” which means to take a seat, to become, to establish, to dissolve, to be grounded, to be firm, to be easy and to be comfortable. In Patanjali Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called Ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. The eight limbs are as follows: – Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi.
Practicing inversions and forward bends is one of the best ways to strengthen our systems. When we go upside down, we boost blood flow through our lymphatic system, which is the system that cleanses toxins and moves immune-strengthening cells throughout our bodies. Inversions circulate our blood to our sinuses, which eases congestion as well as helps drain the lungs, protecting them from infection. Some inverted Yoga asanas are Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), sirsasna ( headstand), sarvangasana ( shoulder stand) Halasana (Plough Pose) and Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall) are all great choices for going upside down and getting your blood flowing.
Back bending or Heart opening poses or any pose that expands and broadens the chest, are great for defending against any lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Some immune-strengthening asanas include Bhujangasana (Cobra), and Ustrasana (Camel Pose) Matsyasana (Fish Pose) .These asanas also help with blood circulation around the chest and lungs, spreading healthy, virus-killing cells throughout this vulnerable area.
Few poses to practice for Immunity
Adhomukha Savanasana (Downward Facing Dog):
This inverted pose leaves you energized and rejuvenates the body. It increases blood circulation to the brain. Calms the mind and helps relive headache, insomnia, fatigue and stress.
How to do the pose: Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes in.
As you breathe out lift the hips up, straightening the knees and elbows, form an inverted V-shape with the body. Press your hands into the ground. Widen through the shoulder blades. Keep the neck lengthened by touching the ears to the inner arms, don’t let it hang. Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Then bend your knees to the floor with an exhalation and rest in Child’s Pose.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
This transitional inversion posture stretches your hamstrings, opens up your lower back and relieves tension in the spine and neck. Doing this pose properly, with the pelvis hinging forward and the lower back staying neutral, allows the spine to relax and elongate, increasing blood flow to the brain. The spine moves into the primary curve, known as the natural shape from when you were in the womb, subconsciously making you feel safe and comforted.
How to do the pose: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Spread your toes evenly on your mat. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips, keeping your back straight. With your knees straight or slightly bent, depending on your flexibility, rest your hands on a block or the ground beside your feet. Hollow out your belly. Inhale, lift and lengthen your torso. Exhale, relax and fold more deeply.
Prasarita Paddotanasana (wide-legged forward bend)
Sirsasana (Head stand)
This inverted pose, reverses the blood flow, bringing more oxygen to the brain. It detoxifies the adrenals which contributes to fighting depression Calms the mind. Strengthens the arms, legs and spine. Improves balance and immunity.
How to do it: Come to your hands and knees with the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips. Bring your elbows to the floor forearm’s distance apart. Interlace your fingers, tucking the outermost pinky underneath. Place the crown of your head on the floor cupped by your interlaced fingers. Bring the hips up as if coming into Downward Facing Dog. Walk the feet in towards your head until your hips are over your shoulders. Kick up one leg and then the other. Press down strongly into your forearms to keep all your weight from coming into your neck and head. Reach up through the balls of your feet and rotate the thigh bones inward slightly. Hold for at least 10 breaths. Beginners Practice the pose at the wall. Try to move further from the wall each time. Try removing one foot and then the other from the wall to practice balancing.
Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand)
Viparita Karni (Legs Up the Wall Pose)
This gentle inversion, which is often done near the end of a yoga practice, gets your legs above your head. Because you’re able to let gravity take over and allow blood to flow back down out of the legs, creates a sense of lightness within the legs and a feeling of relief. You can also do this pose with blanket and bolster.
How to do it: Lie down on your back, arms relaxed by your sides, with your sitting bones pressed up against the wall. Raise your legs above your head, pressing into the wall. Keep your back and head resting on the floor. For the most benefits, stay in this posture for 5 to 15 minutes.
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Rest in Adho Muhka Virasana, in case of knee issues rest in savasana (corpse pose)
Please practice according to your capacity, listen to your body please take medical advice before practicing.
A healthy diet and good sleep is very important. Eat healthy diet, avoid consuming alcohol, cold drinks or ice creams and chanting mantras or music also help in immune system. Spend your time in your favourite indoor hobbies, with family play indoor games like chess, carom board etc. Have Tulsi (holy Basil) tea twice daily for its antiviral properties. Use lime and ginger extensively .Turmeric in any form, ideally as tea. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-arthritis, good for many circulatory and digestive problems, for disease prevention and longevity.
Keep practicing, frequently wash your hands, eat healthy, sleep properly and avoid becoming overly anxious about the Covid 19 situation.
( 1) Hui DS, I Azhar E, Madani TA, Ntoumi F, Kock R, Dar O, et al. (February 2020). “The continuing 2019-nCoV epidemic threat of novel coronaviruses to global health—the latest 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China”. Int J Infect Dis. 91: 264–66. doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2020.01.009. PMID 31953166. )
(2) “WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19”. World Health Organization (WHO) (Press release). 11 March 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020.)
(3) ^ Lauer, Stephen A.; Grantz, Kyra H.; Bi, Qifang; Jones, Forrest K.; Zheng, Qulu; Meredith, Hannah R.; Azman, Andrew S.; Reich, Nicholas G.; Lessler, Justin (10 March 2020). “The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application”. Annals of Internal Medicine. doi: 10.7326/M20-0504. ISSN 0003-4819.)
(4) ^ Gorbalenya AE (11 February 2020). “Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus—the species and its viruses, a statement of the Coronavirus Study Group”. BioRxiv (preprint). doi:10.1101/2020.02.07.937862.)