Teacher training students studying the basics of yoga

The recent pandemic brought so many changes to people’s lives, whether it’s paranoia about catching the said virus or the feeling of isolation brought about by home quarantines. All these are the negative effects of covid-19 which significantly decreased the quality of life of so many people around the world.

The threat of covid-19 continues despite it having gone on for more than a year. Fortunately, there is one way we can crush COVID-19 and that is by boosting our immunity. COVID is the type of disease that takes advantage of our immune system, weakening us to the point that we can no longer exist. What’s worse is that it can be spread from one person to another in many possible ways we could only imagine. It may or may not be inevitable, but if we do catch it, one thing that could save us is our strong and healthy physique (including our state of mind).

Strengthening our immune system can be done in many ways: taking vitamins, maintaining a healthy diet, and exercising regularly are some of the most notable ones. When it comes to exercise, yoga is one of the best ways to boost immunity.

In that case, can yoga help protect us from the wrath of COVID-19? Let’s find out.

COVID-19 updates in Singapore

Since June of 2021, Singapore has gradually reopened to Phase 3 heightened alert. The purpose of this was to stabilize community infections and contain their spread among local clusters. The heightened alert was able to produce positive results, somehow reducing the number of cases for the past few weeks. In line with these, follow-up measures took place on July 12th and are as follows:

  • Dine-in at F&B establishments is allowed for groups of up to 5 persons.
  • Wedding receptions will resume but only a maximum number of 250 persons are allowed and must undergo Pre-Event Testing (PET). For wedding receptions involving 50 persons or less, the PET will only be required at the wedding party.
  • Gyms and fitness studios are allowed to conduct indoor mask-off sports and exercise activities in groups of up to 5 persons.
  • The work-from-home policy is still strictly implemented to limit the chance of transmission in workplaces and public transport. Social and recreational gatherings at the workplace are allowed but must be limited to a maximum number of 5 persons only.

For more info on Phase 3 heightened alert measures, click here.

What are COVID-19 symptoms?

Some people are so paranoid to the point that even a mere sneeze or a soft cough from a stranger will trigger a suspicion that he or she’s infected. We need to know and understand every sign so that we can become aware not just for our own safety, but for other people’s too.

With that said, here are the following symptoms of COVID-19 according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or having difficulty breathing
  • Fever or chills
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Diarrhea

How does yoga boost immunity?

Why is coronavirus a deadly disease? It’s because it attacks our lungs and respiratory system. This is why one of the most significant symptoms of COVID-19 is shortness of breath. Unfortunately, it may lead to more severe health conditions like pneumonia, if left unresolved. We need to make efforts in boosting our immune system by strengthening our bodies so that if we do catch the virus (knock on wood), we’ll be able to recover right away.

Yoga is a good type of exercise to increase our immunity. It’s a meditative workout that is apparently associated with anti-inflammatory properties. The stretching combined with the deep breathing techniques might help improve the state of our physical and mental health, which is important in combatting the aforementioned disease.

Breathing exercises

Practicing deep breathing will allow us to expand our lung capacity and restore our diaphragm’s function. The main goal is for us to know how to breathe deeply while doing any type of activity, not just when we’re resting. Breathing exercises may help improve sleep quality and reduce our stress and anxiety, which can be pretty common for those who have experienced severe symptoms of coronavirus.

Breathing practice helps strengthen our immune system as well as improves blood circulation. It will give us better chances of either resisting or surviving the side effects of the coronavirus.

Stretching, postures, and movements

Just like breathing, stretching is also a major part of doing yoga. Every pose being executed is aimed at improving and developing various parts and areas of our bodies. We will be able to strengthen and tone our muscles, become more flexible, and lubricate our joints. You can finally say goodbye to muscle and body aches!

The yoga poses may also help fight oxidative stress and improve oxygen distribution to our vital organs as well as helping increase our energy.

To put it simply, the beautiful combination of stretching, movements, and breaths will do wonders for our body, mind, and soul. If it’s immunity you’re looking for, then maybe yoga practice will do the trick.

