The ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 has recently been creating even more havoc with its more contagious and powerful Delta variant and Bangladesh has been recording new highs in the daily death toll almost every day over the past week.
People are exploring the possible remedies and immunity boosters to stay healthy amid the shutdown, including the benefits of home workouts, meditations and yoga.
Fatigue is something that does not go away even after COVID-19 is cured, and it is also a companion to other infectious diseases. People suffering from weakness of body and mind cannot easily return to normal life because of this respiratory virus that affects the lungs and causes a lack of oxygen supply, thus fatigue spreads to the cells of the body.
Evaluating the problem, health experts suggest that the lungs need to be protected as well as the immune system of the body, and regular yoga practice can be an effective solution to these necessities and also helps to prevent fatigue and other physical and psychological problems.
Several organizations including Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) are considering yoga a beneficiary tool for the frontliners policemen and it has arranged multiple yoga training sessions over the year for both of its male and female troops.
Regarding the health benefit of yoga during this pandemic, Monirul Islam, a 70-years old retired government officer, talked to UNB and shared his miraculous recovery process of surviving a stroke, from which he got cured by practising yoga during the lockdown last year.
“I have always been a fit and socially active person, being engaged to many organizations and cooperative works after my retirement. When we were instructed by WHO and the government that we need to avoid all the outside activities, embracing all these new normalcies and lockdown protocols, my regular life and health got massively impacted - as a result of which, I suffered a stroke in August 2020,” Monirul Islam told UNB.
After receiving the necessary medical assistance, he started receiving online training from yoga studio Bend with B’s founder and instructor Bishaka Tanchangya, a certified yoga instructor from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA Yoga University), Bangalore, India.
“I already had preexisting knowledge on yoga and practised before, however, the revolutionary change that I felt within myself was visible to everyone, once I started receiving online yoga training from Bishaka. As part of the new normal and virtual reality during this unprecedented time, this online yoga training helped me to recover fast and kept me moving,” Monirul Islam shared how yoga helped him during the lockdown
To learn more about the health benefits of yoga, this correspondent talked to Monirul Islam’s yoga instructor Bishaka Tanchangya. She said, “On a personal level, yoga helps me to stay mentally and physically healthy, and it also helps me to recognize and address my anxiety faster and brought positive changes in my own life such as being less-irritated, disturbed and overwhelmed.”
“Yoga is a tool, convenient and easy to rely on - that anyone can use in their way to address their individual requirements. Through yoga, people can explore the magic of mindful living, one of the best ways to deal with stress and anxiety or mental health issues that all go through. The Yoga postures (asanas) may improve physical flexibility, coordination, and strength, while breathing practices and meditation may quiet and focus the mind, resulting in increased awareness and less anxiety, and therefore a better quality of life. Reductions in distress, blood pressure, and gains in resilience, mood, and improved metabolism are the health benefits of Yoga, to name a few,” she told UNB.
When asked about how yoga can help people in the current pandemic-affected circumstances and the normalcy of home-quarantining, she said, “Both the physical and mental health conditions of people are getting drastically impacted a lot these days, and people have been facing difficulties to cope up with the new normalcies, opposed to their regular lifestyles. On a positive note, I have observed that many of them have started using different techniques and mechanisms for their mental well-being, and one of those is the increasing popularity of yoga. Although it is a human-to-human practice, the pandemic has created opportunities for people to learn and practice yoga from professionals through online sessions.”
With her team’s support, Bishaka incorporated yoga training sessions on stress management for clinicians who have been treating COVID-19 patients. Through this initiative, she has been helping medical doctors with self-reflection exercises to find ways to improve themselves, both personally and professionally, as well as teaching methods to reduce stress and anxiety amidst the pandemic.
Addressing the growing demand for people’s wellbeing assistance, some organizations are also providing personalized counselling facilities from professionals. Wellness coach and corporate trainer Sumaia Azmi, also the founder of Nirvana which is a ‘Mind-Body-Soul integrated service’ providing platform, talked to UNB and shared her opinion on the existing scenario especially after the pandemic took over the charge.
“Bangladesh has a population of more than 160 million people, however, there are only 50 clinical psychologists and 200 psychiatrists. The necessity of mental health service in Bangladesh is becoming more and more essential, especially after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic that has made people even more anxious and stressed than before,” Sumaia Azmi told UNB.
The growing rate of domestic violence and failures in terms of relationships are some of the key issues she pointed out as case studies that Nirvana has been exploring since the beginning of the pandemic and lockdown, and she suggests that people need to normalize seeking mental health guidelines and yoga training from experts and professionals to remain well and healthy.
“Prevention is always better than cure, and in order to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle during this unprecedented time, people need to normalize yoga and meditations as daily practices beneath the stigmas, and also they need to normalize asking for professional assistance which has become even more available nowadays, thanks to the online mobility,” she told UNB.