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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 147-151

Role of yoga and meditation in sustainability and maintaining healthy life in pandemic


1 Department of Kayachikitsa, Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar, Punjab, India
2 Department of Dravyaguna, Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar, Punjab, India

Date of Submission08-Aug-2020
Date of Decision28-Sep-2020
Date of Acceptance29-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication28-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Chander Shekhar Sharma
Department of Kayachikitsa, Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Opp. Burlton Park, Mahatama Hans Raj Marg, Jalandhar - 144 008, Punjab
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/joa.joa_156_20

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  Abstract 


Introduction: Yoga and meditation are believed to start with the very inception of civilization and have munificent effects physically as well as mentally. As the entire world is facing dreadful COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of Yoga and meditation is the best way to keep a person in good shape, physically and mentally. Yoga along with meditation, as an integral part of our lifestyle tells us how to control the basic thought process and to stabilize oneself and integrate the state of health. Methods: Keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, it is time for us to look back to utilize the treasure of Yoga and meditation for immunity, strengthening our willpower to stand the challenges of pandemic and develop resilience against negativity. Yoga usually emphasizes Asana, Pranayama, Dhyana and if practiced on daily basis will increase endorphins-feel-good-chemicals within the body and reduces cortisol levels that cause stress. Result and Conclusion: This pandemic has shown worldwide devastating effects on health-care-system, so Yoga and meditation practices could be utilized to counter the negatives of individual's physical, emotional as well as social health. In the current scenario, it is of utmost importance to deal the negative emotions with nonpharmacological interventions. The current paper focuses on the ways to protect ourselves in COVID-19 pandemic and live healthy life with regular practice of Yoga and meditation. It also highlights the role of Yoga and meditation in controlling a person's body, mind and soul. It also combines physical and mental discipline of the body and mind; to aid in managing stress, anxiety, and keep ourselves relaxed. Hence, developing a positive state of mind and promote better health to fight against the pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19, meditation, pandemic, stress, yoga


How to cite this article:
Sharma CS, Sharma A. Role of yoga and meditation in sustainability and maintaining healthy life in pandemic. J Ayurveda 2020;14:147-51

How to cite this URL:
Sharma CS, Sharma A. Role of yoga and meditation in sustainability and maintaining healthy life in pandemic. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 17];14:147-51. Available from: http://www.journayu.in/text.asp?2020/14/4/147/304896




  Introduction Top


In Yogic mythology Lord Shiva is seen as the first yogi or Adiyogi. Several Thousand years ago within the Himalayas, Adiyogi poured his profound knowledge of yoga into the legendary Saptarishis or “seven sages.” The sages carried this powerful yogic science to different parts of the planet. Agastya, one among the Saptarishis who travelled across the Indian subcontinent, crafted this culture around a core yogic way of life. Modern scholars noted and marveled this knowledge at the close parallels found between ancient cultures across the world. However the Yogic system found its fullest expression in India. The number evidences from Indus Saraswati valley civilization with Yoga Sadhana figures clearly indicates the presence of Yoga in ancient India. The concept of Yogasanas and its processes which include various forms of exercises are the best ways to keep a person in good shape physically and mentally during the lockdown. Yoga in general, helps to strengthen the body and mind. Our body's immune system works at different levels. They provide natural support to the immune system as the Asana practice provides a gentle, natural means of supporting the immune system. It is also considered as an effective approach for meditation which helps in relaxation of mind and body. There are tremendous advantages of practice of Yoga and meditation. It helps when we are alone, when we are transacting with the world and when we cannot get along with people around us. Yoga does not mean to corkscrew your body; it along with meditation tells us how to control the basic thought process. Nowadays, the health professionals are aware of therapeutic values of Yoga and many introduce the approach as a psycho-physiologic and spiritual technique in their treatment.[1] As the entire world is facing dreadful COVID-19 and population is suffering with physical, mental and emotional stress. With the nonexistent vaccination for COVID-19 people are widely facing the panic, stress, anxiety and depression with lockdown and recession. This is affecting the mental and physical health along with quality of life. Yoga practices helps in combating depression, anxiety, improves functioning of cardiovascular, respiratory system, improvement in sleep patterns and enhance overall quality of life.[2] Scientists and researchers perceive the positive effects of yoga and meditation on health during COVID-19. There is a tripod of body, mind, and spirit – even if one aspect is not functioning properly, our life will not be balanced and that will lead to ill health. Yoga is an integral part of our lifestyle to stabilize oneself and integrate the state of health. It purifies the mind and unites everything with the spirit. One can start practicing Yoga at any given moment of time and we may start with meditation or directly with Pranayama without even doing the Asanas (postures). It depends on the ease of an individual as well as health status at present time. The Yogic Asanas may potentially increase the physical flexibility while the breathing practices and meditation could possibly calm and focus the mind.[3] Other favorable impact involves a reduction of stress, blood pressure, and refinement in resilience and metabolic synchronization.[4] Keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, that has brought the world to a standstill shutting down offices, academic institutions and many businesses including gyms. It is time for us to look back to utilize the treasure of Yoga and meditation can give us at this time by increasing immunity and strenghthening our willpower to stand the challenges of pandemic and develop resilience against negativity.

