Yoga as medicined for the mental distress amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: integrative and complementary practices


(Zen Bear Yoga, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Emille Magalhães Neves Campos and Narottam Sócrates Garcia Chumpitaz, students of the fifth semester of Medicine of the Federal University of Roraima (UFRR). They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In times of coronavirus, the scientific community has been questioning the extent to which emotional health can affect human physical health, as discussed in the recent article “Coping with coronavirus anxiety” by John Sharp (2020), arguing that despite the need for expressive caution to avoid the spread of the virus, once the main precautionary measures have been adopted, one must seek to remain calm. It is not essential or useful to be on high alert at all times, as this will wear out the entire community emotionally and physically, which is why it is necessary to try to adjust the alert levels to the immediate environment.

According to JOHN SHARP (2020), the news about the virus probably tends to get worse, and then improve, making it more prudent to listen to public health experts who can advise on the best way forward and take sensible measures that can help everyone. Making healthy and reasonable choices, such as seeking therapeutic contributions from yoga, will make a huge difference in achieving the ability to remain as safe and possible during the pandemic

Regarding the specific effects of yoga for health, its use as an intervention in several treatments, such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, pain syndromes, cardiovascular, immunological, autoimmune problems, hypertension, diabetes and stress. Something that many sages of this ancient tradition already affirmed from their observations and experiences4.

The difference between yoga and other physical exercises is that the postures, called Asana, have psychophysiological effects, as they generate internal awareness and mental stability. While in other physical exercises, body movements can be done only with precision, in yoga, a deeper awareness is cultivated, bringing balance and alignment of the body and mind, considering that the principles of yoga are the culture of the body, mind and soul1,5.

Yoga’s contributions to mental health are many, as it is a physical activity that focuses on shaping the body’s energy and improving mental health. When practicing it, a state of concentration and self-knowledge is sought.

Practicing yoga relaxes the body and mind through meditation and deep breathing techniques. A common problem for human beings is to react according to their emotions, because they allow themselves to be dominated by them. The purpose of yoga practice is to avoid this reaction, teaching the individual to separate from his feelings so that they do not influence his physical health, since being stressed can change the levels of some hormones.

Relaxation releases a wellness session and helps to reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone released by the adrenal gland in response to stress, both physical and psychological, in the body having anti-inflammatory, metabolic and immunosuppressive functions, which is why it is important keep it at normal levels2.

Some life situations may be beyond the control of individuals and can generate anxiety. However, learning to control their minds through meditation exercises provided by yoga practice can help them achieve better physical and mental health.


  1. BARROS, Nelson Filice de et al. Yoga e promoção da saúde. Ciência & saúde coletiva, Rio de Janeiro, v. 19, n. 4, p. 1305-1314, Apr. 2014 . Disponivel em: <;. Acesso em: 15 Nov.
  2. JOHNSON, Elizabeth O. et al.. Mechanisms of stress: a dynamic overview of hormonal and behavioral homeostasis.: A dynamic overview of hormonal and behavioral homeostasis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, [s.l.], v. 16, n. 2, p. 115-130, jun. 1992. Disponivel em: <> Acesso em: 16 abr. 2020.
  3. SHARP, John. Coping with coronavirus anxiety. Disponível em: <>. Acesso: 16 abr. 2020.
  4. KHALSA, S. B. S.; ELSON, L. E. An Introduction to Yoga: improve your strength, balance, flexibility, and well-being. Boston: Harvard Health Publications, 2016.
  5. IYENGAR, Geeta; KELLER. Rita; KHATTAB, Kerstin. Iyengar Yoga for Motherhood: Safe Practice for Expectant &; New Mothers. [s.1]: Sterling/Penn, 2010.

