Lack of Exercise and Improper diet are the two common reasons for reduced immunity in today’s generation. Other than these reasons, Stress and Disturbed sleep patterns are causing many lifestyle disorders among people. Diabetes, Hypothyroid, Autoimmune diseases, Heart Diseases are not uncommon nowadays. It is high time we leave the Sedentary Lifestyle and embrace the Power of Yoga for the betterment of our health. Healthy People will build Healthy Community and it will ultimately build a Healthy Nation.
Importance Of Yoga & Meditation
Yoga and Meditation practiced together create the connection of mind, body, and soul and improves your overall wellbeing. The practice of yoga and meditation are interrelated to each other. Yoga and meditation teach us how our to breathe holds our body and mind together. Yoga teaches us to be thankful for each breathes we take in. In the past few decades, the popularity of yoga has been growing exponentially in India and the world. Recognizing its universal appeal, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga. The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.
- The practice of yoga improves your flexibility, physical strength, keeps you aware and grounded.
- The meditation helps in keeping your mind sharp, relieves you from stress and anxiety.
How is Yoga beneficial to combat COVID-19?
In the current situation, we all are under the fear of the Corona Virus. COVID-19 strain is new to humans, but the symptoms are similar to those of common flu. Boosting Immunity is the only preventive measure for any disease attack. When your body, mind, and soul are weak the endocrine system imbalances and pituitary gland malfunctions, which leads to hormonal imbalance in our body. This is the major effect that destroys our digestive system and leads to the accumulation of toxins in our body. The natural tendency of a healthy body is to discharge toxins periodically and cleanse the body, which gets blocked due to hormonal imbalance.
During the period of Covid-19 lockdown, many of us are stuck between the four walls which have created stress and anxiety. Few people are suffering from depression which is all due to an inactive state of mind and body. Yoga is the union of mind and body.
There are 5 Yamas and 5 Niyamas which are often seen as “moral codes” or ways of“right living”.They form the foundation of our whole practice and honoring these ethics as we progress along ‘the path’ means we’re always being mindful of each action, and therefore cultivating a more present and aware state of being.
1.Ahimsa (non-harming or non-violence in thought, word, and deed)
3. Asteya (non-stealing)
4. Brahmacharya (celibacy or ‘right use of energy’)
5. Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding)
1. Saucha (Cleanliness)
2. Santosha (Contentment)
3. Tapas (discipline, austerity or ‘burning enthusiasm)
4. Svadhyaya (the study of the self and the texts)
5. Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to a higher power)
These Yamas and Niyamas in yoga can prevent you from falling ill.
The best Niyama of yoga is Saucha (cleanliness) which is much required in the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining self-hygiene by using hand washes and sanitizers and taking bath after coming back home should be practiced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (any virus).
Medical science has not advised a cure for common cold or flu or coronavirus. Antibiotics which we take is just to prevent the spread of infection and reduce the symptoms like fever and throat pain. Immunity-boosting asanas, pranayama, and meditation should be included in our daily routine. Social Distancing will definitely help to protect us from Corona Virus but as we are entering into unlocking down at some point we have to go out and meet people,and during that time our Robust Immunity will protect us from COVID-19.
Yoga will also teach you about mindful eating. A light natural diet with seasonal vegetables, fruits rich in vitamin C and A, and taking more than 6 glasses of hot water with lemon juice during the day time are useful.
Steam inhalation with added turmeric for 10 minutes and practicing Jala neti kriya cleans head and eases breathing.
In case of cough, sore and inflamed throat, gargling with warm saline water, drinking hot soups and a cup of hot teas with hot spices (ginger, pepper, and cinnamon)
Management of stress and boosting immunity with Yogasanas
Stress management in everyday life elevates constant activation of the endocrine system, which boosts the immune system. Ancient Indian yogic methods have excellent healing effects on the total body. All of them are described as, meditative exercises as they involve relaxation, concentration, focus on breath, and gradual and purposeful movement which leads to self-awareness. Yogasanas pose twists and compression of organs, which help message and rejuvenate immune organs and channels. These key poses can create specific benefits to boost immunity by balancing vital energy in this pandemic.
1.Matsyasana (fish pose):
This Asan regulates thyroid gland function and stimulates the thymus gland boosting the immunity system.
2.Kurmasana (tortoise pose):
This Asan reinforces the thymus gland (Endocrine system) resulting in improved immunity.
3.Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downwards facing dog) :
This is a kind of forward bends and inversions which improves the flow of sinuses and helps to flush mucus from the lung.
