Regardless where you live in the world there is no hiding from the fact that many people's lives are undergoing a great deal of change and stress. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition and life stress everything leads to a weakened immune system and vulnerability to sickness and stress more than anything. It completely leads to a breakdown in the body’s ability to defend itself against any bacteria or viruses and that’s what Covid is thriving on, a weakened immune system.
When stressed, the hormone Cortisol stays in the blood for an extended period of time which the body develops resistance to and which again leads to an increased inflammation in the body. So when ill, antibiotics and other medicines can help the body to recover from the disease. However, what medicines fail to do is to improve the body’s immune system and this is where yoga comes to the rescue. A lot of studies and scientific research have mentioned that yoga is one of the most effective and time tested natural immunity boosters that can lead to a healthy body.
Yoga lowers stress hormones and also strengthens the nervous system while stimulating the lymphatic system which is responsible to remove toxins from the body. So the stronger it is the better your recovery is.
Yoga also calms the mind and can contribute to a deeper regulated sleep which is very crucial for wellness. Sleep is very important for healing and maintaining a healthy immune system. But while there are very real physical effects of Covid-19 on our population, the mental health implications of the pandemic can be felt just as strongly. With uncertainty, financial concerns, loneliness, depression is spreading like fire. "Depression is an illness, a disease that affects your brain. It is basically your reaction to something sad, loss of someone, rejection and when these feelings aggravate and become very intense, it leads to what we call it in medical terms as clinical depression," says Kavita Das, founder, The Pink Lotus Academia.
The practice of yoga doesn’t have any side effects. That is the best thing about it which makes it a better option as compared to other medications for depression. "We do not even breathe properly, most of the time its very shallow breathing and it is something that contributes to the stress response which can again worsen your anxiety. The short time effects of yoga can be felt through breathing techniques. By learning to deeply breathe you not only allow your muscles to relax but you also feel equipped with other relaxation techniques like meditation. Practicing yoga for the long term definitely helps you to build that mind body connection that reinforces how much control we actually have over both," sayd Das.
For all those who are already suffering with the mental health conditions such as OCD, anxiety, and the added stress of the pandemic can feel really overwhelming and unmanageable. Anxiety disorders or coronavirus anxiety thrives on you feeling out of control or helpless but over the time yoga can help you regain that sense of control and allow your mind and your body to relax. "I would also suggest that you do not take breathing for granted. Take out the time in the beginning and the end of any yoga session or just once in a day breathe deeply for at least 2-3 minutes and you can see the difference without moving a muscle," suggests Das.
The power of being still is just as important as movement and evidence supports that yoga is one of the most effective self-management strategies to cope with stress anxiety and depression and mentally well- being during Covid and this lockdown.