Role of Yoga and meditation

Yoga is an ancient and intricate practice, rooted in Indian philosophy. It is a 5000 years old science, derived from the sanskrit word “yuj” which means “to unite,” since time immemorial the Yogis practiced Yoga Sadhanas (Practices) by following Ashtangyoga. These Yoga Sadhanas combined all the techniques that helped an individual to find the inner and outer balance in his/her life. Yama's are and Niyama's are the social and personal restraints that a person should observe in his life. These restrain focus on maintenance of daily health and hygiene. Interestingly, the first Niyama is Shaucha which means cleanliness which is a powerful tool at present in this pandemic period. Yoga seeks to attune us to how to control behavior, breath, the mind, and physical posture. There are many relevant publications, including reviews on the effects of Yoga on depression.[5],[6],[7] The practice of Yoga Asana and meditation provides natural support to the immune system. By lowering stress hormones in your body, Yoga rescues the immune system from compromise. Apart from this, Yoga conditions the lungs and respiratory tract, stimulates the lymphatic system removing toxins from the body, and ensures the optimum functioning of your organs. Yoga began as a spiritual practice; however, it's become popular as the way of promoting physical and mental well-being. Yoga is usually referred to as a meditative movement practice and that's a decent description of it. Yoga usually emphasizes physical postures (Asana), respiration techniques (Pranayama), relaxation, and meditation (Dhyana). The reviewed studies have shown benefits of Yoga in various mental disorders like depression.[6] Pranayama is the awareness of one's breath followed by willful regulation of respiration which forms the functional and vital basis of one's existence. There is enough research to prove that even 20 min of Pranayama and meditation practice on an everyday basis will increase endorphins – feel-good chemicals within the body and reduces cortisol levels that cause stress. Stress is one in every person which is the leading killers of immunity. A dull mind leads to inactive mental and neurological functions which affects the sense of smell, taste, see, touch, and feel. COVID-19 symptoms variedly affect the sense of smell but if the mind is strong and active it may help to fight against the prodromal signs and symptoms and may help in developing better immunity. Yoga, on the opposite hand, results in a positive state of mind that promotes higher health and improved immunity. Yoga are of different styles namely Surya Namaskar, Chandra Namaskar, Hatha yoga, Yin yoga, Vinyasa flow, Iyengar yoga, Kundalini yoga, Mantra yoga, together with respiration techniques like Anulom Vilom, kapalbhati, Bhastrika, Khand Pranayam in your Yoga practice. Asanas like Adhomukha and Urdhvamukha Svanasana, Chakrasana, Vajrasana, Veerasanaa, Utkatasana, Balasana, Paschimottanasana, Sarvangasana, and Shavasana significantly have a positive result on fitness and physical flexibility with a secondary effect on the psychological state, whereas the Pranayama practices and relaxation/meditation techniques might lead to larger awareness, less stress, and better well-being of life. In healthy population practicing Yoga, there are noticeable lung function improvements of various parameters with breathing techniques, certain postures, and/or relaxation techniques.[8] There have been different studies on the consequences of Yoga on sympathetic/parasympathetic activation and cardio-vagal function.[9] Yoga has additionally well-tried to be of huge facilitator in improving musculoskeletal function, chronic pain conditions, and pain-associated disability.[10],[11] The Asana creates a healthy, strong, and versatile body that opens the gateways to accessing the last five limbs of Yoga. All this can prove to be a boon during this pandemic period.

