COVID- 19 And Yoga For Immunity

COVID- 19

Defence or resistance against infection and other toxins to human body is called immunity. Strong Immune system and metabolism of a body defines the longevity of a person’s life. Different components of human body for example white blood cells, bone marrow, antibodies, lymphatic system etc. constitute our immune system. If immune system of a body is weak then that person is likely to catch infections and fall sick very easily. There are more than hundred known deadly disease associated with weak immune system are found globally. We at Vyoma Yoga in Rishikesh, India conduct several retreat programs which help you to detox your body and boost your immunity to fight against any kind of viral or microbial threat.

Weak immune system is always prone to fungal, bacterial or viral infections. Few commonly known viral disease are common cold or flu, chicken pox, measles, mumps, hepatitis, polio, Ebola, hanta, HIV, SARS and the latest Corona or COVID 19. Let me discuss about COVID 19 a respiratory infection, a pandemic, it has already spread in more than 210 countries, having confirmed cases of more than 2,830,051 people are infected and about 197,245 people lost their lives due to this virus.

Widely spread virus and out of control situation lead to severe infections and from those infected people only few are getting survived otherwise large number of deaths are reported from different parts of the world. So many countries in the world are facing lock down where everybody is forced to confine himself in their house. The impact of virus is so severe that about 100 countries has closed national borders and movement of people and goods have come to a halt. United Nations has predicted that world’s best economies are shrinking by more than 1%.

The point of discussion is that although infection is extensively spread but people having strong immune system are not easily infected and in case if one gets infected their strong immunity comes into action and saves his/her life. When a person gets viral infection first it attacks his respiratory system then heart then stomach and then whole body.

There is no cure for a virus infection but only vaccination can prevent them from spread. But what should we do when there is no vaccine available for such latest viral threat. Now doctors are inducing only combination of previously developed vaccinations but it is only hit and trial method, not a sure- shot medicine. What is the alternative? Our own resistance to disease?

What we conclude till now- that if the immunity of a person is strong then there is little chance of him getting infected. If in any case gets infected then defence mechanism of the body helps to recover itself.

The question strikes how to boost your immunity and metabolism of your body.

The answer is to choose a healthy life style, do yoga or exercise regularly and eat healthy food. Do not stress and don’t drink or smoke even. Keep you hygiene and get adequate sleep. What if you improve your diet. There is a connection between nutrition and immunity. Just like a healthy diet and exercise can contribute to general good health. High protein diet including dairy products and vitamin C rich vegetables and fruits like bell pepper, orange, lemon, amla (Indian Gooseberry), papaya and kiwi can certainly help as vitamin C helps to build white blood cells, which are key to fight infections. We should include Turmeric, garlic, and ginger, green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, flax seeds, and almonds in our diet. Green tea is also a good Immunity booster.

And how YOGA can help us.

To keep away environmental assaults Sun Salutation and Pranayama are the most effective techniques in yoga to combat such medical emergencies in the society. All the asanas or pranayam must be performed strictly under the observation of an expert. Let me describe them in brief about techniques and the benefits associated with them.

Sun Salutation or ‘Surya Namaskara’

As everybody knows the heat and light we receive from the sun is essential for plants, animals and so to the humans. Since centuries it is already acknowledged that Sun is responsible for almost all the natural phenomenon existing on the earth or say universe. So to greet or salute the sun, ‘Surya Namaskara’ came into practice. Most people in India worships sun as a deity. Now let’s know about it. The most basic yoga practice Sun Salutation or ‘Surya Namaskara’ has a sequence of 12 powerful asanas. The best time to start the asanas is before sunrise. One should be empty stomach and should repeat all the poses at least 6 times, starting from 2 rounds in the beginning and can be reached up to 12 rounds gradually to get the maximum benefits. Surya Namaskara consists of following 12 asanas. Let us take a glimpse of the asanas and their benefits.

  1. Pranam asana (Folded hand prayer pose)
  • Maintains balance or posture of the body
  • Stimulates Central Nervous System
  1. Hasta Uttan asana (Raised arms Pose)
  • Stretching, abdominal muscles toning
  • Full intake of oxygen through expanded chest
  1. Hasta Padasana (Standing forward bend)
  • Flexibility of waist and spine
  • Movement of hips, shoulders and arms
  1. Ashwa Sanchal asana (Equestrian pose)
  • Good for sciatica, indigestion and constipation
  • Strengthening of leg muscles
  • Flexibility of spine and neck
  1. Danda asana(Plank pose) or Phalak asana
  • Strengthening of arms and back
  • Shoulders, chest and spine stretching
  • Calmness of mind

  1. Bal asana (Child pose) and Ashtanga Namaskara Asana (salute with eight limbs)
  • Flexibility of back and spine and strengthening of back muscles
  • Reduces tension and anxiety

  1. Bhujanga asana (Cobra pose) or Urdhva Mukha asanas
  • Stretches chest, shoulders and back
  • Increases flexibility
  • Revitalises heart
  • Good for mood elevations

  1. Adho Mukha Shvan asana (dog pose facing downward)
  • Arms and leg muscles strengthening
  • Blood flow enhance in spinal cord region

  1. Ashwa Sanchal asana (Equestrian pose)
  • Best for abdominal region organs
  • Flexibility to leg muscles
  • Flexibility of spine and neck

  1. Hasta Padasna (Standing forward bend)
  • Flexibility of waist and spine
  • Movement of hips, shoulders and arms

  1. Hasta Uttan asana (Raised arms Pose)
  • Stretching of full body, abdominal muscles toning
  • Full intake of oxygen through expanded chest
  1. Pranam asana (Folded hand prayer pose)
  • Maintains balance or posture of the body
  • Stimulates nervous system


Summation of Sun Salutation Benefits
Maintenance of the body
: Sun salutation helps to maintain different systems of the body. Respiratory system — improving the lungs health and preventing asthma and tuberculosis like disease, circulatory system — the circulation of the blood preventing blood pressure and heart diseases. Stimulation of central nervous system.

