Harvard exhorts students to fight ‘coronavirus anxiety’ with yoga

The Harvard Medical School in the US has suggested yoga, meditation and controlled breathing as ways to cope with anxiety related to coronavirus epidemic which has already claimed over 100 lives in the country.

In a health guide published earlier this week, the University encouraged its students to take up yoga, meditation and controlled breathing exercises.

“Not a yoga person? No need to start now unless you’d like to try it. Sometimes trying new things and discovering new activities you can benefit from and enjoy can be a welcome, healthy distraction. Yoga Studio and Pocket Yoga are good apps to consider,” wrote John Sharp, a board-certified psychiatrist on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles.

The deadly coronavirus has hit all the 50 states in the country as the death toll there reached 108. There were reports of a sudden surge in the sale of guns with panic-stricken people anticipating riots in the event of the Covid-19 persisting and leading to an acute food shortage crisis.

Regular meditation is very calming. Many apps teach simple forms of meditation, such as Headspace or Calm, Sharp said in the article titled ‘Coping with coronavirus anxiety’.

He also touched on controlled breathing exercises. “One simple technique is called square breathing. Visualize your breath traveling along a square. As you follow the instructions to inhale, hold your breath, or exhale, count slowly to three on each side. Try it now. Inhale up the first side of the square. Slowly count one, two, three. Hold your breath across the top. One, two, three. Exhale down the other side of the square. One, two, three. Then hold your breath across the bottom. One, two, three. After a few minutes of this you should be feeling calmer and more centered,” Sharp wrote.

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