Editorial Articles

Volume-6, 20-26 June 2020

Yoga: Holistic Solution for Disease Prevention and Stress Management

Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi

The 6th International Yoga Day comes in this pandemic situation to waken up everyone to fight against coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Yoga helps to enhance ones immunity and keep oneself healthy. Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) is the National Institution fully funded by Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India. MDNIY is a focal Institute for Planning, Training, Promotion and Coordination of Yoga Education, Training, Therapy and Research in all its aspects. MDNIY aims to promote deeper understanding of Yoga philosophy and practices based on classical Yoga amongst people. The main Vision and Mission of the Institute is ''Health, Harmony and Happiness for all through Yoga''. 

The Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) is also active in India’s fight against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) along with Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India. The MDNIY has taken several initiatives like research in collaboration with the prestigious organizations and hospitals like Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), National Institute of Immunology (NII), Delhi. Also, there are various yogic training programmes’like “COVID warriors training”, “Stay home, stay fit with MDNIYPractice Yoga at Home”, “Yoga at Home for active, fitter and healthier you and Practice yoga at home” actively running online on digitalized platform by MDNIY.

The MDNIY is addressing Covid-19 pandemic problem through clinical studies for Yoga, with studying the impact of yoga interventions on people exposed to COVID-19 patients and yoga for rehabilitation of people recovered from COVID-19. The MDNIY has set up an interdisciplinary research and development task force with a group of experts to formulate and develop strategies for this initiative.

In this current pandemic situation people are more in stress and fear which is actually deteriorating their immune system. Yoga is a discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. Yoga helps to build up psychophysiological health, pranic balance and emotional harmony; and manage daily stress and its consequences.

Yoga is particularly useful in conditions where stress is believed to play a role. Various Yogic practices such as Yogasanas, Pranayama, Dhyana (meditation), cleansing and relaxation practices etc. are known help modulate the physiological response to stressors. Several randomized controlled studies have shown the efficacy of Yogic practices in management of noncommunicable diseases like hypertension, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease  (COPD), bronchial asthma, diabetes, sleep disorders, depression, obesity, etc. that can be comorbid conditions in patients with COVID 19. Yoga has also been shown to be useful in vulnerable population such as elderly, children. The function of the immune system is critical in the human response to infectious disease. Agrowing body of evidence identifies stress as a cofactor in infectious disease susceptibility and outcomes.

Yoga has a significant role in the psycho-social care and rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients in quarantine and isolation. They are particularly useful in allaying their fears and anxiety. Management of stress & anxiety, depression, improving immunity and psychosocial rehabilitation is also warranted in this current scenario of COVID-19.

Yoga based life style modules which can be used for different sections of the society in the present scenario are presented with the following objectives.

  1. To improve immunity against infections in general among the population.
  2. To reduce susceptibility to infections in vulnerable populations (children, elderly and those with comorbid conditions such as diabetes and hypertension) and to those patients in isolation / quarantine with or without mild symptoms.

Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India has also released advisory vetted from yoga experts. Advisory provides guidelines for yoga professionals (Certified Yoga professionals/teachers/ instructors and therapists etc.) to teach a safe set of Yoga practices based on available scientific evidences, to novices in all walks of society as a service to humanity during this pandemic of COVID -19. Following are the general guidelines and precautions for yoga practices.



Yoga practitioner should follow the guiding/precautionary principles given below while performing/preparing for Yogic practices:


Before the practice:

Perform the Yoga practices according to one’s capacity, cleanliness of surroundings, body and mind. Practice should be performed with a relaxed body and mind and in empty stomach. Use mattress, Yoga mat, durrie or folded blanket and wear light and comfortable cotton clothes. Yoga should not be performed in a state of exhaustion, in a hurry or in an acute stress conditions. In case of chronic disease/ pain/ cardiac problems pregnancy/surgery etc, a physician or a Yoga therapist should be consulted prior to performing Yogic practices.


During the practice:

Practice sessions should start with a prayer. It should be performed slowly, in a relaxed manner, with awareness of the body and breath. Breathing should be always through the nostrils unless instructed otherwise. There are contraindications/ limitations for each Yoga practice and such contra-indications should always be kept in mind. Yoga session should end with meditation/ deep silence / Sankalpa / Santipa?ha etc.



It is advised to take bath after 20-30 minutes of Yoga practice. Food may be taken only after 30-45 minutes of Yoga practice. Yoga Practices for prevention, rehabilitation and to increase immunity.


  1. Shodhana Kriya (Yogic cleansing practices): It includes Jalaneti, Sutra Neti Kapalbhati which helps in cleansing sinuses, beneficial in allergic conditions and reduces upper airway reactivity.


  1. Yogic Sukhma Vyayamas/shithilikarana Vyayamas/ Pawanamuktasana series (Joint movements): It includes movements of Neck, Shoulder rotation, Trunk movement, Knee movement, Ankle rotation which helps to increase blood circulation, reduce stiffness, enhances joint flexibility and helps to facilitate asana practices.


  1. Yogasana: It includes Standing, Sitting, Prone & Supine lying postures. Tadasana, Trikonasana, Ushtrasana, Utthana Mandukasana, Vakrasana, Bhujangasana, Sarala Matsyasana etc. practices improves chest expansion and cardio-pulmonary functions.


  1. Kapalbhati: Improves pulmonary functions and reduces secretions. Very useful preparatory practice for pranayama practice. Helps to cleanse frontal sinuses.


  1. Breathing & Pranayama: It includes Sectional breathing, Nadishodhana, Ujjayi & Bhramari. Š Nadishodhan pranayama reduces the sympathetic activity and stimulate vagal (para-sympathetic) activity and decreases stress and anxiety. Š Ujjayi increase the oxygen saturation in body. Š Bhramari pranayama similar to humming may increase Nasal Nitric Oxide (NO), which may improve blood flow to the ciliary epithelium and has anti-inflammatory action.


  1. Yoga Nidra (Pratyaahara): Reduction in sympathetic arousal and reduced emotional distress and improves quality of sleep. Rejuvenate the body and helps to keep the mind calm.


  1. Meditative practices (Breath awareness, Dharana & Dhyana): Meditation helps to reduces anxiety and stress by reduce the cortisol level and enhance the alpha brain wave. Makes the body stable and calm the mind. Balance the functions of neuro-endocrine system thereby enhance the immune system with these guidelines; He wishes a good health for everyone. People should follow the guidelines, while practicing yoga to manage stress, enhance immunity and stay safe & healthy.


Thanks to Dr. Khushbu Jain, Dr. Lakshmi Kandhan and Dr. Rameswar Pal for their contribution.

Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi is Director, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, Advisor, Yoga and Naturopath, E-mail: ibasavaraddi@yahoo.co.in, mdniy@yahoo.co.in , Website: www.yogamdniy.nic.in 


Views expressed are personal Image Courtesy: Google