Because of COVID-19 pandemic people of the world are living through hard times. Finding a sense of normalcy has become a challenging phenomenon for the people to survive each and every day from the dreadful clutches of COVID-19.
The unpredictable outbreak of COVID-19 has completely changed our lives. Wherever we live, we’re well aware not only of the worldwide impact of this life-taking disease but also of the threat within our own country. Particularly, we are concerned about the potential impact of coronavirus on our elderly and physically vulnerable near and dear ones.In this critical phenomenon, meditation might be one of the potential treatments for COVID-19. A recent study finds the healing benefits of yoga and meditation practices as a potential adjunctive treatment of Covid-19 in peer-reviewed Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM).
Deepak Chopra, University of California, San Diego, William Bushell of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-authors from Harvard University and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health describe the anti-inflammatory effects associated with meditation and yoga.
According to the study, “There is evidence of stress and inflammation modulation and also preliminary evidence for possible forms of immune system enhancement, accompanying the practice of certain forms of meditation, yoga and pranayama, along with potential implications for counteracting some forms of infectious challenges.”
In fact, meditation is an ancient fitness practice where an individual uses techniques like mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity to train awareness, attention and compassion to achieve a mentally and emotionally calm and stable state of the human mind.
It is believed that meditation originated in India several thousand years ago as a wellness tradition such as Ayurveda. However, it's now practiced across the world and is growing in popularity not only in Asian countries like Bangladesh but also in western countries as well.
Literally, the importance of practicing meditation and yoga during this pandemic situation of COVID-19 cannot be a weapon to make our people physically and mentally robust to fight against the devil-like infectious disease of coronavirus.Hence, health researchers put emphasis on the practice of meditation and yoga as they have found that it can have many health benefits, such as:
Boosting up the immune system;
Better focus and concentration;
Improve self-esteem and self-awareness;
Reduce stress, anxiety or depression;
Fight against addiction;
Help to control pain;
Promote altruistic behaviour.
In this context, Yale medical experts suggest the practice of meditation can help the patients to cope with illnesses and anxiety related to it. COVID-19 has been an emotional roller coaster and it is an understatement. While we’re busy working at home, homeschooling our children and disinfecting our groceries, our minds may play with a constant chatter of worry in the loop.
For example, “What if I lose my job?” And then “What’ll be my family's circumstances. “What’s going to happen with my retirement savings?” “How will I pay my mortgage payment?” And the ultimate fear: “What if I develop a cough, fever and shortness of breath, lung disease or other symptoms of COVID-19?” Meditation can heal us from these painful plights.
WHO recommends people to stay safe in-home if COVID-19 is spreading in their community by adopting some elementary precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, escaping crowds, cleaning hands for at least 20 seconds and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue.
We have to maintain at least one meter distance between ourselves and others to reduce our risk of infection when they cough, sneeze or speak. Maintain an even greater distance between self and others when indoors. We need to remember that the further away will be the better option.
The appropriate use, storage and cleaning or disposal of masks need to be ensured. Here are the basics of how to wear a mask:
Clean hands before putting on mask, as well as after taking it off and after touching it;
Make sure it covers nose, mouth and chin;
When taking off a mask, store it in a clean plastic bag and every day either wash it if it’s a fabric mask or dispose of a medical mask in the trash bin;
Don’t use masks with valves.
Here, Anne Dutton is a meditation instructor who connects a potential link to establish a close connection between washing hands frequently to prevent coronavirus and the mindfulness of the practice of meditation as an aid of COVID-19 treatment. Dutton says that before we begin, we set our intention that we are going to pay attention to the sensations associated with the experience, as well as any thoughts that arise and emotions we may feel while handwashing.
Moment to moment, pay attention to the water, the application of soap to our hands, the smell of the soap, the rubbing of our hands together. If a thought pops into our head, while we do that—or if we start to feel sad—notice that but go back to the sensations of washing our hands, which is our anchor.
When everyone is talking about immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of yoga and meditation has again come into focus. But there is a big contradiction among the experts. The question still remains: can these holistic practices really protect us from COVID-19?
According to Dr. Kunal Shah (M.D.), a homeopathy expert, there is no denying the fact that yoga and meditation can boost our immunity. However, if someone is COVID-19 positive, then curing that person with yoga and meditation is something that needs more research and evidence.
In fact, COVID-19 positive patients need to get whatever medical intervention they require even if they practice yoga and meditation regularly.
Rana Dutta. Assistant Deputy Secretary, BKMEA