During the 8th International Yoga Day celebrations held by the High Commission of India in Singapore on Tuesday, yoga instructors and enthusiasts here said that the coronavirus pandemic provided an opportunity to take yoga online, which helped people address their physical and mental health to cope with the crisis. The major yoga celebration was led by India’s Deputy High Commissioner Siddhartha Nath, who was joined by Singapore’s Senior Parliamentary Secretary Eric Chua, atop the Green Roof of Marina Barrage, with the cityscape of the central business area as a backdrop. From June 19 to 25, sixty-eight sessions are being organized across Singapore to commemorate Yoga Day week, according to the High Commission.

People also realise that they have to make a big mental shift from working from home to going back to the working world. They need that mental relaxation…they need yoga,” she underlined. Kannan, from Vyasa Yoga & Ayurveda Singapore, also called it “rain and sunshine” yoga as heavy downpour over the CBD swept over the yoga session attended by over 200 enthusiasts at the start this morning.

“The pandemic gave us an opportunity to connect with many people in Singapore and across the world online,” said Latha Kannan, who was among the main yoga lead instructors at the event attended by over 150 yoga enthusiasts in-person and many more online from yoga clubs, centres and schools. “I think it (the Covid pandemic) was a very unique opportunity that we could take yoga to the online platform.

But the sky was soon cleared and sunshine brought smiles on the face of everyone at the one-hour session. Giridhar Nayak, a software entrepreneur and a volunteer with Isha Foundation in Singapore, highlighted how online yoga programmes like ‘Simha Kriya, Work Beyond Stress’ had helped migrant workers, employees and residents during the pandemic.

Yoga has been very effective especially for strengthening lungs, the most vulnerable point of COVID-19 infection, according to Prem Prakash, who has been conducting five online sessions a week during the pandemic. The 68-year-old software developer explained that Pranayama and Kapalbhati Pranayama are among the asanas (yoga poses) for breathing exercises that have helped people fight COVID infection over the two-years pandemic.

”It helped address the needs of the physical and mental health during the COVID pandemic, especially to migrant workers including those from India living in dormitories that were the main clusters where the virus had spread widely,” said Nayak, founder of EdTech firm Sambaash. Followers of Sadhguru’s ‘Save Soil’ movement worldwide also joined the main event, underlining the need to care for “the very soil from which we are born and which we return to, the source of our life”, Nayak said.

”These deep breathing has helped keep the virus away from the lungs,” said Prakash who moved from Delhi to Singapore some 30 years ago. The coronavirus attacks the respiratory system and weakens the lungs. But those practicing deep breathing or pranayama have stronger lungs and respiratory systems. ”We have had a lot of people from all walks of life participating in online yoga sessions, from the age of five to 80,” said Prakash, who has been teaching yoga for six years.

”Our yoga fellows are multinationals, Indians, Chinese and even Malays who are more aware of the health benefits of exercising especially in the form of asanas,” he said. Prakash’s yoga sessions were also joined by people having mild Covid but who had to stay in isolated facilities during the recovery process as well as those who  were hospitalised due to serious infections.

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  • Experts claim yoga helped people cope with stress during the coronavirus outbreak
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