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What Ayurveda and Yoga has to offer in the fight for Coronavirus?

Oct, 2020 - By CMI

What Ayurveda and Yoga has to offer in the fight for Coronavirus?

Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system with historical roots in India where health and wellness depend on the balance between the mind, body, and spirit whereas yoga is a practice. This Sanskrit term ‘Ayurveda’ also means ‘Science of Life’; Ayus is Life and Veda is Knowledge or Science.

 What is Ayurveda and Yoga?

Originating in India, throughout the century’s, surviving and flourishing till date, natural practices, observations, discussions were continued and concluded that Ayurveda is gaining the knowledge of the human body. Ayurveda believes five basic elements Pancamahabhutas (space, air, fire, water and earth) manifest in the human body as three basic humors known as tridosas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Ayurveda and Yoga is day-to-day practice to improve immune system and focusing on body’s natural tendency towards health and self-healing, developing inner awareness. Practicing yoga increases flexibility, muscle strength and tone, improves respiration and metabolism, and helps in reducing weight. Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which is known to have ill effects on the body and mind. 

Corona – Covid-19

Covid-19 or corona is an illness caused due to novel coronavirus 2, now called as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus -2 (SARSCoV2).  Analysing the study, many patients were reported with fever, dry cough, fatigue, and minimal respiratory distress at initial stages. Notifying all the factors, COVID-19 can be considered as a Kapha-Vata jwaram meaning fever caused by disbalance in Kapha and Vata, with Pitta in the beginning. And in later stages developing the disbalance in all three doshas in a certain subset of the patient.

Patients not suffering from any chronic ailments have an overall fatality rate of 0.9%. The case fatality rates of those above 60 years is varying from 3.6% to 14.8%. The case fatality with people suffering from other issues like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases or hypertension is around 6% to 10%. The virus progresses into 5 stages from no symptoms, mild symptoms, fever, fatigue, severe pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) to Septic shock.

Why Ayurveda and Yoga?

The experience and lessons from the earlier Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic has led to better approaches and strategies in public health and medical care. Conventional mainstream medicine is at the forefront when it comes to curbing this disease, especially at the critical care stage. Ayurveda can be used to take precautions during such a pandemic. This is the next big thing in alternative health! In this ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the word immunity has become a buzzword as people are focusing to enhance their body’s natural defence mechanism, which helps to fight the novel coronavirus or any other viral diseases. Ayurveda experts have found that several medical herbs such as neem, giloy, amla and shilajit are helpful in strengthening the immune system which is key to fighting the virus.

Nowadays, people have started realizing the advantages of Ayurveda and opting for various precautionary measures for a healthier lifestyle. However, it is taught in the Ayurvedic philosophy that in order to live a healthy, productive life one has to balance their mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Based on the philosophy, health is dependent upon a person living in harmony with their internal and external world.

Yoga and Meditation for Mental health

While the popularity of this ancient healing technique began long before the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people seem to be turning to the practice of Ayurveda and yoga to relax, boost the immune system to help fight off infections, including the one caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for everyone, profoundly painful for others, and can be a trigger for emotional distress in most of us. Acute COVID-19 infection and the economic effects of social distancing are not the only issues we need to address during this pandemic. The beneficial effects of meditation and yoga practices works as an additional precaution for COVID-19. Daily practice of yoga and meditation can help boosts human immunity.

Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths possibly raise stress and anxiety, while loneliness and depressive feelings are likely due to mandatory social distancing measures. Adding pranayamas, the practice of breath control, in daily routine can make lungs more efficient. Breathing exercises can help manage respiratory ailments which improves immunity, helps reducing stress and enhances quality of life. Pranayama is considered as one of the best exercises for lungs. Breathing techniques such as Anulom Vilom, Bhramari, Ujjayi pranayama, Kapalbharti and Bhastrika can benefit health in many ways, improving weight loss and dealing with stress related disorders. A number of studies back up the idea that regular practice of yoga and meditation can help increase lung capacity, manage health conditions that put you at risk of contracting COVID-19. According to yoga experts, regular practice of pranayama or breathing techniques make your lungs more efficient among several benefits.

