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How Yoga Can Improve Your Mental Health Especially During Coronavirus Pandemic

World Mental Health Day 2020: The outbreak of Novel Coronavirus has affected our mental health as well and here is how yoga can help you uplift it

International Yoga Day 2020 How Yoga Can Improve Your Mental Health Especially During Coronavirus Pandemic
Highlights
  • For treating depression and anxiety, yoga works well: Dr Gangadhar
  • Yoga and physical exercises release healthy brain chemicals like endorphins
  • Healthy chemicals help combat mental health issues like anxiety: Dr Anuneet

New Delhi: “Yoga is known to change the underline biology of the disease. For instance, in patients with depression, there are high levels of cortisol and low levels of brain repairing chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. When you treat such patients with yoga, their cortisol level drops, levels of brain repairing chemical increases and depression gets better”, says Dr B N Gangadhar, Director, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS). This is just one example of yoga proving to be beneficial in the field of mental health. According to the experts, yoga brings about numerous changes in an individual’s life and in turn improves both physical and mental health. NDTV speaks to experts to understand the numerous benefits of yoga on mental health.

Also Read: Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali Says ‘People Should Talk About Mental Illness As Easily As They Talk About Physical Diseases’

The Impact Of Coronavirus On Mental Health And The Role Of Yoga

The Coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty around it, have brought mental health to the forefront. Though India is unlocking, the fear of contracting the Novel Coronavirus still looms large. While many are locked inside their house with their families, others are living alone and the situation is interfering with our emotional well-being. Elaborating on the same, Kushendra Tiwary, ISHA Hatha Yoga teacher at Yoga with Kush says,

The pandemic has brought in a lot of uncertainty about each and everything. You can literally die the next day and you won’t know. There can be COVID-19 carriers around you. Also, since a lot of people are working from home, their routine has changed, people are complaining of change in the sleep cycle, among others. Amidst this, people have become slaves to their situation. And here comes the role of yoga – it’s not about becoming passive about anything but accepting a lot of things.

Also Read: Look After Your Mental Health During Coronavirus, Experts Predict Rise In Cases Of Anxiety And Panic

Dr Gangadhar says that there are numerous components of yoga-like chanting ‘om’, deep breathing, yoga poses and exercises and each component is used in a different way. For instance, while chanting ‘om’, some of the brain structures which are related to an increase in the emotional turmoil called limbic system grey matter becomes deactivated. This means the brain becomes less functional with respect to creating emotional turmoil.

Even in conditions like Schizophrenia, the brain networks are repaired by yoga in addition to Schizophrenia getting better. But this needs to go with a word of caution, yoga is not the only treatment for all mental illnesses. In depression and anxiety, you can give yoga as monotherapy, clarifies Dr Gangadhar.

Echoing the same and elaborating on how yoga helps in improving mental health, Dr Anuneet Sabharwal, Psychiatrist and founder and director of The Happy Tree says,

Research studies suggest that yoga and regular physical exercises increase body awareness, relieve stress, reduce muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms the nervous system. Yoga also relieves symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) and many other mental health conditions when it is done alongside drug therapy and counselling.

Also Read: Experts Hint At A Rise In Mental Illness Due To COVID-19, Suggest Inculcating Positive Thoughts

As reiterated by experts, yoga does have a direct impact on one’s mental health. While some breathing exercises relieve stress, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, sadness, meditation and yoga therapy boosts focus and confidence. Elaborating more on the benefits of yoga, Dr Sabharwal says,

Chronic stress and other mental health conditions often leads to mood swings and lack of patience in people which further interferes with their ability to cope with them. Yoga and physical exercises help us in gaining control over our emotions and to become aware of them. Also, physical exercises and yoga therapy release healthy brain chemicals like endorphins and dopamine. These chemicals in return help us balance our mood and combat common mental health issues like depression, anxiety, mood disorders and many more.

Also Read: ‘Happiness Is Not Something To Run After, We Can Find It Within Us’, Says Sister B.K. Shivani On How To Deal With Stress

How To Keep Mental Health Issues Like Anxiety, Panic At Bay With Yoga

When asked about the kind of exercises one should begin with to deal with the anxiety, panic, and stress that has become more common during Coronavirus pandemic, Dr Sabharwal suggests three poses – Balasana (Child’s pose) which stimulates the nervous system and re-energise our bodies; Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose) for improved blood circulation and relaxing mind; Shavasana (corpse pose) for meditation and relaxing the body.

Dr Gangadhar suggests bending backwards while standing or lying on the stomach along with chanting ‘om’. Though practising yoga is good, Kushendra Tiwary suggests doing it under the guidance of a trained professional. He says,

Instead of learning it from a book or watching few videos online, one should approach professionals and seek guidance. There are tools available online so one doesn’t need to physically go to an ashram or centre to do yoga. It can be done while you are at home.

Also Read: Bollywood Bats For Mental Health Awareness Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

This becomes even more crucial when someone has an underlining physical problem like weak bones, slip disc or any other illness.

