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AYUSH’s document on Yoga suggests simple practices to combat Covid

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The Ministry of Ayush has issued guidelines for using Yoga to boost immunity to combat against Covid-19 (Pic Courtesy PIB)

Faced with multiple physical and psychological challenges thrown up by the two waves of Covid-19 pandemic, there is a need to tap the ancient and time-tested discipline of Yoga. Bringing this in a comprehensive format are the “Guidelines For Yoga Practitioners For Covid 19” issued by the Union Ministry of Ayush.

The document aptly describes Yoga as a discipline based on an extremely subtle science, focussing on striking a harmony between mind and body. Accordingly it states the practising Yoga may have a vital role in the in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of Coronavirus patients, both in quarantine and isolation while allaying fears and anxiety of patients, their caregivers and others.

Though suggesting measures for Yoga instructors and therapists in order to teach a safe set of practices to people, it is equally useful for the general public too in terms of information and content.

Highlighting Yoga based life styles modules for varied sections of the society, it aims to improve general immunity, prehabilitation of children, senior citizens and those with comorbid conditions like diabetes and hypertension, those people in isolation or quarantine with or without mild symptoms; and as an add-on in those Coronavirus cases who are in isolation and hospitalisation for psychosocial care.

The Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) in the guidelines has been prepared by Yoga gurus and experts. It includes safe practices to improve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of the population.

In an easy to understand and follow style a table lists out the Yoga practices for prevention, rehabilitation and to increase immunity. While giving the benefits of each of the practices, it also explicitly mentions the dos and don’ts. For example, for Shodhana Kirya, Yogic cleansing practices, one must use lukewarm water for cleansing while Jalneti must be followed by kapalabhati to remove water from nasal passage. It clearly forbids this practice for those who have a case of epistaxis, middle ear infection and have had recent ENT surgery. This practice is beneficial for cleaning sinuses, in allergic conditions and it reduces upper airway reactivity.

There are CYP in different formats. For instance, there is one for 10, 20 and 45 minutes Yoga. Take the case of the first which charts out the order of the practice, its description and the duration. In the beginning a 30-second prayer is mentioned to be followed with loosening practices like Suksma Vyayama and Calana Kriya in which there is neck bending, shoulder movement and trunk movement for two minutes.

Following this are asanas like Tadasana (the palm tree posture); Ardha Chakrasana (the half wheel posture); Sasakasana (the hare posture); Bhujangasana (the cobra posture); Pawana Muktasana (the wind releasing posture); Anuloma Viloma (the alternate nostril breathing). It concludes with meditation and sankalpa for a one-and-a-half minute.

While it is recommended to follow the CYP on empty stomach to improve immune resilience, for children 10 and 20 minute modules are prescribed. Besides, a yogic diet which includes wholesome nutritious freshly traditional home cooked food with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits is suggested. The meals should be eaten at regular hours without fail and it should have moderate traditional spices.

In order for the diet and CYP to be effective, tobacco, liquor and addictive drugs should be avoided.

Making the whole document engaging and interesting are pictures of different postures and asanas and a list of references for those wishing to know more.