COVID-19 has put us all into mandatory captivity and a new normal. Here are my two cents on this scenario which might help you tackle this pandemic and lead a healthy life.
New Normal has Come with the New Health Problems:
Work from home, online classes, and virtual meetups are the common new normals. These indeed demand more screen time for work and leisure which eventually invites the following:
- More sustained postures with rounded shoulders
- Forward head and poking chin
- Reduced hip and knee flexibility due to increased chair sitting
- Less weight-bearing activities leading to reduced bone mineral density
- More screen time disrupts melatonin production and hence reduces the quality and quantity of sleep
All of these cause chronic fatigue, irritability, painful muscle knots, or myofascial triggers. As a pain clinician, this is where I find my patients in a classic Pain – Weakness cycle.
How can Yoga Help?
Yoga is a way of life and an experiential science. Yoga and Ayurveda have again prevailed their importance since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Today in this blog, I am going to focus on the movement component of Yoga i.e. Asanas. Scientific yoga research demonstrates that the practice of asanas makes us move the body in the range we don’t usually move. A quick look into what yoga asanas offer:
- Improves flexibility and overall coordination.
- Frees up the tight hips and groin muscles.
- Breathing while holding the asanas makes us mindful of the pattern of breathing and helps to improve the quality rate and depth of breathing.
- Increases the secretion of our feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and reduces the level of cortisol which greatly decreases stress.
- Improves the Samatvam or balance of the body and mind.
Most Important – Dos and Don’ts:
Now that you got an idea of how you can indirectly use yoga for diseases management, considering some more tips is important. It is ideal to consult a practitioner to make a program tailor-made for you. You can always get associated with top yoga health centers.
(Note – This is just to give you tools for safe practice and is not intended to replace a qualified practitioner.)
Simple points to consider:
- If you are a beginner or restarting after a long gap, start with a 15 to 20 min routine to be done preferably on an empty stomach.
- Choose a manageable time and be consistent.
- Give a day’s rest in between sessions. Focus on the form and not the number of poses done.
- Get in and out of the pose gently. Attempt a pose how much ever comfortable.
- Breathe mindfully focussing more on the exhale in that position. Always end the routine with belly breathing, keeping exhale twice of inhale. Start with 3 rounds and proceed up to 20 rounds at one time. Once comfortable with this, you can try both nostril pranayama like ujjayi or sheethali and then go to cleansing kriyas like kapalbhati and nadi shodhana pranayama.
Sample Routine for Any and All:
Practice 5 rounds of the following & hold for 15 sec each time:
- End the routine with Savasana for 1 min and belly breathing 3-5 rounds with exhale twice of inhale.
Start with these and with time & guidance you can always move to advanced yoga with leading yoga institutes in the country.
With this, I will sign off by wishing all of you a Healthy and Pain-Free year.
Dr. Anjanaa is a Physiotherapist specializing in Musculoskeletal Medicine, having over 10 years of experience in the field of Rehabilitative medicine, founder of RECOVER PHYSIOTHERAPY a chronic pain specialty center for the past 8 years. She is a certified Yoga Therapist from Kaivalyadhama Institute of Yoga and Research, Lonavala.