Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation can be three key ways to achieve our full potential. To reap the immune-boosting benefits of yoga, one must maintain a daily practice.
By Ruchi Khosla,
As Covid-19 directly affects physical, respiratory and mental health of an individual, Yoga and breath work can play a significant role in post-covid rehabilitation of an individual. Yoga asanas and breath work techniques help pump more oxygen and energy to your system, which assists in immunity-building. The relaxation led by Yoga aid the healing process, improving mental and emotional care for recovering Covid-19 patients. Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation can be three key ways to achieve our full potential. To reap the immune-boosting benefits of yoga, one must maintain a daily practice.
Shishuasana (Child pose)
Shishuasana is a common yoga pose, especially for beginners. It is an excellent pose to decongest the chest and relax the mind. To get started,
- Sit in vajrasana on your heels. Keeping your spine erect, inhale deeply.
- On an exhale bend forward and rest your chest on the thighs and head on the floor.
- Place your arms on the side of your heels, palms facing up.
- Hold this posture for 10 seconds and relax your body.
- Inhale, slowly come up and sit on your heels.
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
Setu Bandhasana is an inverted-back bending asana, also known as the Bridge pose. It helps improve blood circulation, along with increasing energy in the body.
- Lie down on your back, keeping your hands beside your body, palms facing down.
- Bend your knees and keep a comfortable distance between your feet and your knees. Your heels should be closer to your hips.
- Inhale deeply and lift your lower back up, as high as your chest touches your chin without lifting your head.
- Tightening your lower back, stay in the posture to the count of 10 or even longer.
- Exhale and bring your back down on the floor.
Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Bhujangasana, or the Cobra pose is a reclining-back bending Yoga asana that helps relieve stress and fatigue. It also helps open the heart and lungs.
- Lie down on your stomach with both toes and forehead resting on the floor.
- Make sure your toes and heels are touching each other or parallel to the ground.
- Place your hands (palms downwards) under your shoulders, keeping your elbows parallel to each other.
- Inhale deeply and slowly lift your upper body while keeping your navel on the floor.
- Hold the pose for 10 seconds.
- Exhale and bring your torso and head back on the floor. Repeat the asana
- Don’t overdo the stretch or overstrain yourself.
Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
Dhanurasana is a back bending asana, also known as the Bow pose. People who suffer from extensive problems of spinal cord and disc, or stomach-related issues should not perform this pose.
- Lie down on your stomach with your feet apart and your arms by the side of your body.
- Fold your knees and hold your ankles. Make sure your knees are apart.
- Inhale deeply, lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and open them to the sides. The wider the pull, the better the stretch.
- Hold in this pose for a count of 10 and fix your gaze on a point in front.
- Exhale and lower your legs and head.
- Relax and repeat.
Matsyasana (Fish pose)
Matsyansana helps boost the immune system, by distributing oxygen and improving blood circulation in the body.
- Lie down on your back keeping your feet together and hands relaxed alongside the body.
- Place your hands beneath your hips with palms facing down. Bring your elbows closer together.
- Inhale deeply and lift your chest up and while keeping your chest elevated, turn your head backwards and place the crown on the mat.
- Hold for a count of 10.
- Exhale and bring your head back and chest down on the floor.
- Relax and repeat.
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
The triangle pose is a standing asana that helps to expand your chest and shoulders. It builds stamina, balance, energy and develops focus and helps to strengthen the muscles in the hips, thighs and back.
- Stand in an upright posture with your feet wide apart and parallel to each other.
- Open up your right arm up into the sky while inhaling.
- Exhale. While keeping your waist straight, bend your body to the left, downward from the hips. Allow your right hand to come up in the air while your left hand touches the left ankle when you exhale. Then put both your arms in a straight line.
- Make sure your body is curved sideways rather than forward or backwards. Maintain a wide open chest and pelvis. Hold for a total of ten seconds.
- On an inhale, come back up, bring your arms down to your sides, and straighten your feet.
- Repeat the same on the other side.
Marjariasana (Cat Stretch)
Marjariasana is a back stretching pose. This asana is useful in getting relief from menstrual cramps as it massages the female reproductive system, it also helps in relieving the backache.