In simple terms meditation means to chuck the physical existence completelyand become one with the universal consciousness. Guided mindfulness mediation develops our capability to be fully present for all the moments of life. Meditation is one amongst the modalities used in Yoga and Ayurveda, the excellent, natural health care system that originated in ancient Vedic times of India.[12] To truly understand meditation, one has to understand how the human being is viewed by Vedic science.[13],[14],[15],[16] The human being consists of three aspects, the physical body, inner faculty (the working consciousness, which is constantly changing) and deep inner-self (the nonchanging pure consciousness). The later is the source of intelligence, knowledge, innovation, and all natural laws that govern existence. Vedic science believe that the deep inner-self activates the inner faculty (working consciousness), which in turn activates the physical body. The positive mind and emotional happiness, helps the mind to think and work on constructive facet to empower ourselves, our families and our society and community. Our positivism influences directly ourselves and our relations. Rightful thoughts energize us with positive thoughts that facilitate to release endorphins and other hormones that help to create a healthy state of body and mind. Different meditation techniques like Mantra meditation, singing bowl meditation, Chakra meditation and many more has proved to be of big benefit in mastering our thoughts and emotions through evidence based techniques helps to clear our mind, drops stress, and relieves anxiety. Practicing meditation reduces negativity to the outside world; we feel naturally connected back to inner core without effort and can experience inner peace and joy. With a calm state of mind during meditation, our perception, observation and expression of life changes. One gains freedom from past regrets and future worries. It is important to understand that, throughout your daily activities, your brain features a form of exactly measurable states, from sleep, to work, to exercise, and to learn. Meditation puts us within the best brainwave state for super learning. Meditation is incredibly effective in giving relaxation. Throughout this deep relaxation, the mind and also the body are revitalized and refreshed giving us an immediate and long lasting effects. During the process of meditation, accumulated stresses are removed, energy is exaggerated, and health is completely affected overall.[16] For the sake of humanity, there is an urgent need to identify strategies for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 disease[17],[18],[19],[20] with evidence-based principles that emphasize the practical application.[21]

It had also been found that meditation, as well as yoga practices, are capable of significantly increasing vagal tone and therefore could not only be effective against psychologic stress-based issues, including trauma,[22],[23] but inflammatory based diseases as well.[24],[25] Yogic Asana stretching is able to increase expression of the two important antimicrobial peptides, β-defensin and HBD-2 expression.[26] Certain levels of stress is often beneficial for the event of resilience,[27] the emerging stress of the COVID-19 pandemic is extreme, involving not only threats to health and physical survival, but also to economic survival, housing, adequate nutrition, personal relationships, the very fabric of society and “normal life” itself, starting from the local to global scale. Studies have shown that psychosocial stress can not only substantially reduce immune defenses against infectious challenges but also over-stimulate host inflammatory responses to such a level that it can lead to tissue damage and even death.[28],[29],[30],[31] Melatonin appears to possess the capacity to selectively regulate its antiviral/immune-enhancing and its anti-inflammatory effects according to the state of the inner environment in which it is present.[32],[33],[34],[35],[36] Regular practice of meditation and/or Yoga is associated with elevations in melatonin.[37],[38],[40],[41] This pandemic has shown worldwide devastating effects on health care system, so Yoga and meditation practices could be utilized to counter the negatives of individual's physical, emotional as well as social health. Thus, meditation with Yoga can be a powerful tool of this time for COVID-19.


  Conclusion Top


Modern life patterns have an effect on our health in several aspects physically, psychologically, and socially. There is a desire for increasing individual's awareness concerning the impact of contemporary life to manage the consequences of the patterns of life. It can be concluded that for leading a healthy life Yoga and meditation plays an important role in today's modus vivendi. Yoga when incorporated in daily routine of life, guides the religious aspirant on life's path. Certain meditation, Yoga Asana and Pranayam practices may possibly be effective as an adjuvant means of treating and/or preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection. The spiritual goal of Yoga and meditation is God-realization, the union of the individual soul with God. Meditation, as delineated within the ancient sacred texts, is associated with exercise of consciousness that leads to the expansion of consciousness. Practicing Yoga Sadhanas, meditation, Mantras, positive thinking and tolerance, lead to spiritual health and spiritual health being a good immune booster for now. Thus, realizing this, humans ought to be protectors, not destroyers of universe. Thus, Yoga and meditation have a potential short term, acute interventional and long-term benefits. Thereby, focusing on these practices will help in the reduction of future squeal to pandemic-associated negative state of body, mind, and psychosocial stress factors.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.





 
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