Disclaimer: yoga is NOT a cure for covid-19

Practicing yoga is important in boosting our immunity to help us recover faster and better from the virus. But no, yoga is not the cure. Yoga is simply just one of the many effective ways we can do to protect ourselves from the mind-boggling side effects caused by the infection. If you’re looking at yoga practice as a way to fight off the effects of covid-19, it would be best to consult a doctor or a medical professional first before doing the poses.

If you want to know more about yoga and its role in boosting immunity, you may contact us here at Sweatbox. You can also try our free virtual yoga classes to ensure your safety and avoid the further spread of infection.

Immunity-booster breathing techniques to strengthen your respiratory system

The best way to strengthen your lungs is by practicing diaphragmatic breathing, or otherwise known as “belly breathing”. Check them out below:

1. Deep breathing while on your back

  • Lie flat on your back and bend your knees.
  • Put your hands on top of your stomach or opt to wrap them around the sides of your stomach.
  • Close your lips. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
  • Take a breathe in through the nose and pull air down towards your stomach.
  • Slowly exhale through your nose.
  • Repeat deep breathes for 1 whole minute.

2. Deep breathing while on your stomach

  • Lie flat on your stomach and lean your head against your hands to provide room for you to breathe.
  • Close your lips. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
  • Take a breathe in through the nose and pull air down towards your stomach. Try to imagine that your stomach is pushing against the mattress or mat underneath you.
  • Slowly exhale through your nose.
  • Repeat deep breathes for 1 whole minute.

3. Deep breathing while seated

  • Sit up straight on a chair or at the edge of a bed.
  • Put your hands around the sides of your stomach.
  • Close your lips. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
  • Take a breathe in through the nose and pull air down towards your stomach.
  • Slowly exhale through your nose.
  • Repeat deep breathes for 1 whole minute.

4. Deep breathing while standing

  • Stand up straight and wrap your hands around the sides of your stomach.
  • Close your lips. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
  • Take a breathe in through the nose and pull air down towards your stomach.
  • Slowly exhale through your nose.
  • Repeat deep breathes for 1 whole minute.

5. Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique)

  • Place your thumb on your right nostril and your index finger on your left nostril.
  • Close your right nostril using your thumb and take a breath through your left nostril, slowly and deeply. Make sure your lungs feel full. Zero in on your breathing.
  • Release your thumb and close your left nostril with your index finger.

Immunity-booster yoga poses to protect your health

Every yoga pose on this list is important because it may help in your journey towards immunity. The stronger your immune system is, the better chances you have of overcoming the virus with ease. All you have to do is read each one carefully and try to do them at home!

Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)

Method: Stand on one leg and make sure to keep your balance. The lifted leg must be folded and its foot must be supported by the inner thigh of your standing leg. Extend your arms up to the sky and clasp your hands together. Keep your gaze fixed ahead hold this posture for a few seconds before switching sides.

Benefits: This pose doesn’t just teach you how to balance, it also brings balance between your mind and body. It’s good for strengthening your legs and hip bones.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Method: Lie down on your stomach. Rest the palm of your hands at the sides of your chest. Your arms should be close to your body and your elbows pointing outwards. Inhale as you lift your forehead, neck, and shoulders. Use the strength of your arms to raise your upper body. Look up as you try to level your breathing. Your stomach should be pressed against the floor. Hold the pose for 5 seconds.

Benefits: The cobra pose is a posture that opens up your chest. It helps release white cells that improve your body’s immunity. It also improves blood circulation and strengthens the butt, butt muscles, spine, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and lungs.

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

Method: Lie down flat on the floor. Keep your legs straight and your hands beside your thighs. The palms of your hands must be under your buttocks. Inhale as you use your palms to push your upper body from the floor. Your shoulders and head must be lifted, but the tip of your head must still touch the floor. Keep your back arched. Lift your legs at a 45-degree angle. Hold the pose for 10 seconds.

Benefits: This pose is good for stretching the neck, chest, abs, and hip flexors. It also stimulates two important parts of your body: the throat chakra for communication and self-expression, and the crown chakra for (top of your head) for wisdom and knowledge.

Paschimottanasana (Seated forward-bend Pose)

Method: Sit on the mat with your legs straight. Inhale as you extend your arms up to the sky, keeping your spine erect. Exhale as you slowly lower your upper body forward. Try to touch your knees with your nose and grip your feet using your hands. If your back is too stiff, you can opt to use a yoga strap and bend your knees a little.

