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Why gentle yoga is often recommended for Long Covid

Posted by Caroline Smart on 16th August 2021 in: Communities, General, Uncategorised

We read increasingly about yoga being of benefit for sufferers of Long Covid. By this we mean the more gentle hatha yoga practice rather than the physically challenging schools of yoga such as Bikram or Ashtanga. Perhaps this can be explained by the differences between yoga and physical exercise as described by Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati:

‘What is the difference between yoga and physical exercise? Though it depends very much on the type of physical exercise, the differences, in a general sense, are as follows:

  • In the practice of yoga poses, oxygen consumption is reduced whereas in physical exercise it is increased.
  • In yoga poses the respiration rate falls, whereas in exercise it increases. Generally, physical exercises are done very quickly and with a lot of heavy breathing; therefore the respiratory system is forced to work much harder.
  • In yoga poses the muscles receive minimum oxygen/nutrition and the organs receive more; in physical exercise, it is the muscles that receive the most oxygen/nutrition at the expense of the other organs.
  • In yoga poses, the blood pressure and heart rate decrease, whereas in exercise they increase with the result that the heart works harder.’

Yoga is about restoring health to the body and mind – gently but firmly. YoGlasgow! classes aim to boost energy levels rather than deplete them.