BY JYOTI SUBRAMANIAN ON MAY 11, 2021
This piece by me was published in a local Chandigarh epaper. Link below
After recovering from the dreaded COVID, I realised that one of the reasons for my recovery, at home without medication and the positive attitude while in the throes of the symptoms was my relatively disciplined lifestyle and practice of yog sadhana. Holistic health is a consistent effort, treating the body as a temple, taking care of diet and staying away from toxins that affect the body and the mind is a routine that helps at the critical moment of stress, I came to understand deeply at his time.
I am sharing below a combination of asan, pranayam and mudra that can be practiced by everyone and helped me during my illness. All yog contributes towards good health one cannot compartmentalise them into sections, but since the concentration here is specifically on the present pandemic, I am highlighting and modifying those that can be easily practiced by both who are recovering and those unaffected yet new to yog.
Some points to keep in mind:
1. Please wear loose comfortable breathable clothes. This is to let a free-flowing movement of oxygen and pran without restriction through the body.
2. Keep a light stomach, last heavy meal at least three hours before commencing practice, unless otherwise mentioned.
3. Keep to your own level of comfort while practicing the asan, do not overstretch or push your limit. Be comfortable and rested in the posture.
4. You can practice all the following techniques out in the open, facing or with back towards the sun.
Asan Chalityogmudra (Pic 1) and (2)
1. Sit on your knees or back on your heel, depending on your level of flexibility. You can put a pillow behind your knee if you are comfortable with it.
2. Clasp your hands behind your back at the hip level.
3. Now bend forward breathing out, gently raising and extending the clasped arm behind you to shoulder level. When all the breath is out, gently squeezing your whole body while bent forward.
4. Now slowly breathe in as you straighten up and continue to bend back opening up the chest fully as you keep filling your lungs and extending open your diaphragm. Once again hold the breath in and gently squeeze the body. The arms are now back at hip level.
5. Repeat four to six times.
Pranayam (Pic 3,4, & 5)
Set of breathwork for all three parts of the lung. Remember the breath never bursts out or in, you are in control
1. Seat yourself comfortably, on the floor or on a chair. Inhale as you squeeze your shoulders up towards your ears pulling and stretching the spine up. Hold your breath. Exhale as you drop the shoulders down and relax. Repeat 6-10 times. This is for the upper lung area.
2. Maintain the seating posture. Place your left hand on the floor by your side or on the chair and extend the right arm over the head raising the right shoulder and bending towards the left breathing in as you go into the posture. Hold the posture and the breath. Breath out as you bring your right arm back and lower your right shoulder. This is for the middle portion of the right lung.
3. Now place your right hand on the floor by your side or on the chair and extend the left arm over the head raising the left shoulder and bending towards the right breathing in as you go into the posture. Hold the posture and the breath. Breath out as you bring your left arm back and lower your left shoulder. This is for the middle portion of the left lung.
4. Repeat the alternate sides 6-10 times
5. Now we come to the lowermost tip of the lungs. Bend forward with both hands placed firmly on your knee. As you inhale, curve your back bringing the shoulders forward towards each other. Hold the breath for a little while. Exhale as you move your shoulders back and extend your chest. Hold the breath. Repeat 6-10 times.
6. In all the above exercise visualise the golden pran along with the oxygen permeating every alveoli of your lungs.
Mudra (Pic 6)
1. Sit comfortably on the floor or a chair.
2. Loosen your shoulders and drop them.
3. Breathe in slowly filling your lungs with oxygen and pran. Feel every alveoli saturated and completely filled with this life-giving pran.
4. Hold your breath for as long as you can comfortably.
5. Then explosively throw the breath out through the mouth as you throw and extend the tongue out. Purging all breath fully. Remember the breath is thrown out from the bottom of the lung.
Take care not to overextend or overstretch yourself during practice. Stay within your comfort zone and stay safe.
About the Author: Introduced formally to yoga at age 11, Jyoti has effortlessly incorporated in her life, the philosophy of yogic living. With a teaching experience since 1999 in Mahavatar Babaji’s Kundalini Kriya Yoga and Siddhanath Yoga, she takes great pleasure in sharing all that she has learnt with others who seek. Author of the book One Master One Disciple, she is an ardent blogger and inspired writer.
Post Script, not in the original article.
Note to Disciples:
The importance of Grace and Presence of the Satguru.
As a disciple, I have had many divine realisations, many moments of “inner knowingness” as my Satguru Yogiraj Siddhanath calls this; for me they are an aha moment.
So also when I was in the shallow breath stage for two days, as I went deep into myself I felt in every alveoli of my lungs a miniature sun shining and radiating pushing away the clouds of the covid fog. I had no doubt this was the Presence of the grace of my Satguru Yogiraj Siddhanath. When I went deeper and connected with the core disease, I saw present the form of the Mahavatar Babaji comfortably sitting in the middle of the cell and laughing. The vision was so funny it set me laughing uncontrollably. I realised that both the disease and the cure was the play of the divine.
I know I might be opening myself to ridicule and disbelief for sharing this incident. But I share it still as it was an important revelation for me. As usual I end with the rider do not blindly believe what others say, base your foundation on your own realisations.