About the author

Emille Magalhães Neves Campos and Narottam Sócrates Garcia Chumpitaz are students of the fifth semester of Medicine of the Federal University of Roraima (UFRR). They are both members of IFMSA Brazil and local coordinators who have worked in many voluntary activities envolving human rights and vulnerable populations, as well as educational, welcoming programs for risk populations. As constant Yoga practicers, they believe in the therapeutic power of Yoga to strengthen mind-body connections, through finding an internal source of peace and reaching a better balanced life, as much as possible. This is the key-point to prevent some of the outcomes caused by COVID-19 scenery, such as excessive concernment, anxiety and fear, from generating disturbances in individual psychological health.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

REACT-EU: EU support to mitigate immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis

Korea must enhance detection and reinforce sanctions to boost foreign bribery enforcement

Draghi hands over to banks €77.7 billion more

Here’s the secret to financing a greener future

Why EU’s working and unemployed millions remain uncertain or even desperate about their future

Companies that put employees first perform better

38th ACP-EU Assembly: dialogue on cooperation challenges in Kigali

Privatization as a symptom of health inequity

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

To beat hunger and combat climate change, world must ‘scale-up’ soil health – UN

In visit to hurricane-ravaged Bahamas, UN chief calls for greater action to address climate change

Trade with the United States: Council authorises negotiations on elimination of tariffs for industrial goods and on conformity assessment

Iran: BBC and other broadcast journalists harassed; families threatened – UN experts

Why developing new antibiotics is a matter of life and death

7 shocking statistics that show the cost of corruption

Lithuania finds the ways to maintain its energy security

Migration crisis update: The “Habsburg Empire” comes back to life while EU loses control

Under fire, UN refugee agency evacuates 135 detained in Libya to Niger

State of the Union 2018: The Hour of European Sovereignty

Alarming level of reprisals against activists, human rights defenders, and victims – new UN report

Infrastructural and system barriers to Universal Health Coverage: get in my patient’s shoes

Some truths about the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization

Visa-free access to the EU for UK nationals and to the UK for EU nationals

Improving Italy’s capital market will boost growth opportunities for Italian companies and savers

Cyber-Risk Assessments: the vaccine for companies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

These Asian economies invested in their people – and it paid off

Progress made at COP25, despite lack of agreement to increase climate ambition

4 innovation hotspots in the Arab world

This Scottish forest is both a home for wildlife and a boost for the local economy

EU mobilises immediate support for its Western Balkan partners to tackle coronavirus

Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit to differ when issued from 10 Downing St.

“There are many converging visions and interests between the One Belt One Road initiative and the Juncker Investment Plan”, Ambassador Yang of the Chinese Mission to EU highlights from Brussels

Humanitarian aid: EU steps up support in Nigeria for conflict victims

The EU Commission openly repudiates the austere economic policies

No hard drivers in sight to remodel the stagnating affairs of the EU

Chart of the day: These countries have the highest share of electric vehicles

Successful carbon removal depends on these 3 conditions

ISIS fighters fleeing Mosul for Syria can topple Assad. Why did the US now decide to uproot them from Iraq?

“Is Europe innovative? Oh, Yes we are very innovative!”, Director General of the European Commission Mr Robert-Jan Smits on another Sting Exclusive

UN must bring more women police officers into the fold to be effective – UN peacekeeping official

The Free World Experience Report – LGBTQI+ health on the spot

Trump badly cornered at home by agribusiness and steel consumer lobbies: Trade

ZTE @ MWC14: ZTE excels in all areas at this year’s Mobile World Congress

Egypt: The road to hell paved with western advices for democracy

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism

Syria war: executions condemned as violence continues ‘on both sides’ of border with Turkey

This UK footballer just won free school meals for kids in the summer holidays

MWC 2016 LIVE: Zuckerberg warns mobile industry not to ignore the unconnected

CO2 emissions around the world

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Topic: Mental Health in times of pandemic: What can each individual do to lessen the burden?

25 years on from landmark conference, millions of women and girls still in danger: UN deputy chief

Nigeria: UN chief ‘appalled’ by killing of aid worker; calls for release of remaining hostages

How a new approach to meat can help end hunger

Why social working cultures are happier and more productive

EU: Divided they stand on immigration and Trump hurricanes

TTIP: why it is worth not to pull the covers over your head?

Leading Palestinian legislator calls for ‘new international engagement’ in two-state solution

UN mosquito sterilization technology set for global testing, in battle against malaria, dengue

More Stings?



  1. […] Yoga as medicined for the mental distress amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: integrative and complementar…  The European Sting ” “covid-19″ when:1h” – Google News […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s