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5 immunity-boosting Yoga exercises to do at home amid Covid-19

While the second wave of Covid-19 is hardly over, experts are warning of a third wave soon which leaves us with no option but to prioritise our health and immunity system like never before. A study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine explored the healing benefits of yoga and meditation practices as potential adjunctive treatments of Covid-19. These 5 Yoga exercises that will strengthen your immunity system amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic but will also improve your lung capacity and help in breathing properly.

1. Anulom Vilom Pranayam or Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique of Yoga

Method:
  • Start by sitting in a cross-legged position. Rest your hands on your knees and close your eyes. Keep your right thumb on your right nostril and close it. Inhale deeply from your left nostril for 4 counts.
  • Now close your left nostril with your right ring finger and hold it for 2 seconds. At this step, you are holding your breath with both your nostrils being closed. Take off your right thumb from your right nostril and exhale deeply through your right nostril.
  • Inhale from your right nostril for 4 counts while continuing to keep your ring finger on your left nostril and then, close both nostrils for 2 seconds and exhale deeply with your left nostril. Repeat this process for 5 minutes. Concentrate on your breathing while doing it.
Benefits:
  • This breathing technique has a number of benefits like improving immune system, boosting your memory, improving respiratory and cardiovascular health and regulating blood pressure. This Yoga asana also improves sleep and helps to de-stress.
  • As the ancient practice of controlling breath, Pranayama connects body and mind, supplies body with oxygen while removing toxins and is meant to provide healing physiological benefits. The stress-relieving effects of pranayama improves one’s sleep quality, increases mindfulness and reduces high blood pressure.

2. Vrikshasana or tree pose of Yoga

Method:
  • Balance yourself on one leg, with the other one folded and supported on your inner thigh. Stretch out your hands above your head and point them directly upwards.
  • Clasp them together in anjali mudra. Gaze in the distance, shift the weight to your left leg while keeping the right knee bent in half lotus position and hold onto this posture for a few seconds before releasing and repeating the same with the alternate leg.
Benefits:
  • This asana helps to bring balance to your mind and body. It makes your legs stronger and is a great hip opener as assists it the body in establishing pelvic stability and strengthens the bones of the hips and legs.
  • The shift of the entire body’s weight to each leg strengthens the ligaments and tendon of the feet. It also helps strengthen the thighs, calves and ankles and and helps improve focus.
Precautions: This asana should be avoided by those who suffer from vertigo or migraine or insomnia issues.

3. Bhujangasana or Cobra pose of Yoga

Method:
  • Lie down flat on your stomach. Rest your palms by the side of your chest, arms close to your body, elbows pointing outward. Inhale and raise your forehead, neck and shoulders.
  • Raise your trunk using the strength of your arms. Look upward while breathing normally. Make sure that your stomach is pressed on the floor. Hold the pose for 5 seconds. Slowly lie back flat on your stomach. Turn your head to one side and rest your arms by the side of your body.
Benefits: The reclining back-bending asana of Yoga called Bhujangasana or Cobra pose strengthens the spine, butt, butt muscles, chest, abdomen, shoulders, lungs and improves blood circulation while also releasing the stress in one’s body. Precautions: Though it is also a useful remedy for asthma patients, it is not to be performed during an asthma attack.

4. Matsyasana or the Fish Pose of Yoga

Method:
  • Lie down on your back with legs straight on the floor and hands beside the thighs. Keep your palms near the shoulders and your fingers pointing towards them. Inhale, press your palms on the floor, lift your shoulders and head up and drop the top of the head on the floor.
  • Arch your back while keeping your hands up in namaskar mudra. Lift both of your legs at 45 degrees angle. Hold the posture for 10 seconds and release.
Benefits: This exercise has multiple benefits. From stretching the chest, abs, hip flexors and neck to stimulating two important areas of the body. First is the throat chakra which relates to communication and self-expression and second is the crown chakra, on the top of your head, which is tied to wisdom and knowledge. Precautions: Avoid this pose if you have a neck or back injury or even if you have a headache.