4.Ustrasana (Camel Pose) and Bhujangasana (Cobra pose):
These are Chest and lung openers. These Asanas improve lung capacity and flush out mucous.
5.Restorative Yoga poses:
Paschimothanna asana( seated forward bend), Setu bandha asana (Bridge Pose), Supta matsyendrasana (Reclined Lord Of Fishes posture), Viparita Karani asana (Legs up the wall pose) , and Balasana (Child Pose)can provide healing benefits during low energy levels.
6. Surya namaskar ( Sun Salutations):
Regular practice of Surya Namaskar is helpful in building immunity. Start your day with Surya Namaskar, it is a great stress Buster and energizes you for the rest of the day.
How meditation will help you to get rid of Anxiety and Fear?
Anxiety, Fear, and Depression are serious invisible threats to our immune system. Stress, Anxiety, Depression, and Sleeplessness are major issues that need to be addressed. All these will cause confusion, distractions, and habit of forgetting things which will hamper our work life as well as personal life activities. We cannot control what is happening in the outside world but we can definitely control what is happening within ourselves. Meditation is the journey of self-discovery and fixes our thought process in a positive way.
Practicing meditation consistently (10-20 minutes/day) will help to overcome Anxiety,Fear and Depression and also help us to attain Peace, Happiness, and Contentment.
Meditation is a natural mental activity where your mind achieves a state of Peace. Meditation helps to bring contact with your divine consciousness. Meditation is not about thinking or concentration on something, it is neither sitting at one corner doing nothing. Meditation is more than relaxing, observing, and realizing our thoughts and emotions. For personal and professional growth one has to overcome stress and anxiety in their everyday life. Meditation is the only natural way to deal with everyday stress and tensions. Mediation improves self-confidence, calmness, inner peace, concentration, and clarity of mind.
- Different meditation techniques are easy to adopt but, still need will power.
1.Breathing techniques (Pranayama):
Focusing on the breath is always the best practice. Deep inhalation and slow exhalation using alternate nostrils breathing for 1-2mins will slowly turn you to the meditation state. Ujjayi breathing is best during meditation. Inhalation and exhalation breathe need to be directed through the throat.
Guided meditation helps you to practice and keep your focus only on meditation. It will enhance our focus and concentration capacities.
Repeated chanting of any mantra for 5-10 minutes will help you to settle down comfortably.
All the 7 energy centers in our body associated with the nervous system and brain were focused in a sitting posture.
The state of dynamic sleep with awareness is performed in a sleeping posture. One hour practice of Yoga Nidra is equal to four hours of sleep. This is the best medicine for people complaining of Insomnia & sleep Apnea.
While focusing on meditation techniques MUDRAS also plays an important role in restoring concentration. Some Mudras are mentioned below:
- Gyana Mudra: Index finger joins with thumb and the rest of the three-finger are straight and hand facing upward direction. Palm and fingers have many nerve root endings that circulate energy in the body. This helps in mental stability.
- Apan Mudra: Middle and ring finger towards thumb and rest of the two-finger are straight. This mudra removes all negative energies from our body and beneficial to women during menstrual cramp and helps indigestion.
- Vyana mudra: Index and middle finger join with the thumb. This mudra removes laziness and improves heart functioning.
- Prana Mudra: Ring and little finger join with the thumb. This mudra stimulates immunity improves vision and health.
Always remember this
Sit straight, close eyes, spine erect, stabilize breath, and practice meditation regularly at a fixed period (preferably early hours), along with a sattvic to fetch many health benefits.
Take Away Message
There are millions of people who are benefitted from practicing Yoga and Meditation in their daily life. People suffering from anxiety, overweight(with Co-morbidities), hormonal imbalances, post-surgery complications please consider Yoga for the betterment of health. Initially, you should do yoga and meditation under the certified yoga instructor. Gym and Intense workouts are dangerous for people with severe health ailments problems. So, Yoga and Meditation is the best way to reach Healthy and Holistic living. It is very difficult to stay positive when everything around you is negative. But, Your mind is the master of your body. Always stay inspired, stay motivated, and stay happy in your mind. Yoga and Meditation are the best tools to keep you fit physically and Mentally. It will positively drive your life. Practice Yoga and Stay healthy!!
About Dr. K. N. S Usha Kiranmayee,
- Internationally certified Yoga Trainer ( Bodhi Yoga Institute, Hyderabad), Holds certification of 200 hours of Yoga, Founder of Yogic Wellness (Yoga & Meditation Center, Patancheru, Hyderabad).
- Ph.D. in Genetics
- Visiting Scientist, @ ICRISAT.