Covid, the Mind, Meditation and Yoga

Sars-Cov2, Covid-19 or Cornovirus, there is no escaping the effects of it this year, whether negative or positive. It’s such a strange disease, in the way it spreads, affects the body and the mind and the people around you. In my experience, it is more of a mental challenge than physical, affects the psyche of the individuals more and then manifests more deeply in the body. 

I’m in my hometown Nagpur, visiting parents along with my wife and kid. When we came here six weeks back, the environment had started to change for the worse, a lot of neighbours started getting Covid. As is the case with this disease, it eventually found a way in our house as well. First, my Uncle and then my Aunt (who live on the first floor of our family villa) tested positive and went in isolation. Then about a month ago, I developed a fever and body ache, which lasted a few days. Five days post the development of symptoms, I tested Covid Positive and started Covid medication as directed by our family doctor. 

Thankfully, my major symptoms of fever, headache, and body ache receded after 2-3 days. I have been doing meditation and yoga diligently for the last couple of months and leaned further into the practice as the disturbances started in the family. Meditation has been the rock that anchored me as strong waves were lashing all over, and storms seem to be only getting stronger. 

The other aspect of Covid is the general anxiety about the way it could manifest physically in the body. One has to monitor oxygen levels regularly as there could a drop in O2 levels in the body, without the individual knowing it, a dangerous condition called Happy Hypoxia. To top it off, one is in isolation, so can’t get or give reassurance on the situation to the family. At such a time, managing one’s emotions and the mental state becomes even more paramount. 

To manage the symptoms and after-effects of the medication, a few things that worked for me, if it makes sense please share with others. For treating severe headaches, I did deep breathing Meditation while listening to Sukhmani Sahib. The first 45 min is tough and needed to settle the mind and body. But if one persists, the one goes into a deep breathing meditative trance for the 2nd half. This cured my headache entirely and didn’t come back. This is just my experience; it is not necessary that one needs a 1.5-hour meditation to cure a headache. One can choose any method and period that works for their body and mind. The point is to be able to relax, let go of the mind and let the body pull in a lot of oxygen through deep breathing. 

Meditate on your breath

For severe body ache, I’ve been doing Hatha yoga, primarily focusing on Core strength and opening the middle part of the body. I typically do a 1-hour practice, 15 min Surya namaskars, 30 min core Hatha yoga and 15 min Pranayama breathing exercises like Anulom Vilom, Kapalbharati, Sheetkari, and Brahmi. This enlivened and cooled the body to reduce aches and keep the fever in check. 

A lot of friends reached to me with wishes and support. But there was one conversation, that was a bit strange to me. One of my friends got a severe attack a few months back and didn’t share with anyone due to “social stigma”. I was astonished hearing this, and I can understand not sharing it publicly, but hiding it from your friends? Especially when you had it so bad, you could barely breathe? This disease has created strange social behaviours and constructs that will reverberate for many years to come. 

After recovering and testing negative, one thing I have noticed is that people are still a bit hesitant or fearful when meeting me. As if the Virus is still lingering in there somewhere and will pounce on them from behind my back. I have nothing against such folks; everyone is adjusting to this new reality. 

You can fear me or hate me, love me or not. But I love you.

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