Health benefits of Yoga amid Covid-19 outbreak

Yoga is across the world to addressing the benefits of practicing yoga in our daily routine. Due to the current COVID situation, the theme for this year is ‘Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family’. As we all know, COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing norms have been an extreme situation to deal with in a span of a few months. Therefore, it is imperative to realize that the power of yoga under current circumstances. It is an incredible practice that helps in relieving stress and boosting immunity by improving both your physical and mental health.

There are various organizations, educational institutes, private companies, and government offices which are encouraging people and their employees to practice yoga at home. The larger idea behind this is to improve the overall immunity of our body. Since now that a lot of organizations have reopened their offices, it has become more critical for the workforce to maintain their good health and well being.

Here is a list of some positive changes that everyone will experience when yoga becomes a part of daily routine.

1. Stress relieving

Studies have discovered that yoga can help in bursting stress and furthermore help in controlling blood pressure. Individuals with depression and anxiety can benefit by doing it each day. Savasana, situated ahead twist, remaining forward curves and side stretches are some yoga aasans that can help in offering alleviation from stress and tension.

2. A boost in your immunity

When it comes to boosting your immunity, sometimes the simplest approach can be the most effective. Sukhasana – a traditional pose for meditation helps your body to relax and breathe deeply. Furthermore, it can help in reducing stress hormones and maintain a good heart rate that collectively results in strong immunity to prevent the body from various health conditions.

3. A sound sleep

Various restorative asanas such as Savasana, yoga nidra, etc provide the relaxation to your nervous system needs. A better sleep recharges the entire system and makes you wake up fresh and lively to start your day.

4. An improvement in your body’s strength, balance, and flexibility

Some yoga poses that include plank pose, headstands, handstands, and side planks can be a great way to improve your body’s overall ability to function more efficiently on a day-to-day basis.

5. Weight loss

Some yoga asanas like surya namaskar, warrior pose, plank pose, etc. which are effective and if practiced regularly, they can help you lose weight.

6. A sharp mind and an improved mental health

Apart from a better physical health, yoga can help in improving your mental health and sharpens your mind. It also improves your level of concentration. Thus, it can be said that regular practice of yoga leads to improved mood, reduced depression, higher self-esteem, self-acceptance, and an optimistic attitude towards life.

The present COVID – 19 crisis has made us realise the importance of a good immune system. While yoga as a practice is well-known for its many mental and physical benefits, now it has also emerged as one of the key immunity boosters. The Ministry of AYUSH has specially mentioned yoga and meditation in its self-care guidelines as one of the key preventive measures that can boost immunity.

Numerous studies have shown that yoga helps in immunomodulation-which refers to any process in which an immune response is altered to a desired level.

Yoga assists in decreasing both basal level of inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α (Tumor necrosis factor-alpha) and IL-6 (interleukin-6). It also inhibits their increase to moderate and strenuous exercise. Low levels of inflammatory cytokines help in prevention and management of chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.

In addition to that, yoga also increases NK (natural killer) cells thus helping in killing cancer cells.

It helps in stimulating thymus, an organ which releases T lymphocytes which helps in building up immunity.

Stress leads to increase in stress hormones through activation of HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary- adrenal) axis. Yoga helps in decreasing stress hormone levels and thus decreases the adverse effects of stress hormone on various body organs. Pranayam is a basic yoga practice which helps the lungs to take in more oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. It leads to better oxygenation of blood and better oxygen supply to various body organs.

Various yogasans which help in immunity boosting

There are numerous types of yogasans and they help the body in some way or other i.e. relaxation, toning of muscles, flexibility of joints, strengthening of connective tissues, better oxygenation because of better breathing practices. In addition to preventing diseases,these asanas also stimulate the thymus gland and lymphatic flow which help in improving immunity. Some of the asanas which are helpful in boosting immunity are:

1. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

This asana provides the following benefits-

  • 1.Strengthens the spine and stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen and also stimulates abdominal organs
  • 2.Helps relieve stress and fatigue
  • 3.Opens the heart and lungs and therapeutic for asthma
  • 4.Soothes sciatica

Some traditional texts say that Bhujangasana increases body heat and destroys disease.

2. Matsyasana (Fish pose)

This asana provides the following benefits-

  • 1.Relieves tension in your neck, throat, and shoulders
  • 2.Stretches and tones the front of your neck and your abdominals and also stretches and stimulates the organs of your belly and throat
  • 3.Relieves stress and irritation
  • 4.Therapeutic for rounded-shoulders, asthma, spasms in the bronchial tubes, and other respiratory issues

3. Dhanurasana (Bow pose)

This asana provides the following benefits-

  • 1.Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas)
  • 2.Strengthens the back muscles
  • 3.Improves posture
  • 4.Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck

4. Trikonasana (Triangle pose)

This asana provides the following benefits-

  • 1.Stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine
  • 2.Stimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion
  • 3.Helps relieve stress
  • 4.Therapeutic for anxiety, flat feet, infertility, neck pain, osteoporosis, and sciatica

5. Padagunsthasana (Big toe pose)

This asana provides the following benefits-

  • 1.Calms the brain and helps relieve stress, anxiety and mild
  • 2.Stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • 3.Improves digestion
  • 4.Helps relieve headache and insomnia

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