The world is going through a tough time due to the outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) 1, as well as Coronavirus Anxiety 😞.
Staying at home in quarantine, thinking about the situation & the buzzing news around COVID-19 have made people anxious about this situation. Also, Staying for too long in isolation could give birth to various physical & mental problems.
In this article, I have covered both, physical & mental aspects arising due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I have also described…
- How Yoga is a great option you have to stay fit at home (both physically & mentally)
- Which Yoga Asanas, Breathing techniques (pranayama) & yoga routine works best in this situation (Scientific evidence-based)
Cleanliness (sensitize hands), non-harming (avoid non-veg food) & austerity (self-isolation), all these yogic qualities seem working well today in this outbreak.
You would amaze to know that all these guidelines today government announcing to break the chain of Coronavirus spread 2 are already have described in the yogic way of lifestyle. These disciplines we practice in Yoga as Yamas & Niyamas.
How is Coronavirus Anxiety Affecting Mental Health?
During this pandemic situation, the stress of self-isolating ourselves, rising figures of patients & death toll, the uncertainty of what will come next & the extreme fear of getting hit by the virus triggering anxiety. Anxiety is good at a certain level 3 but extreme fear gives rise to anxiety-disorder, which is a sign of mental illness.
With these figures given below, you can estimate how panicked are people about the situation is…😱
A report has shown a sharp increase of 22% in mental health cases over a week in 35% of Americans 4 while the cases of physical health are around 14%. Every 4 in 10 has said their life got disturbed ‘A Lot’ & many others (62%) are worried if their family will get sick 5 cause of COVID-19 outbreak.
In this stressful situation being anxious is a natural way of our mind in response to the situation. But the other natural thing that must come in this situation is the ways to rein in our worrying so COVID-19 pandemic won’t convert into a mental health pandemic 6 unto itself.
To fight with this situation obviously the end solution we can hope that scientists develop a vaccine asap 7 but if our immune system is strong enough 💚, we at an individual level can be unaffected from this.
How COVID-19 Infect the Immune System?
The life-cycle and spread of corona infection 8 are the same as other viruses consisting of assembly, budding, envelope formation, and pathogenesis.
When Coronavirus comes in contact with the host body (through saliva or sneezing droplets of corona infected person), the primary line of defense kicks the cells to form interferon, cytokines and also WBC’s to act on the infection.
Then it’s followed by the second line of defense including macrophages and neutrophils and eventually the third line of defense which needs several days to create up. This might cause fever and inflammation in response to the patient.
In the case of COVID-19, we don’t have an adaptive/third line of defense immunity as there’s no vaccine developed, the virus keeps on replicating lowering the immunity cells, leading to ramps up an infection in a very short period of time.
The other thing that is hitting our immune system & so our mental health is inactivity hours during the quarantine. It should be noted here, mental illness can give rise to various physical problems in the body.
Here are some common physical problems people are facing while staying at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.
COVID-19 Lockdown Effects on Physical Body
Human is a social animal & this social interaction is what keeps us fit in day-to-day life. During the lockdown, our direct social interaction gets blocked, the mode of work shifted from office to home & daily walks restricted in order to break the virus spreading chain.
However, being in one place isolating ourselves & following social distancing is eradicating corona to spread but simultaneously it could give birth to many physical problems 9.
Here are some common physical problems that could arise in lockdown:
1. Lower Backpain
This is the most common problem arising while regular corporate workers work from home or children watch more TV & mobile. Due to inactivity hours at home, the same posture for long hours lays stress over the lower vertebrae of the spinal column.
These wrong postures result in damage to the intervertebral discs, compression of nerve roots, and improper movement of the spinal joints, etc.
2. Spinal Curve Deformity
Normally, our spine has an S-shape curve. Muscles like flexors and extensors are responsible for maintaining the posture along with the tendons, ligaments, etc.
Continuous work over long periods sometimes leads to the distortion of the spine, which brings out the defects in the spinal column.
Lordosis (inward curvature of the cervical spine) is the most common deformity of the spine among the work from home situation.
3. Stress and Anxiety
Lockdown has made work us from the home, which is totally different from being in the office and surrounded by colleagues. This approach sometimes does not match the performance or productivity.
Unable to fulfill the demand of the boss causes further workload and dissatisfaction. However, such a life cycle promotes stress and anxiety in an individual. Ultimately affect the overall health and well being.
4. Digestive disorders
According to Ayurveda, one has to walk a minimum of 500 hundred steps after a meal. However, long working hours exhaust an individual and discourage further activities.
Prolonged sitting compresses the abdominal cavity and slows down digestion, which further causes heartburn and constipation.
Yoga & meditation practices have already proved a successful immune booster & remedy to treat any mental and physical symptoms of stress & anxiety. But is it helpful in the case of coronavirus disease? The answer is, yes it’s!
Yoga to Stay Fit During Lockdown
The techniques of ancient yoga & meditation teach us to respond to any situation (say it a physical ailment, mental problem or a pandemic) in a natural way.
Yoga practice has already proved effective in many physical & mental conditions so it can bring us on track by adding a few yogic techniques into our schedule of working from home.
While staying at home, you can split up the yoga practices into two sessions, morning and evening. This enables an individual to work upon a particular problem twice a day, which could be helpful in the long run.
Yoga in the Morning Session 🌅
First of all, waking up should be followed by drinking a glass of lukewarm water. A glass of water fires up the metabolism and helps to keep you hydrated during the yoga session 10.