Benefits: This provides so many benefits, especially to those who are living with high blood pressure and diabetes. It also improves blood circulation to the head, reducing the risk of insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Method: Sit on the mat or the floor with your back and legs straight. To guarantee the perfect alignment of your body, you may lean against a wall. The shoulder blades should touch the wall but not your lower back and the back of your head. Strengthen your thighs by pressing them down the floor but without hardening your belly. Remember to flex your feet and ankles. Hold the pose for 1 to 2 minutes.

Benefits: This position might look like you’re just sitting, but does a lot for your body. It strengthens the back muscles, improves posture, and stretches the shoulders.

Marjaryasana & Bitilasana (Cat and Cow Pose)

Method: Start by going on all-fours on the floor. Your wrists must be directly under your shoulders while your knees must be under your hips. Do the cow pose by inhaling and dropping your belly towards the floor. Lift your chin and look up towards the ceiling while also broadening your shoulders. Transition to the cat pose by exhaling and pulling your back towards the ceiling while also drawing in your belly to your spine. Point the crown of your head towards the floor but don’t let your chin drop. Repeat this cycle 5 to 20 times.

Benefits: This animal-like pose is great for gently stretching the body and massaging your spine as well as the organs in your stomach.

Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)

Method: Sit with your back straight and legs extended out front. Bend your knees and bring the balls of your feet to your pelvis. The soles of your feet must be touching each other. Hold your feet tightly with your hands. Take a deep breath in and then out, gently press down the thighs and knees towards the floor. Start flapping your thighs like the wings of a butterfly. Start slow then gradually increase your speed. Make sure to keep breathing normally throughout. Slow down, and then stop.

Benefits: This yoga pose helps improve your flexibility and stretches your inner thighs, knees, and groins. It also removes fatigue from hours of standing or walking.

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

Method: Begin on all-fours on the floor. Bring your right knee forward until your right ankle is in front of your left hip. Extend your left leg back as you point your heel towards the ceiling. Inhale as you lengthen your spine, draw your belly button in, and open your chest. Exhale as you move your hands forward while lowering your upper body towards the floor. Feel free to rest your forehead and forearms on the floor. Hold the position for 5 breaths or more. Next, push yourself back with your hands raise your hips and move your legs back into all-fours. Do the same for the opposite side.

Benefits: If you’ve been sitting on your desk for a long time, this would be a good stretch for you. It also stretches your outer hips and prepares you for backbends and other seated postures. It’s good for calming your mind too.

Shishuasana (Child’s Pose)

Method: Kneel on the mat while keeping your big toes together and sitting on your heels. Your thighs must be separated as wide as your hips. Exhale as you lay your torso forward in between your thighs. Narrow your hips towards your belly button. Lengthen your spine. Keep the base of your skull apart from the back of your neck. Rest your arms on your sides, palms up. Drop the front of your shoulders and rest your forehead against the mat. Hold the pose for 1 to 3 minutes.

Benefits: Doing this pose is excellent for decongesting your chest building a better immunity system.

Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)

Method: Lie flat on your back and then bend your knees with the feet pressed on the floor, a hip-width apart. Place your arms on the sides of your torso with the palms facing down. The tips of your fingers should be lightly touching your heels. Inhale as you lift your hips with the support of your feet pressed on the floor. Keep the knees apart. Lift your chest as you press down to your arms and shoulders. To lift your hips higher, engage your buttocks and legs. Breathe and hold for 4 to 8 breaths. Exhale and slowly bring your back to the floor.

Benefits: It does amazing benefits such as increasing core and body strength, lengthen the spine, energizes the body, and stimulates the nervous system.

 

If you want to practice yoga but are concerned with the threat of covid-19, feel free to engage in online yoga so you can stay in shape while staying safe! Sweatbox offers a variety of online yoga classes that you can participate in and enjoy.

About the Author​

Lynette is fully dedicated to the support and empowerment of the growing community of committed yoga students and teachers. As one of the Lead Instructors for Yoga Teacher Training, she is here to share tips on how to grow your profile as a yoga teacher or build a yoga business either physically or digitally.