The rise of Coronavirus has put the immune system of the whole world to test. We have learned now that precaution is indeed better than cure. Coronavirus does not have any cure yet so the best way to dodge it, is to boost your immune system. In yogic philosophy Viruses are mentioned to be everywhere. It is just that we cannot see them and also we can never get rid of them. Viruses in Ayurveda are called “bhoota” which literally means ghosts. They only defense against viruses is your immune system because eventually 80% of the population is going to get it. You might have heard that it is more dangerous for old people but that’s not true. It completely depends on your immune system. A lot of people aged more than 80 years have recovered from Coronavirus cases (COVID-19). To prepare your immunity you have time until you don’t get this virus. Rishi Patanjali blessed us with the following pranayama to enhance our immune systems.
Practice these yoga asanas to boost your immunity against Coronavirus:
Bhramari Pranayama (The Pranic Humming Control)
- Sit in a comfortable meditative posture. The spinal cord should be erect and the head straight. Close your eyes and relax the whole body.
- Keep the mouth closed throughout the practice.
- Inhale deeply through both nostrils. Retain the breath inside and perform Jalandhara and/or Mula Bandha.
- After about 4 seconds release the bandhas and plug both ears with the index fingers. Keeping the mouth closed, separate the teeth and slowly exhale, producing a long continuous humming sound like a bee.
- The exhalation should be slow and steady.
- Feel the sound vibrations in the brain and be conscious of the sound only.
- This is round one. Start with 5 rounds and slowly increase the number.
Precautions: Do not practice this pose in the supine position. Do not strain the lungs in any way.
This pose is good for your body in many ways. Some of its benefits include :
- Relieves cerebral tension
- Removes anger, anxiety and frustration
- Reduces blood pressure.
- Eliminates throat ailments
- Strengthens and improves the voice.
- It also creates an awareness of nada (psychic sound).
- A healthy breathing pattern lowers your risk of getting affected by coronavirus.
Bhastrika Pranayama (The Bellows Breath)
Sit in any comfortable meditative asana. Hold the head and spine erect. Close the eyes and relax.
- Place the left hand on the left knee and the index and middle fingers of the right hand on the forehead. Put the thumb beside the right nostril and the ring finger beside the left nostril. Close the right nostril by pressing the thumb against the side of the nostril.
- Breathe rapidly through the left nostril 20 times, expanding and contracting the abdomen rhythmically. Then take a deep breath. Close both nostrils by pressing both sides of the nose with the thumb and ring finger, and perform the jalandhara and/or mula bandha. Hold the breath for a comfortable period of time, then release the bandhas and exhale.
- Close the left nostril with the ring finger. Breathe rapidly through the right nostril 20 times with rhythmic expansions and contractions of the abdominal muscles.
- Then inhale deeply, close both nostrils and perform jalandhara and/or moola bandha. Hold your breath for some time and then slowly exhale.
- This is the first round. Practice 3 rounds.
- Then proceed to stage 2.
- Sit in the same position, hands on the knees.
- Breathe rapidly 20 times through both nostrils.
- Then inhale deeply, hold the breath and perform jalandhara and/or moola bandha. After a comfortable period release the bandhas and breathe out.
- This is the first round. Practice 3 rounds.
- This is the end of the complete practice of bhastrika.
- Advanced practitioners may increase the number of inhalation and exhalation up to 50 and the number of rounds may also be increased up to 5 for each stage.
Precautions: A feeling of faintness or perspiration indicates that the practice is being performed incorrectly. Avoid violent respiration, facial contortions and excessive shaking of the body. If any of the above symptoms are experienced, then advice of a yoga teacher should be sought. Relax during the practice and rest after each round. Bhastrika should be done slowly for the first few weeks. Increase the speed of respiration gradually as the lungs become stronger.
Limitations: Bhastrika is not for people with high blood pressure, vertigo or any heart ailment. Beginners should practice cautiously and with expert guidance.
Benefits: This is a wonderful method to purify the lungs of unwanted gases and germs. It is excellent for asthma, tuberculosis, pleurisy, etc. It eliminates inflammation of the throat as well as any accumulation of phlegm. It increases the appetite by fanning the gastric fire. This asana also induces peace and tranquility of mind. Symptoms of Coronavirus like Dry Cough,Sore Throat and Difficulty in Breathing can be avoided by practicing the Bhastrika Pranayama on a daily basis.
Note: In this technique the lungs are used like a blacksmith’s bellows.
Kapalbhati Pranayama (Frontal Brain Cleansing)
- Sit in any comfortable meditative pose.
- Close the eyes and relax.
- Perform 60 to 100 rapid respirations.
- Unlike bhastrika, the inhalation should be spontaneous with the emphasis on exhalation.
- Then exhale deeply and perform Jalandhara, moola and uddiyana bandhas simultaneously.
- Focus on the void in the region of the eyebrow center, feeling the all-pervading emptiness and calmness.
- Release the bandhas, inhale slowly and relax.
- This is the first round. Practice 5 Rounds.
Duration: Advanced practitioners should extend the number of rounds to 10 or more. The benefits of this Pranayama are increased if the breath retention is long. However, do not hold your breath for a long time. Increase the period of retention slowly over a period of time.
Sequence: Practice immediately before meditation.
Precautions: Do not hold your breath for an excessively long duration. Other precautions are same as mentioned for bhastrika.
Benefits: This process purifies the frontal region of the brain. Thoughts and visions are automatically stopped, allowing the mind to rest and become revitalized. It is an thrombosis. Difficulty in breathing is considered to be the most significant symptom of coronavirus. One who practices Kapalbhati Pranayama on a daily basis, will never experience breathing problems in his life.
Note: This is a good preparation technique for meditation. It is also one of the six shatkarmas used in hatha yoga.
Surya Bheda Pranayama (The Vitality Stimulating Technique)
- Sit in any comfortable meditative pose. Make the spine and head erect and place your hands on the knees.
- Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
- Raise the right hand, placing the middle and index fingers on the forehead and the thumb and ring finger gently on each side of the nose.
- Close the left nostril with the ring finger. Inhale deeply through the right nostril.
- Close both nostrils, retain the breath and perform jalandhara and moola bandha.
- Maintain for as long as is comfortably possible.
- Release moola bandha then jalandhara bandha.
- Exhale through the left nostril.
- This is the first round. Repeat the same process.
Duration: Perform up to 10 rounds. Try to slowly increase the length of retention over a few weeks.
Precautions: Do not practice before or immediately after meals, because the body needs the energy for digestion. This Pranayama should be learned cautiously under expert guidance.
Benefits: This pranayama activates pingala nadi and therefore gives the practitioner dynamism to perform physical activities more efficiently.
The Great Surya Namaskara
This is not just one asana but is comprised of 12 different asanas. If you manage to complete the 12 asanas or yoga poses of this yoga sequence, it is equivalent to you having done 288 powerful yoga poses thus improving your immunity more than any yoga asana there is. Everyone knows surya namaskara is the ultimate practice to boost metabolism and burn fat.
[ Learn More about the Surya Namaskara ]