Therapeutic yoga: an alternative to alleviate Covid-19 consequences

By Mariana Gonzalez-Marquez

Guadalajara, Mexico, Mar 29 (efe-epa).- Jesus Montes caught Covid-19 four months ago and is still suffering a number of problems associated with the disease. Made desperate by the lack of response by doctors to his dilemma, he began to practice therapeutic yoga, as provided by an organization in Guadalajara, to better manage his symptoms.

Extreme agitation, chest and back pains, lack of ability to concentrate, anxiety and emotional problems are some of the issues Montes, a Catholic missionary who lives in Guadalajara, has had to deal with since recovering from the disease that kept him receiving oxygen therapy for weeks.

On Monday, he told EFE that after two recurrences of generalized weakness and pain, heart exams and psychological therapy, a nurse recommended that he go to a workshop offered by the Casa Yoga organization, where they taught him breathing techniques and exercises to alleviate his symptoms.

After the first session, he noticed that his lungs were working better and he felt calmer and had more energy to resume his daily work.

“During the workshops I’ve been stabilizing myself. I’m continuing with my therapy and consultations. This respiratory therapy has helped me recover some emotional stability, I’ve felt like the breathing exercises have helped me. I’ve been getting some physical and emotional balance,” he said.

Maria Vazquez got Covid-19 in mid-January although her symptoms were moderate. The preschool teacher told EFE that after 18 days of quarantine and after the doctor released her, she began to feel sharp pains in her chest, a feeling of fear and insomnia.

With therapeutic yoga she found something that no doctor had explained to her – that good breathing could reduce the consequences of the virus and calm her fears, she said.

“I’ve been doing the exercises for several weeks and what impressed me most was that if … you’re breathing well it can help your body so much. I knew of people who did yoga, but I never imagined that it would help me in this way. I feel stronger,” she said.

Leticia Trejo has been a member of Casa Yoga and a yoga specialist for more than a decade. She told EFE that for a few months she had been noticing that some of her students who had had Covid were still having lots of problems and she devoted herself to the task of supporting them through therapeutic yoga.

This is a branch of yoga that seeks to help practitioners recover from injuries and osteomuscular problems by gentle movements and body positioning that don’t require much physical effort and contribute to one’s well-being.

Trejo adapted some aspects of this type of yoga to help with the recovery of people who had recovered from Covid.

Since the pandemic began, more than 2.2 million Mexicans have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and more than 200,000 have died.

“We decided to use this model to reduce the intensity of … the postures and combine it with other body awareness techniques until we created a technique that could be adapted to people who cannot move and who hurt everywhere,” she said.

For several weeks, Trejo has been teaching a virtual workshop in which she shows people body movements to strengthen the thorax muscles, most of which are linked to respiration, which is one of the main areas affected by Covid-19.

Besides the postures, people practice breathing exercises that strengthen their lungs, help them to oxygenate the body, improve relaxation and, as a consequence, help to improve their mental health, Trejo said.

“People say they thought they’d never breathe well again or that the pain would never leave them. I’m very happy that people say they feel better during the first week, but it’s up to them to continue with it to reestablish a new and more harmonious system,” she said.

She warned that one mistake that those who recover from Covid make is that they try to resume their normal life when the symptoms end rather than taking into account that there’s a much longer convalescence period.


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