The need of the hour: Importance of Pranayam during COVID-19

The need of the hour: Importance of Pranayam during COVID-19

Breathless- Good or bad? If it is the Shankar Mahadevan number- good, if not-BAD! 

Our breath- the very fundamental essence of our being. When we inhale, we inhale calm, and when we exhale, we exhale happiness. There is no doubt that, our breath is the reason why we live. With the onset of the very mysterious, complex and bizarre COVID, the pandemonium that the virus has caused, has denied this very basic right of Humans to breathe! The virus strategically lowers the oxygen levels and then the victim passes out due to not being able to breath.

Is this a reason to panic? Yes. Should we be worried? No. Luckily we descend from a very right ancient heritage that has a cure for every situation. The only glitch is, we don’t believe it, nor do we adhere to it. For this situation of breathlessness there is a very powerful cure from our Vedas and Yoga systems- Pr?n?yam.

What is Pr?n?y?ma and how does it help?

Pranayama are ancient breathing techniques from rich ancient Indian scriptures of Yoga and spirituality. The etymology of the term comes from Sanskrit- where Pr?n?: means breathe and ?yama means suspension of breath.

While long term effects of the virus are still being studied, it has been established that it affects the lungs, since it is a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). So when lungs are reportedly the main battlefield for this virus, it is critical to care for your lungs. And whenever we talk about lung health, we cannot avoid talking about breathing exercises. Freewheeling advice to practice breathing asanas especially pranayama have been floating all over social media.

Who Can or Can’t do it?

To put it simply, breathing control practices are advised to maintain the capacity and the health of the lungs. But for COVID positive patients, forceful pranayama is not advisable, slow walks in the room and “Anulom Vilom” can be practiced.

A leading Ayurvedic doctor advises everyone who suddenly wants to practice pranayama to protect themselves from COVID or to recover faster, to wait it out a bit. If one has been doing it regularly, it is okay to continue but one shouldn’t be forced to do it with a cough. In this case one would be unnecessarily exerting the body.

What can a COVID+ patient do?

A Senior Consultant of Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine, explains that: “Breathing exercises don’t directly help but posture changes do help if a person has low oxygen levels. If the person lies on his belly, facing the bed in a prone position, it opens up a lot of extra area in the lungs and helps in breathing. The best way to practice this for better breathing is: 

    • Two hours of lying down in a left lateral position
    • Two hours of lying down in a right lateral position
    • Two hours in prone position and,
    •  Then 2 hours on your back.

This can be done once a day to ease the breathing process. This is highly recommended for COVID positive patients who experience breathlessness.” He warns that whenever a person is experiencing low oxygen, they should not be doing any heavy breathing exercises. For people who are COVID positive or patients with pre-existing respiratory ailments like asthma, Pr?n?yam that involves forceful breathing is not advisable.

To conclude, Pr?n?yam is more of an avoidant tip, and not a tip that one implements if they are positive with the virus.

So breathe away your worries, and you shall be safe!

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