Living in the moment is mindfulness and meditation is an exercise needed to practice mindfulness. Daily meditation for 15-20 minutes can help you relieve anxiety issues, recovers sleeping disorder, and many more.

Practices during Covid-19

The general practices recommended by WHO such as washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based disinfectant that kills viruses that may be on your hands or a minimum distance of one meter in front of anyone who sneezes or coughs should be maintained. Following is a list of approved practices that can help you boost immunity especially during the current times which is released by the Ministry of Ayush:

These include,

  1. Drinking warm water throughout the day
  2. Daily practice of yoga. This can include Yogasna, Pranayama, and meditation for at least 30 minutes daily.
  3. Incorporate spices like Turmeric (Haldi), Cumin (Jeera), and Coriander (Dhaniya) in daily cooking. These spices are known to help boost immunity through the study of Ayurveda.
  4. Take one tablespoon full (10gm) of Chyavanprash every morning. However, diabetic patients should make sure they only have sugar free versions.
  5. Drink herbal tea / decoction (kadha). This kadha should include Tulsi (Basil), Dalchini (Cinnamon), Kalimirch (Black pepper), Shunthi (dry ginger), and Munakka (Raisins). Jaggery (Gur) and or fresh lemon juice can also be added according to taste. Drink this concoction at least twice a day.
  6. Golden Milk - Add half teaspoon of Haldi (Turmeric) in a glass of warm milk and drink it once or twice a day.
  7. For dry cough and sore throat, steam inhalation with Mint (pudina) leaves or Ajwain (caraway seeds) once a day.
  8. If suffering from cough and throat irritations, take mixture of Lavang (clove) powder mixed with sugar or honey once or twice a day.

Other ayurvedic practices that can be followed every day needless experiencing symptoms or not:

  1. Nasal application - Applying sesame oil or coconut oil or Ghee in both the nostrils (Pratimarsh Nasya) in the morning and evening.
  2. Oil pulling therapy – Take one tablespoon of sesame or coconut oil in the mouth. Do not drink, Swish it in the mouth for 2-3 minutes and spit it out. Rinse the palate with warm water afterwards. This can be done once or twice a day.

Common yoga protocols which are advised to practice twice or thrice a week for 10 minutes, 20 minutes or 45 minutes should include:

I. Starting Prayer - 1 minute
II. Loosening Practices

Neck bending,

Shoulder movement, 

Trunk movement,

Knee movement
III.

Yoga Practices

Asanas performed in standing posture

Tadasana,

Vrikshasana,

ArdhaChakrasana,

Trikonasana

 

Asanas performed in sitting posture

Vajrasana,

Ushtrasana,

UtthanaMandukasana,

Vakrasana

  Asanas performed while lying on the stomach

Makarasana,

Bhujangasana,

Shalabhasana

  Asanas performed while lying on the back

Setubandhasana,

Utthanapadasana,

ArdhaHalasana,

PawanaMuktasana,

Shavasana

IV. Kriya

Kaphalabhati

V. Pranayama

Anulom-Vilom,

Ujjayi Pranayama,

Bhramari Pranayama

VI. Dhyana

The Meditation

These are the Common Yoga Protocol of IDY (International Day of Yoga) that were developed by a team of leading Yoga experts / Yoga Masters that include safe practices to improve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Regular practice on empty stomach is recommended to improve immune resilience.

Natural and organic lifestyle!!

Natural and organic lifestyle is the booming trend as organic foods are composed of the natural and organic ingredients that are cultivated as per standards of organic farming. They do not contain any artificial preservatives to sustain a longer interval of time. Learning to eat natural and healthy food can be achieved by eliminating consumption of processed food from diet, buying locally available natural foods, choosing salads over sweets, cooking meals with the proper proportions of staple items. Making healthier lifestyle choices such as adding yoga breathing techniques to your daily routine and practicing good hygiene will go a long way in preventing the spread of COVID-19.