5. Paschimottanasana or seated forward-bend of Yoga

Method :
  • Begin with Dandasana and place a strap around the feet while grasping them by the hands if the back is stiff. Ensure that your knees are slightly bent and legs stretched out forward.
  • Then inhale and extend your arms straight out to the sides and up over your head, reaching toward the ceiling while keeping your spine erect. As you exhale and empty your stomach of air, begin to come forward by hinging at your hips and place your upper body on your lower body.
  • Lower your arms, grip your big toes with your fingers and try to touch your knees with your nose. Remember to lengthen your spine on each inhale and deepen into your forward bend on each exhale.
Benefits: Though seemingly easy, it offers loads of benefits especially for those suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. One of the major health benefits is that it calms the body and relaxes the mind. It also helps circulate fresh blood to the head thereby relaxing the mind and reducing insomnia, depression and anxiety.
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International Yoga Day - 2021 : Common Yoga Protocol

Yoga is a discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living. Yoga leads to a perfect harmony between mind and body, man and nature, individual consciousness and universal consciousness. Yoga helps to build up psycho-physiological health, emotional harmony; and manage daily stress and its consequences. Yoga based life style modules which can be used for different sections of the society in the present scenario are presented with the following objectives.
  1. To improve general immunity among the population.
  2. Prehabilitation of vulnerable populations (children, elderly and those with comorbid conditions such as diabetes and hypertension) and to those patients in isolation/quarantine with or without mild symptoms.
  3. To add-on Yoga based interventions and Meditation practices in covid-19 cases in isolation and hospitalization for psycho- social care.
A Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) was developed by a team of leading Yoga Experts / Yoga Gurus that is being widely performed on International Day of Yoga (IDY) i.e. 21st June of every year.

Select the radio button to toggle/view minute wise yoga protocal:

COMMON YOGA PROTOCOL : 10 MINUTES

  • A. Starting : 30 seconds

    • Prayer
  • B. Loosening Practices (SukṣmaVyāyāma /CālanaKriyā) : 2 minutes

    • Neck Bending,
    • Shoulder movement,
    • Trunk Movement
  • C. Yoga Practices : 5 minutes (1 minute each)

    • Asanas performed in standing posture
      • Tadāsana (The Palm tree posture) : 1 minute
      • Ardha Chakrāsana (The Half wheel posture) : 1 minute
    • Asana performed in sitting posture
      • Sasakāsana (The Hare posture) : 1 minute
    • Asana performed while lying on the stomach
      • Bhujangasana (The Cobra posture) : 1 minute
    • Asana performed while lying on the back
      • Pawana Muktāsana (The Wind releasing posture) : 1 minute
  • D. Pranayama

    • (AnulomaViloma /Nadiswhodhana Pranayama) The Alternate nostril breathing (2 rounds) : 1 minutes
  • E. Dhyana

    • The Meditation : 1 minutes
  • Closing
    • Sankalpa/ Shanti patha : 30 seconds
TOTAL DURATION 10 minutes

COMMON YOGA PROTOCOL : 20 MINUTES

  • A. Starting : 30 seconds

    • Prayer
  • B. Loosening Practices (SukṣmaVyāyāma /CālanaKriyā) : 2.5 minutes

    • Neck Bending,
    • Shoulder movement,
    • Trunk Movement
  • C. Yoga Practices : 10 minutes

    • Asanas performed in standing posture
      • PadaHatasana(The Hands to the feet posture)/ArdhaChakrāsana (The Half wheel posture) : 2 minute
      • Trikonāsana (The Triangle posture) : 1 minute
    • Asana performed in sitting posture
      • Bhadrāsana (The Firm/Auspicious posture) : 1 minute
      • ArdhaUshtrāsana (The Half camel posture ) : 1 minute
      • Sasakāsana (The Hare posture ) : 1 minute
      • Vakrāsana (The Seated twist posture) : 1 minute
    • Asana performed while lying on the stomach
      • Bhujangasana (The Cobra posture) : 1 minute
    • Asana performed while lying on the back
      • Pawana Muktāsana (The Wind releasing posture) : 1 minute
  • D. Kriya

