When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters, one represents danger and the other represents opportunity. …..John F. Kennedy

This award winning article is written by :

Dr. Anjali Mangesh Joshi

Yoga Therapist, HCG NCHRI Cancer Centre, Nagpur

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As we are facing this global pandemic of Corona virus disease 2019 or COVI D 19, this quote seems relevant. In the midst of the danger, we also have the option to look for the opportunity. This crisis can give us a chance to get back to our roots, our ancient spiritual wisdom, connect to our inner self, and follow the guidelines as mentioned in Ayurveda and Yoga to tackle the health challenges of this pandemic.

The COVID 19 impact:

COVID19 has affected each and every individual making significant impact on the lives of millions . According to the World Health Organization, large scale events such as disease outbreaks have physical, social and emotional consequences for those affected.

Those who are confined to homes are facing issues such as anxiety, stress, depression, frustration, loneliness, boredom, anger, conflicts at home and the loss of face to face social connections. They are also worried about financial losses,  collapsing economy, fear of losing jobs and the uncertainty of the situation.
At the physical level, the inactivity, lack of exercise and working from home has resulted in increased online time, increased screen time with excessive use of mobiles and laptops . This is causing back pain, neck pain, eye strain.

The working population such as health care providers, police, media personnel, sanitation workers and those providing essential services are stressed about stepping out of the house and posing a risk of contracting the disease while performing their duties.

What can be done?

According to a recent article in Asian Journal of Psychiatry, along with preventing the spread and controlling the disease, special attention to the mental health issues of the community is the need of the hour. Basic precautions such as staying at home during the lock down period, social distancing, washing the hands frequently, use of sanitizer, wearing the mask are absolutely necessary to control the COVID-19. Along with the proper and comprehensive management, adhering to the rules mentioned and addressing the mental health concerns are suggested to be the only possible way to overcome the existing situation.

Need for change in the mindset:

Although we can’t control what’s happening, we can control the way we respond to what’s happening. It is said that, “Everything you need, your courage, strength, compassion and love is already within you.” At this difficult time, our inner strength needs to be explored. There is a need to build our morale to face the challenges patiently.

Instead of considering the lock down period as forced rest, punishment or feeling trapped inside the home, we can take it as an opportunity to slow down, seek spiritual knowledge and reflect on the inner world.  It can be utilized as a means for personal growth to build the mental strength, will power and work efficiency. Having faith, patience and courage that this is just a phase which will end soon, will help us focus on the hope.

Ancient solution to modern problem:

Yoga, the ancient Indian spiritual science has been practiced as a way of right living for centuries. Yoga aims at balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions. The whole world now acknowledges the benefits of Yoga in providing physical, mental and spiritual well being. The Harvard Medical School has recently recommended yoga practices during the pandemic of COVID 19. The United Nations has recommended Yoga and  Meditation to combat anxiety associated with COVID-19 and guided Meditation audios are available on their website.

Ministry of Ayush, Govt of India has recommended a lifestyle,  “dincharya” based on our age old science of Ayurveda and Yoga. Our Hon’ble prime minister also strongly recommends and urges people to follow them.

Yoga practices improve immunity, improve the lung capacity and functioning of respiratory system. Yoga helps to cope with stress, anxiety and depression related issues due to isolation,uncertainty, disruptions in normal life, etc. It also helps manage co-morbidities such as diabetes which increase the risk of COVID -19. People who have recovered from Covid-19,  have shared that Yoga helped keep their morale up while they were in the hospital.

Healthy Lifestyle to combat COVID-19:

Exercise, sound sleep and a nutritious diet are the three pillars of good health and strong immune system. The following is a brief description of self care practices that one should follow to keep healthy during the COVID–19 pandemic.

  • Physical activity:

Since gyms, health clubs, Yoga classes have been closed and morning walks are not closed and morning walks are not possible, it is best to practice Yoga at home. Using online resources, it can be learned easily possible, it is best to practice Yoga at home. Using online resources, it can be learned easily and practiced safely at home.  Many reputed Yoga organizations and yoga gurus in India are carrying out free live webcasts of Yoga practices and Meditations for the benefit of common people.

  • Which Yoga practices to do?

A variety of yoga practices can help in many ways. Just a few practices are mentioned here practices are mentioned here for example. They should be practiced considering the individual health status and limitations. Daily practice of at least 30 minutes of Yoga is advisable.

Sukshma vyayam: These loosening practices relieve stiffness of muscles and joints,improve blood circulation and reduce aches and pains
Aasana : Chest opening yoga poses and back bends such as ardha chakrasan, bhujangasan, dhanurasan, ushtrasan improve lung function. Other aasana such as tadasan, tiryak tadasan, katichakrasan , setubandhasan, mandukasan, pavanmuktasan, naukasan may be practiced as per the health and individual needs.
Shuddhi kriya: Jala neti helps clean the nasal cavity and improve resistance to respiratory infections, allergies. Kapalbhati cleanses the respiratory system.
o Pranayama: Deep breathing helps to utilize the full potential of the lungs and improve lung capacity. Bhramari, anulom vilom and ujjayi pranayama help relieve stress. Chanting of Om reduces negative thoughts and improves energy.
Meditation: It calms down the mind and gives a sense of peace and tranquility.

  • What to drink?

Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is important, because dehydration at cellular level results in the breeding of the virus. Drinking warm water, herbal tea with tulsi , cinnamon, black pepper, dry ginger, raisins and hot milk with turmeric are some of the simple household remedies that can be followed in every Indian household.

  • What to eat?

Consuming freshly cooked home food is recommended. Cold foods and drin ks should be avoided . Spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander and garlic, chyavanprash , citrus fruits with vitamin C are also beneficial in boosting the immune power.

  • Sunlight:

When we are confined at home, lack of sunlight can lead to low feeling, sadness and even depression, according to research. Enough sunlight in the morning or evening from the windows or balcony of the house is essential . It also gives a dose of Vitamin D, which is critical for immune function and reduce the risk of infection and disease.

  • Simple Ayurvedic health practices:

Nasya (putting sesame oil, coconut oil or ghee in the nostrils ) protects, as dry nostrils can be prone to infection. Another procedure, the oil pulling therapy involves swishing sesame or coconut oil in the mo uth for 2 – 3 minutes followed by warm saline rinse are also recommended.


Our ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga has the potential to bring harmony in chaos, light in darkness and bliss to those suffering. A positive frame of mind and thinking of this challenging situation as a “difficult phase which will pass”  is required. Having faith and hope will help us emerge as more powerful COVID 19 warriors, and not worriers.

As spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar says, “Have patience now, life will be a celebration.”


Sukshma Vyayam and other Yoga poses, videos are available on Sungrace Yoga YouTube channel :