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Meditation in the time of COVID-19

While the vaccine for COVID-19 is still in the far future, Yoga experts say that everyday meditation can boost your immunity which is so necessary to stay healthy and safe

Published: 09th July 2020 09:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th July 2020 09:46 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: "Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality,” said Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. And in a country whose civilisation dates back to 5,000 years the same holds quite true especially when Indian history is dotted with tales of saints, sadhus, and Sufis so indulged in meditation that even ants would pass through their nasal cavities. While the same isn’t possible in the fast-multi-tasking modern world of today, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought us to our knees forcing us to look in the directions which always existed much like water or air. Health and yoga experts say that meditating on a regular basis helps improve the immunity system thus creating a shield in a fight against this highly infectious disease.

In an article published in the International Journal of Recent Scientific Research, several medical doctors have drawn a comparison between stress and immunity and how too much of mental agony can decrease the healing powers of mind and body. That’s when the ancient practice of meditation can help build a wall around the human immunity system. The studies say that meditation increases telomerase activity and lengthens telomeres and thus promotes immune cell longevity. Beneficial effects of meditation also include reducing the activity of nuclear factor-kB which is a mediator in the pathogenesis of certain cancers, arthritis, asthma, and neurodegenerative diseases. C o m - menting on the benefits of meditation Kamlesh Patel, the guide of Heartfulness Meditation says, “It acts as a silent regulator for all systems in our being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual to function in harmony. The impact of this is the ability of the body and mind to respond to internal and external stress with extreme effectiveness.”

Talking more about the benefits of meditation, Hyderabad-based yoga trainer Harshita Soni shares, “In the 195 Yoga Sutras, only three talk of physical asanas. The rest is all about the mind and its power, almost magical in nature. We can say that Patanjali was the first psychologist in the world. While one meditates the goal is to pluck the mind out of the problem. Why people experience more pain while suffering is because their focus is on the pain which multiplies its intensity. Meditation techniques do boost immunity especially if one exhales properly and deeply; that alone empties the lungs bringing purification. Even five minutes of Pranayam every day is very good especially in these times when everyone is experiencing extreme anxiety.” She operates from a Somajiguda centre which is now restricted only to children with special needs or senior citizens. She conducts her sessions online. She also runs a telephonic Yoga helpline and can be contacted at 77025 55426.

A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin- Madison conducted a study on a group of 25 healthy employees, who practised meditation for eight weeks. The finding revealed that meditation activated an important immunelinked region in the brain as it showed a good antibody response. Discussing the powerful results of regular meditation Fareena, a Yoga trainer who teaches at Ananda in the Himalayas shares, “Meditating on a daily basis is essential because it keeps stress at bay, which in addition helps the immunity system to retain its strength. Any disease finds its way to our body more easily if we are under stress which also means that our mind isn’t calm. It’s all about experiencing the ‘now’ and meditation facilitates it bringing its own treasures.”

IMMUNITY IN YOUR HANDS

At the virtual book launch of the digital book, The Magic Immunity Pill: Lifestyle co-authored by holistic lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho, the writer said, ““Health is the biggest treasure we have and it is non-negotiable. We must invest in it every day. Immunity is fundamental to the human body but most people do not understand the basics of it. The right kind of nutrition, physical activity, sleep and emotional wellness are key to having a strong immunity. We must have the discipline to do this in the right way. Stress and fear are wasted emotions and it should be a personal decision to overcome it. Instead of wallowing in it, we must choose to overcome stress. The book focusses on emotional wellness, quality sleep, balanced nutrition and adequate exercise to build a strong immune system and is available free for all. He enunciated how simple changes in our lifestyle can make a big difference to our wellbeing and fitness.”

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