    • Kaphalabhati (The Shining skull practice ) 1 rounds,30 cycles each : 1 minutes
  • E. Pranayama

    • (AnulomaViloma /Nadiswhodhana Pranayama) The Alternate nostril breathing (5 rounds) : 2 minutes
    • Bhramari Pranayama(BhramariRechaka) (The Beesound breathing) (3 rounds) : 1.5 minute
  • E. Dhyana

    • The Meditation : 2 minutes
  • Closing
    • Sankalpa/ Shanti patha : 30 seconds
TOTAL DURATION 20 minutes

COMMON YOGA PROTOCOL : 45 MINUTES

  • A. Starting : 30 seconds

    • Prayer
  • B. Loosening Practices (SukṣmaVyāyāma /CālanaKriyā) : 6 minutes

    • Neck Bending : 2 minutes
    • Shoulder movement : 2 minutes,
    • Trunk Movement : 1 minutes
    • Knee Movement : 1 minutes
  • C. Yoga Practices : 24 minutes

    • Asanas performed in standing posture
      • Tadāsana (The Palm tree posture) : 1 minute
      • Vrikshāsana (The Tree posture) : 2 minute
      • Pada-hastāsana (The Hands to the feet posture) : 1 minute
      • Ardha Chakrāsana (The Half wheel posture) : 1 minute
      • Trikonāsana (The Triangle posture) : 2 minute
    • Asana performed in sitting posture
      • Bhadrāsana (The Firm/auspicious posture) : 1 minute
      • Vajrāsana The Thunderbolt/diamond posture) : 1 minute
      • ArdhaUshtrāsana (The Half camel posture : 1 minute
      • Ushtrāsana (The Camel posture : 1 minute
      • Sasakāsana (The Hare posture) : 1 minute
      • UtthanaMandukāsana (The Stretched up-frog posture ) : 1 minute
      • Vakrāsana (The Seated twist posture) : 2 minute
    • Asana performed while lying on the stomach
      • Makarāsana (The Crocodile posture ) : 1 minute
      • Bhujangāsana (The Cobra posture) : 1 minute
      • Shalabhāsana (The Locust posture) : 1 minute
    • Asana performed while lying on the back
      • Setubandhāsana (The Bridge posture) : 1 minute
      • Utthanapadāsana (The Raised leg posture) : 0.5 minute
      • ArdhaHalāsana (The Half plough posture) : 0.5 minute
      • Pawana Muktāsana (The Wind releasing posture) : 2 minute
      • Shavāsana (The Corpse posture ) : 2 minute
  • D. Kriya

    • Kaphalabhati (The Shining skull practice ) : 2 minutes
  • E. Pranayama

    • AnulomaViloma Pranayama (The Alternate nostril breathing : 2 minutes
    • Ujjayee Pranayama (The Hissing breathing) (5 rounds) : 2 minutes
    • (Bhramari Pranayama) (BhramariRechaka )The Bee sound breathing) (5 rounds) : 2 minutes
  • F. Dhyana

    • The Meditation : 5 minutes
  • Closing
    • Sankalpa/ Shanti patha : 1 minutes
TOTAL DURATION 45 minutes

More about Pranayama, Asana, Suksham Vyayam:
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Get your health back with these easy yoga practices after COVID-19

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 attacks the lungs and respiratory system, sometimes resulting in significant damage. COVID-19 often leads to pneumonia and even acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe lung injury. Covid-19 is tiring physically, but it can also exhaust us mentally because of all the attention and awareness around it.
After COVID you need to work on getting your strength and health back. It is said that the recovery process can be slow because the body may feel immensely exhausted. As such, you are advised to eat well and get your immunity system and nutrition levels back on track.
The focus should be on improving lung capacity and the natural mucociliary clearance mechanisms of the respiratory system. Stress management is also an integral part because it’s not just the severity of the diseases that take its toll but also the stress of having caught a dreaded virus. So, both stress management and restoring the lungs’ function should be the focus of the yoga practice post-Covid-19.

