Yoga Therapy for Long COVID

The below is written by Kitty Reddington, one of The Yoga For Good Foundation’s recent grant recipients who received funding for her yoga therapy program for locals in her community who are suffering the effects of Long COVID.

Woman, happily feeling the nature

I decided to study Yoga Therapy in 2019 because I regularly had students coming up to me at the end of a yoga class sharing with me their injuries and illnesses. While most yoga teacher trainings try to address common injuries, I found that this information wasn’t enough for the variety of health concerns I was coming across.

Studying Yoga Therapy completely transformed the way that I teach and the way that I approach health in a yoga class.

Yoga Therapy is defined by the International Association of Yoga Therapists as:

‘The process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga.’

I like to describe it as a combination of yoga, physiotherapy, counseling and health coaching, all wrapped up in one complete holistic setting.

As part of my Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy, I investigated the use of breathing practices to help support stress and anxiety. I ran one-on-one and group Yoga Therapy sessions. What I found, based on my small sample size, was that bringing attention to the breath and learning breathing practices had a positive impact on mental health.

I am now interested in taking these findings further to help address another growing health problem, long COVID.

Long COVID is estimated to affect anywhere from 10-30% of Australians who have had COVID. Symptoms include but are not limited to: extreme and chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, breathing problems, brain fog, headaches, and stress.

Symptoms last anywhere from two months to longer.

When I learned about long COVID, it immediately jumped out to me that this was affecting the individual’s life force or prana – which brought me right back to the research I had done as part of my studies, our prana is connected to our breath.

Women doing an outdoor meditation/yoga

With the support of the Yoga for Good Foundation, I am now looking to support individuals with long COVID with a minimum of three free sessions. My hope is that through the practices of yoga we can rebuild and reawaken the prana within the body through gentle movements, breathing practices and mindfulness techniques – all tailored around the individual’s needs.

If you would like to learn more, please contact me: kittysyogaspot@gmail.com or visit www.kittysyogaspot.com

One of the simplest breathing practices I used while working with clients with stress and anxiety, was cultivating equal breathing, here are 8 simple steps to cultivate equal breathing:

  • Start by finding a comfortable seated position, one where you can find stillness in the body, keeping the spine upright and long.
  • If it’s comfortable for you, close your eyes or keep the gaze soft and look down towards the space in front of you.
  • Start to bring awareness to your breathing.
  1. Where do you notice the breath the most in the body?
  2. What does it feel like?
  • How do you know you are breathing?
  • If you aren’t already, breathe in and out through the nose with the mouth closed.
  • If this isn’t possible continue to step 5.
  • Begin to silently/internally count the length of the inhale. I usually start my count at four, but if you aren’t able to extend the inhale to the count of four, try three or two or one. If four feels short, you can try five or six.
  • As you begin to exhale, extend the exhale for the same length as the inhale. Equal breathing.
  • If you find it easy to inhale to four, but then aren’t able to extend the exhale to four, then reduce the inhale to three. The aim here is to create the same length inhale and exhale. This can help to steady the mind, increasing mindfulness, reducing stress and calming the nervous system.
  • If you’re looking for other simple, at-home breathing practices, visit my resources page: https://www.kittysyogaspot.com/at-home-practices/

Kitty Reddington

After discovering yoga in 2014, Kitty knew very quickly that she had found a real way to connect with people and be of service. As she watched the benefits of the practice unfold in her life, she became convinced that this was something she had to share with as many people as possible.

https://www.kittysyogaspot.com/

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