- Sit in Vajrasana and then stand up on your knees
- Place your hands flat on the floor with palms down and fingers facing towards the forward direction.
- Make sure your hands, knees and toes are parallel to each other.
- Keep your hands and knees in a straight line. Maintain a perpendicular relationship between the arms and thighs and the floor. This will be your starting position.
- Inhale deeply and raise your head along while arching your spine in the downward direction, so that the back can turn into a concave shape.
- Hold for a count of 10 and on an exhale lower your head touching your chin to your chest while stretching the spine in the upward direction.
- Relax and repeat
Yoga nidra is an ancient method for mind and bodily relaxation. It allows the practitioner to go into a deep state of relaxation. It is a systematic practice of moving awareness from our external world to the internal world.
- Lie down straight on your back and close your eyes and relax. Take a few deep relaxed breaths.
- Start by gently taking your awareness to your right foot. Maintain your focus for a few seconds while relaxing your foot. Then slowly work your way up to the right knee, thigh, and hip. Recognize your entire right leg.
- Gently repeat the motion with your left leg.
- Take your attention to all the other parts of your body: groin, stomach, navel region, chest.
- Then take your awareness to the right shoulder, right arm, palms, and fingers. Rep on the left shoulder, left arm, throat, face, and top of the head.
- Take a deep breath in and observe the different sensations in your body. Relax in this state for a few minutes.
- Allowing your body and mind to relax completely, you may then slowly sit up, and whenever you feel comfortable, slowly and gradually open your eyes.
Prana is the life force in our body. Pranayama is the practice of enhancing the life force in the body. Increased prana in the body can aid in the treatment and even prevention of various ailments. It can be boosted by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, eating vegetarian meals, getting enough rest, and, most importantly, pranayama.
Pranayamas help us to build immunity, reduce stress levels and combat the onset of chronic lifestyle diseases if practised consistently.
Ujjayi Breathing: Full yogic breaths, or ujjayi breaths, are a frequent feature of several pranayamas. The sound is produced by softly restricting the aperture of the throat to generate some resistance to airflow. A relaxing sound, similar to the sound of the ocean, is created by softly pulling the breath in on inhalation and gently pushing the breath out on exhalation against this resistance.
It helps to stimulate the throat chakra and exude a state of calm and peace.
- Sit in an upright posture, placing your hands on your knees, palms facing upward. Start inhaling through your nose making a constriction in your throat and exhale also through your nose making a constriction in the throat.
- This makes one rep.
- Repeat for 3-5 reps
Kapalbhati: Kapalbhati helps clear your air passageways. It also raises the level of oxygen in your body, boosting your body’s resistance to sickness. It is also called a cleansing kriya as it allows to cleanse the body from toxins. It’s a forceful exhalation kriya wherein the focus is only on the exhale. With each exhale, the practitioner allows its body to release the waste and toxins. A very powerful technique to detoxify the body and the mind.
- Sit in an upright posture. Your palms on your knees, facing down.
- Start exhaling the breath out, pushing your abdomen in. Make rapid exhalations. Ideally 60 exhales in one minute.
- With each exhale feel that you are releasing the toxins and waste out of your mind and body.
- Continue for 3-5 minutes or as convenient to you.
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama: Nadi Shodhan or Alternate Nostril breathing technique is a simple pranayama which activates the relaxation response of the body and calms the mind. It is also called balanced breathing as it brings the body and mind into balance. This is the safest pranayama that could be done by anyone.
- Sit in an upright posture placing your hands on your knees, palms facing upward.
- Place your left hand in gyan/chin mudra.
- With your right thumb close your right nostril and folding your first two fingers.
- Breathe out deeply through your left nostril. Then breathe in deeply from left and closing the left nostril with your ring finger, breathe out from right nostril.
- Inhale from the right side and exhale from the left side. This makes one rep.
- Repeat for 10 reps and feel your mind relaxing.
(The author is Yoga Therapist and Mind-Body Breathwork Coach at BeatO. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult Yoga experts and professionals before starting any practice. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)