A new virus, the coronavirus or COVID-19, began generating headlines all over the world because of the unprecedented spread of its transmission and sent the entire world on lockdown. And if you are feeling extra anxious these days, you are not alone. This pandemic disease has us all facing more stress and uncertainty than usual. The single most important step to take right now in this pandemic is to collectively help each other move through this.
To tackle any condition, efforts need to be taken on a holistic level – mind, body, and soul. With fears of corona virus rising, anxiety and stress are natural side effects. But we have to and we can beat it. Yoga and mindfulness techniques can be really helpful in calming the nervous system and helping to centre the emotions.
Yoga and Meditation Can help You Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety
Yoga and meditation help us get a handle on our anxiety and its practice can fortify our bodies and minds which may help give us an edge to ward off the common cold, flu, and coronavirus. These both are great tools for managing stress and they can be done in a small space.
Psychologists say that corona virus-related anxiety is an understandable response to the unknown, but some people are especially vulnerable. To cope with it, it is recommended to limit media exposure to the topic by sticking to only one or two trusted sources as over-exposure to news and chaos creates a lot of anxiety.
Yoga is a skill in action which is a selfless state of being in which our emotion of fear does not overwhelm our thinking. It offers a fresh perspective to deal with events that are beyond our control. Beyond flexibility, balance, and strength, yoga also helps quieten mental chatter and deepen spiritual awareness. As told by a yoga expert, breathing manipulation and balancing of the nervous system helps to quell fears and anxieties and calm the emotional state.
Breathe, breathe and breathe! The importance and effectiveness of breathing in these trying times is unparalleled and it not only keeps the lungs strong but infused the brain with oxygen and goes a long way in calming anxiety. Indian pranayama like Anualom Vilom, Brashtrika and Kapalabhati are great techniques to try. Breath is our being and a simple key to curing so many basic issues in the body.
The key to finding peace and tranquillity can be found within our autonomic nervous system (ANS) of the body which acts largely unconsciously and regulates our respiratory system among other things. Two major branches of this system are the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) responsible for the fight or flight reflex and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) responsible for the rest and digest reflex. As soon we connect with our breath, we calm our nervous system and shift it from the SNS to PNS.
To stimulate the PNS to reduce anxiety and relax, use yoga techniques that act on the vagus nerve that runs from the brain to the abdomen. Different forms of Pranayama or breathwork lead to a greater vagal tone to balance the ANS.
As you breathe in, your heart rate generally speeds up and slows when you exhale. The greater the difference between the inhalation and exhalation heart rates, the higher the vagal tone and the more readily your body can relax.
One of the most simple breathing technique is deep conscious diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing while slightly constricting the opening of the throat. While inhaling, the breath first fills the lower belly, rises to the lower rib cage and moves into the upper chest and throat called ujjayi or victorious breathing, it is typically performed with an inhale-exhale ratio to be 1:2. This technique energize and relax the body, as you begin to meditate.
A form of meditation that is helps calm the nervous system is ‘yoga nidra’ (yogic sleep), a mindfulness practice performed lying down, in which the body is completely relaxed.
Techniques that encourage breath manipulation and help to balance the nervous system can help us overcome fears and anxieties whether they relate to the current coronavirus outbreak. Keep calm and breathe on.
Five minutes of being able to go into the quiet spaces of the mind can help balance our anxiety and connect us to our higher source energy. Many believe they can’t meditate because they have too many thoughts. This is a false belief that meditation isn’t about cutting thoughts our – it’s about separating from them and they just gently observing those thoughts as if they were the thoughts of an outsider.
While observing your thoughts you can also catch recurring negative thought patterns that are the basis of any anxiety. When you become aware of these patterns, you can overcome them much more easily with either your practices or reaching out to life couches.
Bach flower remedies are simple flower essence remedies that are proved to be extremely effective in balancing anxiety. A trained practitioner can identify the root of anxiety and prescribe a concoction of remedies that can help to soothe any emotional imbalances.
Body practicing basic calming yoga poses in anxious times also helps. They help keep the blood circulation going, calm the nerves, balance hormones that could go whack due to stress and open up the energy flow in the body. When energy is stuck in any area in the body, it causes unseen blocks that cause physical and mental stress. Inverted yoga poses such as Headstand, Handstands, Shoulder Stand, and Bridge gushes blood into the brain and a release of wonderful relaxing endorphins in our system.
Not a yoga person? No need to start now unless you would like to try it. Sometimes trying new things, exploring yourself and discovering new activities can benefit you and enjoy can be a welcome healthy distraction.
Energy shielding and energy healing are two properties that are gaining great popularity globally as everyone is beginning to recognize how everything in this world is made up of energy. Energy healers such as Reiki or Pranic healers can help shield and protect you mentally and physically from any negative energies and helping your system to combat a virus if it made it into your energy body. It’s another tool in your arsenal in the fight against the Coronavirus.
Often the problem isn’t what’s happening but what might happen which makes us feel stressed and panicky. Mindfulness is the remedy which means staying in the moment. Try to focus on the activity which you are doing instead of thinking about anything else. It’s great for people who don’t have any meditation experience to get started.
There is an entire universe of free yoga classes available on YouTube and some instructors are live-streaming their classes from home. So, try yoga and relax the body, mind, and soul.
Warm fluids, lemon water, and certain ayurvedic herbs can help in boosting our immunity and alkalize our systems. The more alkaline present in our bodies, the more we are equipped to battle stress. Stress and acidity are found to be commonly linked and form a vicious cycle in our body causing headaches, brain fog and a general sense of lethargy.
Take sensible steps that can help us all – get your bearings, practice good hygiene, use calming strategies that work for you and maybe try something new. Making healthy, reasonable choices about what to do and what not to do will make a big difference in being able to stay as safe and as well as possible.
Walking mindfully and breathing mindfully in nature while maintaining the distance from others enables us to connect with the natural world, which helps the mind to calm naturally.
Therefore, it is important that while we follow government regulations or orders, and keep our social distancing, we use this time for self-balancing and healing, staying calm in the eye of the storm is what can take us from ordinary beings to extraordinary beacons of light.
Conclusion – Don’t panic, stay calm and put things in perspective in between washing your hands, of course.