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Long Covid: Four yoga poses that can help

Thousands of people in the UK are now struggling with ‘long-Covid’ symptoms, with many more likely in future.  Research from King’s College London has found that one in 20 people with coronavirus are likely to have symptoms for eight weeks or more.  Sufferers have reported many different symptoms including headache, breathlessness, muscle pains, nausea and fatigue. 

Leading Iyengar yoga therapy teachers from our Yoga Therapy Committee – which has decades of experience in treating a wide range of conditions – recently compiled a Covid-19 recovery programme, available as a booklet and video.

Here are a few simple poses from the programme to get you started:

1. Pavanmuktasana

Using chairs or a bench
• Sit on one chair and go forward to a second chair.
• Rest the entire front body on bolsters/pillows and the forehead on a blanket.
• Elongate the front body to soften and allow the back body to descend.
• Support arms wherever they are comfortable, out to the sides or forwards.
• Hold 3-10 minutes.

This is especially good for those who are very tired, and for knee, hip, ankle
or back problems.

2a. Ardha Uttanasana (with chair)

Legs vertical with head on a chair or similar appropriate support
• With perpendicular legs rest the forehead on the folded arms such that the
forehead feels supported (using extra height if necessary). This quietens the mind.
• Ensure the front thighs are lifted and firm to protect the hamstrings.

This pose helps lengthen the spine to help balance the central nervous system.

2b. Ardha Uttanasana (with table)

With trunk supported horizontally on a table top, right from the groin
region (this being the best one when the head feels too heavy)
• Supporting the abdomen chest and head on table or similar.
• Can have a blanket placed on the back over the back lungs to bring awareness of
breath in the back body.
• Hold 3-5 minutes.

This is a very restful way of doing Uttanasana.

3. Adho Mukha Virasana

Chest supported
• Ensuring the pelvis is the lowest part of the pose, extend forward over a bolster
or equivalent (stacked blankets) with the entire trunk and head supported.
• Turn the head to one side and then the other side, if there is any strain then the
head can also be straight forward with a blanket under the forehead.
• Widen the collarbones and sternum making sure the bottom sternum is in contact
with the bolster.

This pose encourages breathing into the back ribs.

4. Prone Savasana

With 4 to 5 blankets
• Spread the 2 blankets on the mat with a small step at the edge supporting the
pelvis so that the pelvic bones are supported and the front thighs rest on the mat.
• Lengthen the abdomen from pelvic to gastric region.
• Rotate the thighs making the toes turn in and back thighs turn out.
• The lower back and waist area broadens.
• Adjust the folded blanket under the forehead with space for the nose and length in
back of the neck.
• Alternatively rest the head alternately on each side.

The rolled blanket under the ankles helps this to be a passive action.

For further support you can join one of our Covid-19 recovery classes online, try the full Covid-19 recovery programme or find a yoga therapy teacher near you by searching for a teacher on our homepage

Please take care when practising at home as Iyengar Yoga (UK) cannot accept liability for any injury that may occur.

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