Yoga for COVID-19 recovery: A suggested recovery plan

Are you currently recovering from COVID-19?

Are you worried about a loved one who has contracted the virus?

This has been my life for over a month now, just after Christmas my mother and aunty went into hospital with COVID-19 on the same day. Worried sick, I couldn’t focus, eat or get out of bed. My every waking thought was with them and all my strength went towards mentally willing them both to get better.

“… I would say to her, close your eyes and….”Go to your happy place”.”

I was fortunate enough to be able to speak to my mum on the phone every day, some days were better than others. I would remind my mum of breathing practices to help her keep her lungs active but also to help her with the stress and trauma of the oxygen therapy that she was receiving. The masks were uncomfortable and tight, and she was stuck in the paradox of not wanting the mask that made her feel like she was suffocating but was actually assisting her recovery. Every time, I would say to her, close your eyes and….”Go to your happy place”.

Recovering at home after COVID

Mum has been back home for 3 weeks, and I have been working with her on her recovery. At first she was very weak and breathless, and didn’t have as much mobility as she used to.

“She kept saying; “if this has taught me anything, it’s patience”.”

We started slow, simple breathing and meditation practices, and some gentle chair yoga for the first few days. These gentle practices left her feeling invigorated but sometimes frustrated. You see my mum has always been a very active and healthy person, her nervous system had the memory of how she used to move and react, and now everything was in slow motion. She kept saying; “if this has taught me anything, it’s patience”.

Towards the end of week 1, we tried a gentle yoga sequence that I created specifically for her. She was determined to make it through the full 15 minutes, I had to continuously remind her to be gentle, move slowly and use the support of the floor and wall to keep her stable…but she made it and I could see the joy on her face. She continued to practice the yoga sequence and every day she noticed her ability to move and breathe became a little bit easier.

The morning yoga routine

Towards the end of week 1, she started to practice the following morning routine:

· Breathwork – deep belly breathing – 10 minutes

· Yoga for COVID recovery - Episode 28.0 – 15 minutes

· Meditation for peace and calm (Happy place meditation) – 10 minutes

This is when I really started seeing rapid improvement, she was a lot more mobile, had more energy, and her breathlessness was a lot more subtle.

“Her energy levels dipped, she slept a lot, but she still wanted to move.”

At the end of week 2 she finished her steroids, and this came with it’s own challenges. Now she had built up her strength and got herself into a routine of moving, but the steroids were giving her fabricated energy. Her energy levels dipped, she slept a lot, but she still wanted to move. She continued with the breath work and meditation, and I did some gentle yin yoga with her to keep her mobile without any strain on her body. The lounge was filled with pillows and blankets, the heating was cranked up and the fairy lights made it so cozy and nurturing. I found that this really helped her to feel like she was still getting her movement in without it depleting her.

In time she managed to build a bit more of her natural strength and started to alternate between the gentle yoga sequence and yin yoga, depending on her mood, energy and abilities on that day.

Now in week 3, she is back to the week one routine and is able to do a full hour Yin Yoga class with me. She is no longer breathless and I can’t stop her from cleaning and tidying everything she can get her hands on…haha!

Me and Mum xx

The recovery schedule

I would like to make it very clear that the schedule that I will share with you below is not a medically approved schedule, it is a suggested recovery plan that my mum practiced and it worked for her. I am sharing it with you today in the hopes that it or at least elements of it helps you with your recovery in some way. This is not a guaranteed program but rather one that might help you to improve breathlessness, weakness and lack of mobility.

“…you are your own best teacher, if anything doesn’t feel right for you, move in a way that does feel right.”

Always seek advice from a medical professional