Following four yoga practices are suggested

1. Preparatory asanas (5-10 minutes)

Doing some loosening exercises like joint rotations is an excellent way to begin the practice. During the convalescence period, these can be done lying down or sitting on a chair. Moving all critical joints like the ankles, knees, hips, spine, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck will help improve circulation and reduce body ache. Afterwards, non-standing posture like Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana), Child Pose (Balasana), Side Bends in Easy Pose (Sukhasana variation), Crocodile Pose (Makarasana), Half-Camel Pose (Ardha Ushtrasana), Seated Spinal Twist (Half Lord of the fishes pose), Supine Spinal Twist (Jataraparivartan asana), Pavanmuktasana (Wind releasing pose), etc. can be practised as per individual capacity.
Choose asanas that are not too intense but help you move the body gently in different directions. These will help open up the airways and get the circulation going throughout the body, which will help you feel energized.

2. Cleansing breathing kriyas (2-3 minutes)

Cleansing kriyas like Kapalabhati help improve lung function and cleanse the sinuses, preparing us for pranayama practices. These should be done gently at about 40 strokes a minute. Three rounds of 30 seconds each are sufficient. Those with heart issues, acidity, hernia, slip disc should avoid it. It’s essential to be on an empty stomach before practising it. It is best done early in the morning. Those who are unable to do Kapalabhati can do 2-3 minutes of deep breathing in a sitting or supine position as an alternative cleansing practice.

3. Pranayama (5-15 minutes)

The best time to practise Pranayama is after asanas and breathing kriyas. It is because the blood circulation improves, allowing oxygen to be carried more efficiently, and your nasal passages, as well as sinuses, would be clearer. Essentially, you get the maximum benefit out of your practice. Sectional breathing, Nadi Shuddhi, and Bhramari are three fundamental breathing practices that you should include in your post-Covid routine. Sectional breathing helps you access maximum lung capacity, Bhramari helps improve oxygen absorption, and Nadi Shuddhi is excellent for the nervous system. You can also do Pranayama before sleeping as long as there’s enough gap after dinner. It will help you have a good night’s rest. In all breathing practices try to make your exhalation longer than your inhalation — a good ratio is 1:2. The length of exhalation can be double the length of inhalation.
If you’re feeling short of breath and are not yet ready for Pranayama, then doing deep breathing in the prone position (lying on the belly) is also very helpful.

Meditation (10-20 minutes)

4. Meditation will be pivotal in your recovery process as it helps the body achieve a relaxed, sleep-like state which promotes healing, recovery, and regeneration. The more stress-free, positive, and relaxed we are, the faster our recovery will be. Covid-19 is tiring physically, but it can also exhaust us mentally because of all the attention and awareness around it. Setting positive affirmations, mentally chanting a mantra, praying to a deity, creating a healthy and happy vision of yourself, or visualizing walking through a beautiful garden and taking deep breaths are some ways to find a calm and relaxed state of mind.

if a person has low oxygen levels, Does Breathing exercises help

  • Breathing exercises don’t really help but posture changes do help if a person has low oxygen levels. If the person lies on his belly, facing the bed in a prone position, it opens up a lot of extra area in the lungs and helps in breathing. The best way to practice this for better breathing is 2 hours of lying down in a left lateral position, 2 hours of lying down in a right lateral position, 2 hours in prone position and the 2 hours on your back. This can be done once a day to ease the breathing process. This is highly recommended for COVID positive patients who experience breathlessness. A person experiencing low oxygen, should not be doing any heavy breathing exercises. For people who are COVID positive or patients with pre-existing respiratory ailments like asthma, Pranayam that involves forceful breathing is not advisable. To put it simply, breathing control practices are advised to maintain the capacity and the health of the lungs. But for COVID positive patients, forceful pranayama is not advisable, slow walks in the room and “Anulom Vilom” can be practiced.