Apart from this, Sarvesh Shashi, Founder, SARVA & Diva Yoga recommends clubbing regular yoga and Pranayama with few basic things like sticking to a schedule, keeping in touch with family and friends, eating healthy, keeping the immune system strong, indulging in me-time and sleeping well. Mr Shashi says,

Through the lockdown people have had to adjust to an entirely new style of living, working and socialising. With daily routines disrupted, it is natural for anxiety, stress, exhaustion, sleeping disorders and other issues to take centre stage. However, we must take into account that change is the only constant, today’s lows can easily convert into tomorrow’s highs – what counts is only how you take these in your stride.

Also Read: Prolonged Self-isolation Due To Lockdown May Make Humans Feel Depressed, Powerless, Says Israeli Professor

(If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist.) Helplines:

AASRA: 91-22-27546669 (24 hours)
Sneha Foundation: 91-44-24640050 (24 hours)
Vandrevala Foundation for Mental Health: 1860-2662-345 and 1800-2333-330 (24 hours)
iCall: 022-25521111 (Available from Monday to Saturday: 8:00am to 10:00pm)
Connecting NGO: 18002094353 (Available from 12 pm – 8 pm)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,00,62,413Cases
20,17,73,183Active
3,33,99,961Recovered
48,89,269Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,00,62,413 and 48,89,269 have died; 20,17,73,183 are active cases and 3,33,99,961 have recovered as on October 16, 2021 at 4:08 am.

India

3,40,53,573 15,981Cases
2,01,6322,046Active
3,33,99,961 17,861Recovered
4,51,980 166Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,53,573 confirmed cases including 4,51,980 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,01,632 and 3,33,99,961 have recovered as on October 16, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,88,429 2,149

33,379 222

64,15,316 1,898

1,39,734 29

Kerala

48,38,811 8,867

95,349 1,072

47,16,728 9,872

26,734 67

Karnataka

29,82,869 470

9,700 93

29,35,238 368

37,931 9

Tamil Nadu

26,84,641 1,245

15,238 213

26,33,534 1,442

35,869 16

Andhra Pradesh

20,59,708 586

6,453 135

20,38,960 712

14,295 9

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,014 6

133 2

16,86,984 8

22,897

West Bengal

15,79,463 451

7,513 63

15,52,997 506

18,953 8

Delhi

14,39,337 26

327 10

14,13,921 36

25,089

Odisha

10,34,276 467

4,817 73

10,21,180 535

8,279 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,624 10

197 6

9,91,857 16

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,383 1

40 2

9,45,389 3

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,258 14

212 3

8,15,960 17

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,675 6

106 5

7,82,046 11

10,523

Haryana

7,71,049 14

116 11

7,60,884 3

10,049

Bihar

7,26,021 5

46 4

7,16,314 1

9,661

Telangana

6,68,722 104

4,056 115

6,60,730 218

3,936 1

Assam

6,05,944 97

3,458 188

5,96,547 284

5,939 1

Punjab

6,01,992 21

228 6

5,85,224 25

16,540 2

Jharkhand

3,48,415 9

130 0

3,43,150 9

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,739 10

179 4

3,36,163 6

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,30,885 51

895 40

3,25,564 91

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,203 90

1,361 26

2,16,125 114

3,717 2

Goa

1,77,410 54

648 31

1,73,423 81

3,339 4

Puducherry

1,27,296 37

611 36

1,24,836 73

1,849

Manipur

1,22,545 113

1,444 0

1,19,208 109

1,893 4

Mizoram

1,11,651 932

13,316 285

97,955 1,211

380 6

Tripura

84,299 4

102 8

83,381 12

816

Meghalaya

82,815 81

893 1

80,490 79

1,432 1

Chandigarh

65,297 2

30 2

64,447 4

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,964 6

183 19

54,501 25

280

Sikkim

31,739 17

189 35

31,159 51

391 1

Nagaland

31,547 31

228 2

30,645 32

674 1

Ladakh

20,871 4

42 2

20,621 6

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,675

3 0

10,668

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

1 1

10,313 1

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,641 1

9 1

7,503 2

129

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jamie

    December 5, 2020 at 12:26 am

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  2. Jamie

    December 30, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    Great article! I loooove yoga. Anyone interested in this stuff should definitely check out the book Everyday Roots. It teaches you how to replace all the toxic chemicals in your life with healthy organic alternatives. Its completely changed my life and how I feel everyday! 🙂

    Heres a great review of everday roots: http://reggiesreview.weebly.com/everyday-roots-review.html

    Keep up the great content!

  3. Anima Sur @yogic wellness secrets

    May 9, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing this artcle. Much needed in this grave time…
    To live through this lockdown & pandemic period, yoga is the best thing to adopt as a lifestyle habit. It helps us build a strong physical, mental, and spiritual health system. When combined with breathing and meditation, it acts as the best element to take care of our mind, body and soul.

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