Almost 2.5 million Australians have now had Covid-19. According to research approx. 1/3 of these people would have reported symptoms of a condition called Long Covid (LC) or Post Acute Covid Syndrome (PACS). Long Covid is the term for people that have ongoing symptoms after the virus left the body.
People usually have 3 symptoms for 6-8 months and 1 or 2 symptoms up to 12 months. If your conditions do not get better see your Doctor as you might have other underlaying conditions.
While the long-term effects of the virus are not clear yet, researchers know that it can affect many different systems within the body such as the lungs, the heart, muscular – skeletal systems, kidney and cognition.
LC can cause shortness of breath, anxiety (physical and social), cough, fatigue, loss of concentration, change in skin texture, decreased immunity, and decreased nutrient absorption. Except for the first three the symptoms, they are like symptoms for chronique fatigue syndrome.
This suggests that recovery from LC might be slow, pace your day.
Yoga intervention needs to be personalized.
Tips for recovery from Long Covid:
Set priorities for your recovery but do not push yourself, be patient with your body and listen to it. Start with something simple like walking and gradually build up to where you were.
Change your position slowly (i.e. from laying to standing).
Sitting on a chair visualise the breathing process, inhaling and exhaling through your nose. This will allow for the breath to be warmed and filtered before it gets to your lungs. Imagine your lungs as a balloon as it fills with air.
If you need to stay in bed do not lay on your back all day. It is preferable to lay on your side or on your anterior body.
If your joints ache and want to practice on your mat, place a towel on your mat to make it softer.
Muscles need movement and even if you have aches and pains do some simple movements every hour to mobilizise the joints. It is recommended that initially do a few poses laying on the mat – see a short sequence at the end of this blog.
Keep your routine for eating and going to sleep.
Hydrate with water.
Introduce standing poses to your practice slowly.
Reduce electronic media, use audio books instead.
Rest in prone or semi prone positions.
Begin / re-introduce standing poses carefully.
Short yoga sequence to mobilize the body:
Lay on your back, place a rolled-up blanket under your neck. Roll the head right to left and to the other side.
Extend right arm on the floor as you open the chest. If it is comfortable turn your head either to the right or left. Repeat the other side
Bend one leg and rotate the ankle 4-5 times, do it with the other leg.
Bend and extend one leg up (towards vertical), use your hands behind the thigh to support the leg. Repeat with the other leg.
Lay on your right side, head resting your bent right arm. If you feel unstable bend the left leg. When you ready extend and raise the left leg and left arm. Roll over to repeat on the other side.
Lay on your abdominal, rest your forehead on the floor. Extend the right leg and raise it off the floor (keeping the hips aligned on the floor). Next try to raise the torso and extend the right arm in front of you. If you want to take this further raise the right leg, the torso and the right arm. Repeat with the left leg and left arm.
If it is there for you come to kneel on the floor and try the ‘modified cat & cow’ pose. Place your hands are under your shoulders, knees are under the hips. As you exhale sit back towards your heels, as you inhale come back to the starting position.
For calming effect try the humming bee breathing technique.
Instead of laying down in Savasana (the relaxation at the end of the practice) consider laying on your side, one leg bent and listening to a pre-recorded yoga nidra.
Wishing you a successful recovery from the symptoms of Long Covid!
Loosely based on ‘Yoga and Log Covid’ workshop by Liz Williams form Yoga Therapy Institute (12.02.2022.) and Research from Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital New York.
The recommended poses are general in nature, they do not take your other pre-existing conditions into consideration. Seek the advice of an experienced yoga teacher or physiotherapist.