For detailed Information, Procedures and Benefits of each Pranayama visit the following links :

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Yoga Practices for prevention, rehabilitation and to increase immunity

1. ShodhanaKriya (Yogic cleansing practices) Jalaneti, Sutra Neti

Do’s

  • Use lukewarm water for cleansing. Jalneti must be followed by kapalabhati to remove all water from nasal passage. Neti, is advised to practice weekly once or twice.

Dont’s

  • Should avoid in case of epistaxis, middle ear infection, and recent ENT surgery.

Benefits

  • Neti helps in cleansing sinuses, beneficial in allergic conditions and reduces upper airway reactivity

2. Yogic SūkṣmaVyāyāmas / shithilikaranavyaya mas/ Pawanamuktasana series (Joint movements): Neck movements Shoulder rotation Trunk movement Knee movement, Ankle rotation

Do’s

  • Move the joints as far as possible.
  • Do it slowly with breath awareness

Dont’s

  • Do not over strain. Avoid this practice in case of severe joint pain and illness.

Benefits

  • Joint movements help to increase blood circulation and reduce stiffness which enhance joint flexibility.
  • Helps to facilitate asana practices.

3. Yogasana: Standing, Sitting, Prone Supine lying

Do’s

  • Do it with breath awareness. Cardiac patients shall do with care as advised by Yoga experts.
  • Asanas that involve chest expansion preferred Simplified version/s shall be followed be beginners and elderly population.

Dont’s

  • Please avoid this practice in case of cardiac disorders, abdominal hernia,inflammation, ulcers, recent abdominal surgery vertigo.
  • Hypertensive patients should bend with care. Do not try to bend beyond the limits and do not overdo the lateral stretch.

Benefits

  • Ushtrasana, UtthanaMandukasana, Tadasana, Trikonasana, Vakrasana, Bhujangasana, Sarala Matsyasanaetc. practices improves chest expansion and cardio- pulmonary functions.

4. Kapalabhati

Do’s

  • 40-60 strokes per minute.

Dont’s

  • Hypertensive, cardiac problems, patients with respiratory distress, slipped disc patients should not do it.
  • Better to practice it early in the morning on an empty stomach.

Benefits

  • Improves pulmonary functions and reduces secretions.
  • Very useful preparatory practice for pranayama practice
  • Helps to cleanse frontal sinuses.

5. Breathing Pranayama: Sectional breathing Nadishodhana Ujjayi, Bhramari

Do’s

  • Breath should be slow, steady and controlled. It should not be forced or restricted in anyway.
  • Initially start the practice with few repetitions and gradually increase the number of repetitions.
  • If possible, maintain the ratio of 1:2 for inhalation and exhalation

Dont’s

  • In case of any cardiac disorders start with few repetitions and gradually increase the number of repetitions.
  • Don’t practice retention or hold at initial stage

Benefits

  • Nadishodhan pranayama reduces the sympathetic activity and stimulate vagal (para- sympathetic) activity and decreases stress and anxiety. Ujjayi increase the oxygen saturation in body.
  • Bhramari pranayama similar to humming may increase Nasal Nitric Oxide (NO), which mayimprove blood flow to the ciliary epithelium and has anti- inflammatory action,

6. Yoga Nidra (Pratyaahara)

Do’s

  • Follow mentally with awareness as per the instructions given during practices.
  • Keep the eyes closed during the practice and avoid body movements.

Dont’s

  • Don’t open the eyes until asked.
  • Don’t sleep
  • Don’t ask any questions during the practice even if any questions arise in the mind.
  • Gradually increase the duration of the practice.

Benefits

  • Reduction in sympathetic arousal and reduced emotional distress and improves quality of sleep.
  • Rejuvenate the body and helps to keep the mind calm.

