The excitement around celebration of the International Yoga Day on June 21 is building up amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own plans to hit the mat on that day.
But in the post-Covid times, medical practitioners have cautioned people who were hit by the coronavirus and administered steroids. All these people must practice yoga only under watchful eyes of a trained practitioner as the possibility of trivial muscle or joint injuries among them is high.
Medical practitioners say that they have noticed a spike in cases wherein people, especially elderly, who were treated with steroids for coronavirus have developed mild osteoporosis or are struggling with chronic muscular pain even after recovering from Covid-19.
“There is no doubt about yoga’s benefits in reducing back aches and postural issues but some people who are struggling with post-Covid issues need to be careful,” said Simran Kumar, a consultant in Delhi government health department.
Improper warm up or erroneous copying of YouTube videos without guidance of a yoga trainer are also likely to cause muscle and tendon strains in some people struggling with post-Covid issues, said another medical practitioner.
The benefits of yoga include stress-relief and fitness but improper execution of asanas – including overstretching of muscles – can expose people to injuries, said yoga trainer Sadhana Singh.
“In some people, with marginal osteoporosis or other related issues, overzealous flexing or extending the spine can injure the back. While performing asanas which need forward folds, one should be gentle as a beginner and not push too hard to achieve perfection,” said Dr Madhujeet Gupta, Spine & Pain Specialist at Axis Clinic for preventive orthopaedics.
He said elderly people suffering with weak bones in the aftermath of coronavirus infection and the involved steroid treatment, need to take special care. “Some of the common age-related injuries during over-stretching could be vertebral collapse or ligament and muscle injuries. In such cases, the compressed spine needs to be repaired with kyphoplasty and regenerative cell therapy for the soft tissue injuries,” said Gupta, a spine endoscopy specialist.
Yoga trainer Singh advises proper warm-up and a round of preparatory poses before moving into poses like hanumanasana (leg split), sarvangasana (shoulder stand), uttanasana (standing forward bend), salamba shirshasana (head stand) and pashimottanasana (seated forward bend) that require a slightly more effort and flexibility.
The benefits of yoga, India’s 5,000-year-old body of knowledge, are enormous. Even the Western world has accepted yoga’s physical and mental health benefits. Medical practitioners and yoga trainers are unanimous about yoga being a power vehicle for spreading India’s soft power in the world. So, this June 21 join the International Yoga Day celebrations and make your body fit but do not forget to take a trainer’s help or over stressing yourself in the race to compete with others.