Here is a recommended yoga routine you can follow in your morning yoga session:
1. Begin With Chanting Practices
Chanting in yoga is a way to show gratitude to the divine one. Physically, by chanting one can activate even the subtlest cell in the body.
It’s very recommended to begin morning yoga sessions with OM chanting as in the morning, frequency of OM chant easily matches with frequency of our mind. This develops harmony in mind for whole day activities.
You can do chanting & breathing altogether with this yogic breathing called Udgeeth Pranayama.
Once chanting practice ends, your body & mind is prepared for kapalbhati pranayama.
2. Do a Few Rounds of Kapalbhai
Kapalbhati is a wonderful exercise to rejuvenate the cells which become inactive due to very little activity in-home. It does the same by rapid exhalation stokes & filling fresh oxygen in the cells.
During the lockdown, the digestive system also has loosened up their way, kapalbhati can treat it by bringing movement in internal organs of the abdomen.
Perform a few rounds of rapid kapalbhati breathing & then relax the body to see the sensation produced after it. You can learn here how to practice Kapalbhati pranayama properly.
3. Do 4 Rounds Sun Salutation
Sun salutation is such a practice in yoga that involves every single organ of your body. During the lockdown, while we are staying at home the whole day, such kind of practice is very beneficial.
In the beginning, you can start with 2 rounds of sun salutation. It will cover 12 series of poses that will rejuvenate all the organs of your body. Slowly when strength builds, go for 4 rounds of surya namaskar.
4. Churn Your Body with These Yoga Poses
Yoga poses are the only way to keep your body active & inflow during lockdown days. Here are some easy to moderate yoga poses you can follow to well being to body & mind.
- Stand in Tadasana & Vriksasana to straight up your curved spine
- Make some movement in the spine with Cobra pose
- Relieve stress and depression of lockdown with Downward dog
- Align your body & mind Half moon pose
- Stretch your legs & hands apart Triangle pose
- Bring some movement in the stomach for better digestion with Upward bow pose
- Make your spine flexible with Cat-cow pose
- Burn your excess belly fat with Boat pose
- Stretch from head to toe in Seated forward bend pose
- Rest for a while in Child’s pose
5. Perform Some Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises also called pranayama is a tool in yoga to play with the breath you take. It revitalizes the dormant body cells which becomes the dead cause of inactivity or some wrong posture.
Some simple breathing exercise you should perform in the morning session are:
- Anulom vilom pranayama – Breathing through alternate nostrils brings harmony in both hemispheres of brain. Here are steps of performing anulom vilom pranayama.
- Bhrmari Pranayama – Lock your eardrum with index finger & on exhalation, utter the sound of ‘Mmmmm’ produced from the back of the throat. It’s the humming bee breathing, beneficial in calming the mind. Click here to know detailed steps.
- Ujjayi pranayama – Also known as ocean breathing, bring tranquility between your body & mind. To perform Ujjayi breathing, follow the steps from here.
5. Lay Down for Complete Relaxation
This is the end of the morning session. At the end of the session, lay down in Shavasana.
Spread your legs apart & hands open side-by-side at 45 degrees. Laying down in Shavasana will relieve you from all the fatigue & let body-mind completely rest with the piece.
Yoga in the Evening session
The evening time during lockdown can be productive enough if you utilize it in the right way. You can sit over the porch facing sunset & enjoy the evening yoga session.
There should be a gap of 3 to 4 hours between the dinner and the evening session. The light stomach is advisable for the practice.
- Begin with the normal warming up or normal stretching. Series of Chandra namaskar can be considered into the practice, alternative to the Surya namaskar.
- You can follow up on the same asana & pranayama that we practiced in the morning session.
- Relaxation in Shavasana (corpse pose) is advisable after the session.
Yoga Benefits During Coronavirus Lockdown
- Surya and Chandra namaskar have a wide variety of health benefits. However, asanas like Balasana (child pose), Padangushthasana (big toe pose), Marjaryasana (cat pose), etc helps in lower back pain.
- A forward curve in the upper back is also known as the condition of lordosis. This can be corrected with the help of back bending asana such as Bhujangasana (cobra pose), Dhanurasana (bow pose), Ardha chandrasana (Half moon pose), etc.
- Experience of stress and anxiety is common in the situation of lockdown and work from home. Pranayama or yogic breathing improves the supply of oxygen to the brain, which stimulates the parasympathetic system and induces a state of calmness. Ex. Bhramari pranayama, Sheetali pranayama Anulom Vilom, etc.
- Due to no or limited movements, digestive issues are common among the people under quarantine. However, practicing yoga asana Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog), Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose), Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) helps in regulating digestion by stimulating the vagus nerve and massaging digestive organs.
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- How to prepare and take action for COVID-19 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html
- When Coronavirus Anxiety is useful and when it isn’t https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/
- American Work & Life Dramatically Changing in Response to Coronavirus https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/axios-ipsos-coronavirus-index
- KFF Coronavirus Poll: March 2020 https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/poll-finding/kff-coronavirus-poll-march-2020/
- Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19
- DRAFT landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines – 20 March 2020 https://www.who.int/blueprint/priority-diseases/key-action/novel-coronavirus-landscape-ncov.pdf?ua=1
- Coronavirus envelope protein: current knowledge
- Social distancing prevents infections, but it can have unintended consequences https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/we-are-social-species-how-will-social-distancing-affect-us
- 7 Surprising Benefits Of Drinking Warm Water In The Morning https://www.lifehack.org/412483/7-surprising-benefits-of-drinking-warm-water-in-the-morning