How Yoga can help in fighting coronavirus?

The coronavirus outbreak has left scores of people anxious and in fear of infection. Updates on social media and the news do not make it easy as they continue to inform people about new infections every day. Scientists and researchers, on the other hand, are making frantic efforts to invent vaccines and antivirals for this novel coronavirus.

Besides taking the outlined preventive measures like washing your hands, keeping a safe distance from people who are coughing, and staying at home if sick, it is essential to take a holistic approach to keeping healthy. Coronavirus symptoms can be managed, and one effective way to do it is by having a healthy immune system.

Apart from keeping the mind relaxed and calm, Yoga has proved to boost one’s immune system. Research shows, this ancient mind-body therapy helps manage stress, arthritis, depression, blood pressure, pain, asthma and boost the immune system.

Yoga Class

Most people practice Yoga to improve flexibility, posture, increase a sense of peace and minimize stress. However, according to the same study, longer and more frequent Yoga sessions enhance one’s immunity, an essential factor for preventing infection and recovering from COVID-19 once infected. The following text explains some yoga exercises to help boost immunity and fight the virus.

1. Breathing and Sitting

The simplest way to boost your immunity is to practise deep breathing. This yoga exercise is also known as Pranayama and Sukhasana. The latter is a traditional pose for meditating to allow optimal breathing and movement of fresh energy (prana) throughout the body.

Taking deep breaths helps the mind relax, reduce the production of stress hormones and encourages a healthy heart rhythm. The exercise also requires participants to breathe in using a U-shaped tongue for three minutes which is believed to reduce fever.

For optimal results here’s how to perform the Pranayama and Sukhasana:

  • Find a comfortable place to seat with your legs crossed.
  • Stack your head over your shoulders and shoulders over your head with the chin slightly tucked in the chin, so the crown of the head appears tall.
  • Take at least ten deep breaths while remaining rooted in your seat.
Sukhasana Exercise

2. The Cobra Pose

Also known as Bhujangasana, this Yoga pose stimulates the Thymus, an organ responsible for the production of T-cells to fight against a cold or flu. The thymus is located behind the chest bone, and it is the first organ to react to any form of flu infection.

The Cobra pose leaves your body feeling revitalized amid any dull flu-like symptoms associated with coronavirus by providing a boost of energy.

Here’s how to perform the pose:

  • Lie flat on your stomach.
  • Pull your upper body (shoulder, hands and chest) upwards.
  • Take 2-3 deep breaths in that position and exhale.
Bhujangasana Pose

3. The Supported Fish Pose

It is also known as the Matsyasana variation yoga pose. The exercise provides restorative benefits by boosting one’s energy levels.

What’s more, it targets the lung region to help relieve any congestion and open up the lungs. Proper alignment is critical to enjoying the benefits of this yoga exercise. As such, you need to grab pillows or blocks to support your head, neck and shoulders.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your back and place the yoga block under the midsection of your back to ensure the chest is lifted and the head and neck drop backwards comfortably.
  • If this posture is a bit extreme, it will help if you tried the modified option, i.e. resting the neck, head and spine on the full length of the yoga block.
  • Extend your arms to the sides and take 5-10 breaths in that position.
Matsyasana Pose

4. The Seated Spinal Twist

Its native name is Ardha Matsyendrasana. The premise for this pose is to eliminate improper digestion that causes toxins to build up. The toxins can cause infection or inflammation and Yoga poses that twist or compresses the stomach help with digestive issues hence boosting immunity.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Seat on a yoga mat with the legs extended in front of your body.
  • Bend the right knee and cross the right foot over the right knee and keep it firm on the floor.
  • Place your left arm behind your body resting the fingertips or palm on the floor.
  • Bend the right elbow and cross it over the left knee.
  • Maintain that position and take 5-8 breaths. Release the twist and straighten your legs to perform the exercise on the opposite side.
Ardha Matsyendrasana Pose

5. Legs Up the Wall

It is an excellent yoga pose for keeping your nervous system grounded and managing stress which compromises your immune system. The inverted posture helps the lymph fluid move through the body to fight infection.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit close to a wall and bend your knees while leaning against the wall
  • Slowly extend the legs against the wall to assume a straight posture.
  • Then extend your arms to the side, close the eyes and breathe.
  • Maintain this posture for 10-15 minutes.
  • If your hamstrings are feeling a bit tight, bend the knees, taking your butt further from the wall to allow the body to ease into this pose.
Stretching Exercise

6. Downward Dog

This yoga pose encourages the sinuses to drain relieving congestion caused by the flu-like symptoms evident in people who have coronavirus. This is because the pose moves the white blood cells throughout the body to fight infection. The mucus membranes and sinuses are the first defence systems against infection, thus keeping them healthy will boost the immune system.

Here’s how to do it:

  • From a standing position, bend and place your hands on the floor.
  • Extend your hands away from your body and ensure they have the same width as your legs (hip-distance).
  • Hold this position and take 5-10 breaths.
Adho Mukha Svanasana Pose

Conclusion

The exercises not only boost your immune system but also help your mind to relax amid the uncertainty that has overwhelmed many people. This coupled with the preventive measures recommended by the CDC, should help keep safe and ready to fight any coronavirus infection. Also, keep thoroughly informed about coronavirus mode of transmission.

Dr. Divaanshu Gupta

Dr. Divaanshu Gupta is a cardiac anaesthesiologist in Manipal Hospital, Jaipur. He has done his M.B.B.S. as well as M.D. Anaesthesia from S.M.S. Medical College. He has a vast experience of working in various critical care units of government as well as corporate hospitals.

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