Can Yoga & Meditation Help In Covid Times

YES IT CAN. So its not spirituality we are talking about, but the tools that help. Yoga is a multi-faceted spiritual tool with enhanced health and well-being as one of its positive effects. Components of yoga are Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (regulated breathing), and Meditation.

Meditation is the single most powerful tool to aid recovery from disease and lead to a life of Maximum Health…

Jan Gawler

Yoga therapies are noted to improve the quality of life, decreased inflammatory markers, and helped peak-maximal oxygen intake in heart failure patients with a reduced ejection fraction. Pranayama with slower rhythm and manipulation of the nostrils mainly with breaths by the left nostril have shown a significant reduction in blood pressure in both acute and chronic cases, in 13 trials. In acute cases, there was a reduction of 20 – 30 mmHg of mean systolic blood pressure (SBP), and 1 mmHg of diastolic blood pressure (DBP). In chronic hypertension patients, a reduction of 4 – 20 mmHg in SBP and 4 – 7 mmHg in DBP was noted.

Pranayama along with breathing exercises has been effective in the treatment of mood disorders and stress. A special yogic practice “Sambhavi Mahamudra Kriya,” including both deep breathing and meditation technique, done for 21 minutes daily for 6 weeks, reduced the level of stress, and improved general well-being, compared to baseline in 142 individuals. Yoga brings about an integration of mind, body, and soul. Mindfulness (dhyana) emphasizes on focused awareness and accepting the internal experiences, without being judgmental. Due to the calming effect of Dhyana and meditation, along with relaxation achieved after various physical postures and breathing, yoga therapy has been found ameliorating, and as add-on therapy in severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar and depressive disorders.

A stressful lifestyle and unhealthy dietary habits lead to acidity and Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Diaphragmatic breathing exercises have been found to reduce belching and dyspepsia in these cases. Breathing exercises have been found beneficial in sickle cell disease patients as these help in utilizing more lung capacity and better oxygenation. The breathing exercise program for elderly patients undergoing spinal surgery was found to enhance their breathing exercise compliance, daily life satisfaction in addition to reducing their pulmonary infection rates, in a comparative study. In chronic low back pain patients, diaphragmatic breathing exercises have shown statistically significant improvement in maximal inspiratory pressure, chest excursion, and peak expiratory flow. With increasing scientific research in yoga, its therapeutic aspects are also being explored. Yoga is reported to reduce stress and anxiety, improves autonomic functions by triggering neurohormonal mechanisms by the suppression of sympathetic activity, and even, now–a-days, several reports suggested that yoga is beneficial for physical health of cancer patients.

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