Ayurveda and Yoga in Covid-19 Management: Experience Sharing

Dr Ishwar V. Basavaraddi

Ayurveda and Yoga are two sides of a single coin for attaining the harmony between the mind, body and soul

Yoga and Ayurveda since the ancient times till present have existed in sync, complementing each other as sister practices for holistic health and wellness. The therapeutic science of Ayurveda, when practised alongside the spiritual and physical practice of Yoga, brings an overall consonance and balance to our body and mind, aptly leading us towards the path of self-realisation.

Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, in lieu to its weekly webinar, organised a session on “Ayurveda and Yoga in COVID-19 Management: Experience Sharing”  introduced by Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi, Director, MDNIY, with Taiyab Alam, Communication and Documentation Officer along with other members of the institute on the panel.

Dr. Basavaraddi addressed the webinar with his introductory remarks welcoming the esteemed guest speaker Prof. (Dr.) Tanuja Manoj Nesari, Director, All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) New Delhi to deliver a lecture on the dual benefits of balancing holistic health with Ayurveda and Yoga, together, and also to share the experiences of how Ayurveda has helped in the prevention from infection and management of frontline COVID-19 warriors and common masses amidst the ongoing pandemic.

Dr. Basavaraddi emphasised upon Ayurveda and Yoga flip sides of a single coin that collectively help us attain harmony between mind, body and soul. He says, “Ayurveda is the physical face of Yoga and Yoga is the spiritual face of Ayurveda”. Hence a combined module of “Ayuryoga” should be followed for achieving holistic health and wellness amidst this pandemic and every day in general.

He briefed all about a similar module of Ayuryoga is being practised at All India Institute of Ayurveda in the management of this unprecedented condition of COVID-19 for prophylaxis, treatment and post-COVID care during the last nine months. Moreover, in the prophylaxis management, along with general measures like gargling, use of spices and immunomodulatory measures, Ayurveda has advocated practising Yoga for strengthening the respiratory system for coping up with mental stress the patient is facing in this unprecedented time.

Dr. Tanuja began her expressively informative lecture by enunciating that “Ayurveda is incomplete without Yoga.” She states that Ayurveda is not just a folklore medicine but a complete knowledge system and a monumental contribution of India to the world. 
“It is not merely a Jadibuti Science rather with Ashtang – the eight specialised clinical branches of Ayurveda – when any disease – infection condition arises, we treat it with Cause, Effect, and Management as has been implemented and done in case of the COVID-19 infection breakout in India.” Every aspect of Hethu, Linga and Aushadhi have been studied to tackle the pandemic before treating patients.

Dr. Tanuja emphasised upon Ayurveda as the science of life which aims at maintenance of health and management of diseases, wherein she focuses on the widening scope of Ayurvedic treatments from non-communicable diseases to communicable disease alike. The opportunity to research and further this scope came about while battling the COVID-19 pandemic wherein the All India Institute of Ayurveda initiated the campaign of “Care With Compassion.”

The three-way approach of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic has been through;

  1. Preventive Care – Prophylactic measure 
  2. Curative Care – Symptomatic Ayurveda Management
  3. Restorative Care – Rejuvenation

Ayurveda, Dr. Tanuja says, puts prevention above cure and the Ayurvedic principles for a healthy life stem from – a good Diet, Sleep and the practice of celibacy – which other than it’s objective meaning also denotes the “self-control” and closeness of oneself with supreme god.

Image Source: PPT presented in the Webinar.

She wholesomely agrees with Dr. Basavaraddi’s words that “Yoga and Ayurveda are inseparable” by quoting, 

Yogena Chittasya Padena Vacha , Malam Sharirasya Cha Vaidya Kena,

Yopakarotham Pravaram Muninam, Patanjali Pranjali Ranatosmi

Dr. Tanuja strongly points out that “having the knowledge and skills is never enough to counter severe threats like that of a pandemic, we also need to develop the attitude to take on the agony and mental distress caused by these situations. This comes under the fourfold Health Care Management system of the Ministry of Ayush wherein through the initiatives like Ayushman Bharat almost 12,500 Health and Wellness centres have been set up to aid the patients. In addition to this, the focus on Physician (Uniform National Regulated Education System), Medicine that is useful in the treatment and post-care routines (Quality, Safety, Efficacy, Drug Standardization), Patient (Education and Awareness) as well as Nursing and Paramedical Staff – who have been adequately trained from treatment to cleanliness perspectives (Ayush Sector Skill Set). These are the key factors to determine an effective health care management system wherein everybody at the AIIA have been actively engaged at upholding these systems and practising Yoga on a regular basis.

