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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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