COVID 19

Yogaward Relief from Covid-19

The life-altering effects of COVID-19 have affected almost everyone on Earth. Even those fortunate enough to avoid or recover from the virus’ most menacing symptoms may suffer both psychologically and physically from the effects of lockdown, isolation, loneliness, collective stress, and persistent, slow-burning trauma. But there is hope. Along with the promise of effective, widespread vaccines on the horizon, yoga, a practice that has for centuries led practitioners from darkness to light, may offer a complementary, holistic lifeline.

Those familiar with the practice know of the ample evidence confirming yoga’s comprehensive health benefits, from bolstering immunity and physical fitness to improving mental health and cognition. But recently, experts the world over have specifically spoken out about yoga’s potential positive impact on preventing and recovering from the direct and peripheral consequences of COVID-19. This includes an article published in July 2020 in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a collaboration between Deepak Chopra and researchers at MIT, Harvard, UC San Diego. As experts confirm, yoga may provide a range of health-boosting attributes, including bolstering the immune system, reducing inflammation, promoting melatonin production, and improving mental health. 

Here’s how Yogaward can help you in this difficult time:

 

Yoga & Mental Health 

While COVID-19’s physical repercussions are always top of mind, the psychological and emotional effects of the pandemic are arguably just as severe. Mounting evidence shows victims of COVID-19 may suffer short and long-term psychological effects, including brain fog, memory loss, depression, and anxiety. Even those who do not fall prey to the virus may experience mental and emotional distress due to various factors. These include the utter upheaval of life and the world as we knew it; isolation and loneliness; fear and concern for ourselves, our families, our communities, and humanity; stress from financial strain; and uncertainty, even hopelessness regarding the future.

Image of stressed negative man sitting on bed indoors at home

As we wait in our homes strained by the cumulative stress, anxiety, and fear that weighs on us and seeps into every nook and cranny of our lives like a heavy blanket of soot, it is easy to feel utterly alone.

Whether you were already struggling with mental illness before the pandemic or are facing such challenges for the first time, Yogaward, especially the  involvement in a supportive yoga community, may help. Various studies have shown yoga can positively impact mental health. It does so in part by promoting relaxation and mind-body synchronicity and helping us to feel more grounded and in tune with ourselves and our feelings.

Over time, yoga practice can also reduce cortisol. Depression and anxiety, and cortisol are directly linked. High cortisol levels can exacerbate health conditions, including mental illnesses. Over time, it can lead to brain changes that could worsen symptoms and result in loss of cognitive function and memory capabilities.

People with major depressive disorders also tend to have lower amounts of GABA neurotransmitters. According to one study, practicing yoga may increase thalamic GABA levels and, as a result, decrease depression symptoms.

Yoga and Inflammation

Inflammation is, simply put, the immune system’s means of fighting off attackers and protecting vulnerable elements to promote healing. However, it is not uncommon for the body’s inflammatory response to go out of whack, often by kicking into overdrive. When this occurs, it can do more harm than good. Such harmful effects can range from exacerbating certain mental health conditions to causing or exacerbating physical conditions, from rheumatoid arthritis to cytokine storms

Sporty young woman doing stretching exercise using props, block, Ardha Hanumanasana or Half Monkey God Pose at home.

Research shows yoga can promote a balanced inflammatory response, in part through stimulation of the vagal nerve complex. This component controls responses to psychosocial stress, including our “fight or flight” response. It also promotes relaxation when threats are not perceived. Research has also found meditation and certain yoga poses and breathing exercises can reduce the activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Yoga & the Innate Immune System

Reducing inflammation isn’t the only way in which yoga can promote a healthy immune system. A routine practice can support robust immunity by boosting circulation and stimulating white blood cell and antimicrobial peptide expression. It does so, in part, by influencing the lymph complex and thymus gland. Yoga can also reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol, positively impacting physical and mental wellness. 

Side View Of Sporty Multiethnic People Practicing Yoga In Cobra Pose, Training Together In Modern Light Studio, Exercising On Mats, Enjoying Wellness And Healthy Lifestyle, Copy Space, Selective Focus

Research shows yoga can promote a balanced inflammatory response, in part through stimulation of the vagal nerve complex. This component controls responses to psychosocial stress, including our “fight or flight” response. It also promotes relaxation when threats are not perceived. Research has also found meditation and certain yoga poses and breathing exercises can reduce the activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Yoga & Melatonin Production

Researchers have also discovered melatonin, a hormone largely responsible for regulating the body’s sleep-wake cycle, may help fight COVID-19 as well. Sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system and physical and mental wellness. Melatonin itself may also aid in DNA repair. Altogether, the hormone’s physiological benefits and impact on sleep quality may help us maintain overall wellness. While melatonin production tends to decrease during certain yoga and meditation practices, researchers have found levels tend to increase significantly in the long-term with regular practice. 

The Bottom Line

When the COVID-19 epidemic emerged, chaos and fear ensued as individuals, communities, and societies struggled to grapple with the deadly, unprecedented threat. Over the past year, along with the tragic loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, our world has changed irrevocably, as have our perceptions of the pandemic and life itself. Entering 2021, while we have much to learn, we now understand our enemy and our tools to fight it much better. In addition to incorporating yoga into your wellness routine, joining a supportive, compassionate community like Yogaward International can be a magnificent investment in your health and future. Together, we will get through this.