Noida: Greater Noida (West) resident Arpan Khanal tested positive for Covid-19 on March 6 and spent about 14 days in the intensive care unit (ICU) as 65% of his lungs had been damaged. Three months on, Arpan hails Yoga to have been his lifeboat during his post-Covid recovery.
The 42-year-old tested negative on March 28, but faced breathing issues and weakness. Yoga is not new to him as he and his family have been taking online Yoga sessions since the lockdown last year. His wife and son were also infected with Covid but were not in as critical a condition as him.
“From April 1, my wife and I rejoined our online Yoga sessions and started doing light breathing exercises. It not only helped in respiratory issues, but also brought mental peace and positivity, which had been drained out of us because of sickness,” said Khanal.
Khanal is one of the many people who have used Yoga to get back their health after recovering from Covid. Kush Singh, Khanal’s Yoga teacher, holds sessions for about 110 people daily.
“Since April this year, around 25 new people from Noida-Ghaziabad have joined my sessions, who have recently recovered from Covid. We tell them to start Yoga only when they feel completely comfortable. It takes time for people to recover from weakness. Some light breathing exercises like ‘anulom vilom’ are taught, in order to help them increase their lung capacity,” said Kush Singh, a resident of Ghaziabad.
Ravinder Singh Gill, an instructor from Noida’s Sector 107, adds that in the past year, more and more people have turned to Yoga. However, in the past few months, people who got Covid are also using Yoga to recover.
“We have to be very careful while dealing with those who have had Covid as we do not want to exhaust them. Since we are teaching online, we cannot see the student’s expressions or body language clearly to ascertain what they are comfortable with. Hence, I prefer to give only light exercises for such people and progress only after they feel comfortable and confident of taking up heavier breathing exercises,” said Gill.
He added that the proning exercises, which have been recommended by doctors to bring up oxygen levels in the body, find their roots in Yoga.
“Proning exercises are a mix of various asanas of Yoga. Some of my students who had Covid were advised to exercise proning positions by doctors. They came back to tell us that they already knew those exercises as we had done them during Yoga as well,” said Gill.
Dr NK Sharma, president, Indian Medical Association’s Noida chapter, said that Yoga is an important addition to the lifestyle in order to stay fit.
“However, post-Covid patients should be highly cautious of the extent and strength of the Yoga exercises or asanas that they do. If the lungs have been infected severely, recovery will take time as the muscles in the lungs face constriction in relaxing and collapsing in order to breathe. Deep breathing can also be harmful if done excessively, as it may increase heart rate. Having said that, doctors recommend that mild or light Yoga exercises can be used in getting your health back on track after Covid,” said Dr Sharma.