Image Source: PPT presented in the Webinar.

She also emphasises upon three holistic principles to maintain good health during the COVID-19 pandemic;

  1. Preventing the Virus from entering into our cells
  2. Stopping its replication if it gets inside cells; and
  3. Reducing the damage that occurs to our tissues
Image Source: PPT presented in the Webinar.

These can be done by keeping in mind certain simplistic Ayurvedic practices such as Oil pulling, Gargling with salt or lukewarm water, taking Kadha – made of Tulsi (Basil), Dalchini (Cinnamon), Kali Mirch (Black Pepper), Shunthi (Dry Ginger), and Munakka (Raisin) – once or twice a day. This can help in the replication of the virus inside our body systems.

Image Source: PPT presented in the Webinar.

Dr. Tanuja explains the blend of Rasayana Treatments as a way to enhance health for all the Symptomatic as well as Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients.

Image Source: PPT presented in the Webinar.

 In addition to this, she suggests certain Prophylactic Management techniques in terms of;

  1. General Measures like drinking warm water throughout the day, use of spices like Haldi, Jeera, Dhaniya and Lehsun in cooking and the daily practice of Yogasana, Pranayama & Meditation at least 30 minutes as advised by the Ministry of AYUSH.
  2. Immunity Promoting Measures like taking Chyvanprash (10g) in the morning, drinking Kadha and Golden Milk- Half teaspoon Haldi powder in 150 ml hot milk once or twice a day.
  3. Simple Ayurvedic Procedures like oil pulling and Nasal Application of sesame/coconut oil or ghee in both the nostrils (Pratimarsha Nasya) in morning & evening.
Image Source: PPT presented in the Webinar.

In her presentation, she explains the MOA’s Diet and Lifestyle Modification guidelines for COVID-19 Management.

Image Source: PPT presented in the Webinar.

Most importantly, Dr. Tanuja prioritizes the Yoga Practices for Mental Health wellbeing amidst COVID-19 pandemic. She enlists Sukshma Vyayama (warm-up) loosening exercises for all joints, Yogasana – in Sitting, supine postures and Prone position, Relaxing postures – Savasana, Makarasana, Pranayama – Deep Breathing, and Meditation – 10 minutes to be practised daily.
She says that the simple
AyurYoga techniques are imbibed in our culture – sometimes referred to as Dadima ke Nukhse, are all we need to maintain good health in such stressful times.

Image Source: PPT presented in the Webinar.

In the Interactive session; Dr. Basavaraddi inquired about the results that have been obtained, pertaining to the distribution of Immunity Boosting Ayuraksha Kit among 8000 front line COVID-19 Warriors (Delhi Police). Dr. Tanuja says that we could observe that in major metro cities all over India the daily infection cases/ rate came down significantly in addition to the mortality rates, though several research studies are underway and soon they will be published for all the general public. 

Image Source: PPT presented in the Webinar.

The viewers of the session also interacted in this webinar by posing their questions to the guest speaker which were aptly put forth through the channel of Director MDNIY and answered by Dr. Tanuja.

A viewer sought Dr. Tanuja’s suggestion on diet based on Ayurveda principles which can be followed during the present changing weather. The guest speaker appreciating the sobriety of the question answered that – Firstly, whatever food we take should be warm and we can also add more hot spices to our diet depending on the individual temperaments. In addition to this, adding Til Ke Ladoo, Ghee and Jaggery to our diet can be extremely beneficial while catering the taste buds

Another question posed by a viewer was “How beneficial is Steam Inhalation and regular intake of warm water in this season?” Dr. Tanuja says that given the dryness of the weather hot water is something of a compulsion for our system plus it greatly aids in smooth digestion. Steam goes directly to our lungs which can stop the replication of the virus in our cells and clears our nostrils, and Steam inhalation should be a regular practice of our daily routines.

Dr. Basavaraddi and Dr. Tanuja, at last, discussed The Yogic Meditation technique of different Pranayamas, and Kapalbharti as virtuous practices which in addition to Yogasanas have been impeccably pertinent to maintain the holistic good health of all COVID-19 patients and the health of common masses in general.

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