7. Meditative practices, Breath awareness, Dharana Dhyana

Do’s

  • For beginners, soothing music may be played in the background during meditation or to observe the breath.
  • Practice it as long as you can.

Dont’s

  • Don’t open your eyes Don’t shake your body. Don’t be judgemental with thoughts

Benefits

  • Meditation helps to reduces anxiety and stress by reduce the cortisol level and enhance the alpha brain wave .
  • Makes the body stable and calm the mind Balance the functions of neuroendocrine system thereby enhance the immune system.

For detailed Information, Procedures and Benefits of each Pranayama, Asana, Sukshma Vyayayam and Mudra visit the following links :

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गौतम बुद्ध के 2500 सालों बाद अब होगा धर्म चक्र परिवर्तन

गौतम बुद्ध ने कहा कि उनके जाने के दो हजार पाँच सौ वर्षों के बाद, एक नए चक्र का आरंभ होगा। हम ये देखने के लिए यहां नहीं होंगेए पर विशेष रूप से भारत में और कई रूपों में दुनिया के कई हिस्सों में ख़ास कर आध्यात्मिक तल पर नए विकास होंगे। कई रूपों में, यह अपनी तरह की अनूठी क्रांति होगी।
मैं यह दावा नहीं करता कि हम जिस समय में जी रहे हैं वह अनंत काल का सबसे महत्वपूर्ण समय है। ऐसा नहीं है। इतिहास का चाहे जो भी समय रहा हो, हर पीढ़ी के लिए वही समय अपने-आप में खास था। लेकिन इतिहास के अलग-अलग पड़ाव पर, जीवन के कुछ पक्ष खास हो जाते हैं।

आध्यात्मिक रूप से महत्वपूर्ण समय

यह समय, दुनिया के लिए आध्यात्मिक रूप से सबसे महत्वपूर्ण समय है। इस समय दुनिया में इतना आराम मौजूद है, जितना पहले कभी नहीं था।
इससे पहले कभी आम लोग इतनी बड़ी संख्या में आध्यात्मिकता की ओर नहीं आए थे। दुनिया में कलह और क्लेश बढ़ा है तो आंतरिक जगत में रुचि भी बढ़ी है। एक तरह से देखा जाए तो यह एक महत्वपूर्ण कदम है। अगर यह प्रक्रिया जारी रहती है, अगर धरती पर लोगों की यह रुचि बनी रहती है, तो यह कई तरह से मानवता के लिए समाधान व मोक्ष होगा।
अब तक इंसान की दिलचस्पी बाहरी दुनिया को जीतने में थी। विज्ञान और तकनीक के तरक्की के साथ हमने बाहरी दुनिया के साथ बहुत कुछ कर लिया है। बड़ी तेजी से, पिछली दो सदियों के दौरान, हमें एहसास हो गया है कि केवल बाहरी जगत जीतने से बात नहीं बनेगी। अगर हम विज्ञान और तकनीक की मदद के बिना बाहरी जगत को जीतने की कोशिश करते, तो शायद हमें इस बात को समझने में कई सदियाँ या सहस्राब्दियां और लग जातीं।
एक समय था, जब एक अशोक या एक गौतम बुद्ध को एहसास हुआ कि केवल बाहरी जीत से कुछ हासिल नहीं होगा। परंतु आज, दुनिया का आम नागरिक भी इसे समझने लगा है। ऐसा केवल इसलिए है क्योंकि हमारे पास विज्ञान और तकनीक है जिसकी मदद से हम देख सकते हैं, कि हम बाहरी दुनिया में चंद्रमा व मंगल तक तो पहुंच गए लेकिन अगर भीतर की बात करें, तो हम कहीं नहीं पहुँच पा रहे। ऐसा क्षण, आध्यात्मिक रूप से महत्वपूर्ण होता है। यह संसार कहीं अधिक आध्यात्मिक होता जा रहा है क्योंकि कई रूपों में संघर्ष, कलह और कष्ट अपने शिखर पर हैं।
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