Dosha balance: Sun salutation helps to balance kapha, vata and pitta dosha (three fundamental bio elements in body according to Ayurveda) generated in the body. They need to be balanced to keep a human body healthy.

Weight management: Sun salutation is an effective method to lose weight from hips, thighs, abdomen and face, with few stretching exercises only. It is very effective to attain BMI i.e. Body Mass Index. It helps to regulate endocrine system specially thyroid gland, improve digestion, skin toning, and also regulates problems related to female reproductive system.

Pranayam or Breath Control

“As breath stills our mind, our energies are free to unhook from the senses and bend inwards.” BKS Iyengar (Light on Life)


Pranayam is breath manipulation or being able to control the movement of prana- the vital energy in the body, in Yoga it helps to boost our physical and mental health. Prana enables the mind to develop beyond the narrow boundaries of the body. In Sanskrit ‘pran’ means breathe and ‘ayam’ means control. Pranayama is actually focussing on breath by using different organs to inhale and exhale air. There are six pranayama, most important, very easy to practice which are the most useful to keep your mind and body strong as well. They are Ujjayi pranayama, Kapalbhati pranayama, Bhastrika pranayama, Anuloma- Viloma pranayama, Bhramri pranayama, and Udgith pranayama. Let us understand them one by one.


Ujjayi Pranayam

Ujjayi a Sanskrit term means ‘to be victorious’, victory over stress, tensions, fatigue and negativity. It is a diaphragmatic breath technique. In ujjayi we inhale with nose filling lower belly, rib cage, lungs and throat with air hold it and exhale through mouth, making haah sound.

Benefits

  • Improves mental clarity, focus and concentration
  • Releases tension, stress strengthening of nervous system
  • Removes waste from body
  • Regulates heating of body and stimulates energy channels in the body called Nadis


Kapalbhati Pranayam
The literal meaning of Sanskrit word Kapal + bhati pranayama means skull shining breathing techniques.
This is forceful throwing of breath out from body.


Benefits

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Increases metabolic rate and helps in weight loss
  • Cures digestive problems like acidity, constipation and ingestion, helps absorption of nutrients etc.
  • Rejuvenate brain cells and empowers nervous system
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Removes toxins from the body


Bhastrika Pranayam
Literal meaning of Bhastrika a Sanskrit term means bellows. Breathing through both nostrils, filling air in lungs and exhaling with a hissing sound is the Bhastrika pranayama.


Benefits

  • Improves concentration and calms mind
  • Improves circulation of blood
  • Protects from heart disease
  • Relieves from stress, depression and hypertension
  • Cures asthma, headaches, migraine, and neurological disorders

  • Anuloma- Viloma Pranayam
    Alternate nostril breathing i.e. closing one nostril and breathe in from other and then closing it and breathe out from first. Practicing this alternatively is called Anuloma- Viloma pranayama.


    Benefits

    • Removes heart blockages, cures high BP
    • Stress, depression, anxiety releases naturally
    • Cures allergy, asthma, and sinus


    Bhramri Pranayam

    Humming bee in Sanskrit is known as bhramri and breathing like him is Bhramri pranayama. Exhaling the air while making humming sound by saying ‘Om’ sound keeping your moth closed is known as Bhramri pranayam.


    Benefits

    • Cures sinus and BP problems
    • Effective against tension, anger, stress and anxiety
    • Cures nervous system problems
    • Very effective for pregnant women for easy child birth


    Udgith Pranayam
    Inhale deeply and exhale chanting long ‘O…mmmmm’ as long as you can feeling positive energy filling you deep inside is what Udgith pranayam states.


    Benefits

    • Controls high BP, calms the mind
    • Cures acidity, insomnia
    • Relieves anger, tension, stress and anxiety


    Now you must know Surya namaskar and pranayama techniques offer remedies in yoga against deadly covid 19. I have explained several immunity booster asanas and health benefits associated with them. As of now most of the countries are observing lock down. Air is cleaner and pollution is negligible. I think it is high time to boost your immunity through practicing yoga and adopting a healthy life style and eating healthy food. During lockdown and also a long period after that is crucial for mental health of many people. Losing loved ones on one hand and jobs on the other hand due to this endemic and coping with mental stress won’t be easy for anybody.
    At Vyoma yoga, Rishikesh in India I urge people all over the world to enhance their physical and mental health by practising yoga and get benefitted.
    सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
    सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद् दुःखभाग्भवेत् ॥
    ॐ शांतिः शांतिः शांतिः

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