9 min read

Advantages of Practicing Yoga and Meditating Post-COVID

If COVID’s got you down, hit the yoga mat.
Advantages of Practicing Yoga and Meditating Post-COVID
We all know someone who’s gotten COVID-19. And exiting the pandemic never meant that our risk was eliminated. The virus is still out there, and will certainly continue to mutate into different strains.
Everyone’s experience is different. You might contract it and not even feel it. Or maybe it feels like the common cold. And there’s a chance that it completely knocks you on your butt.
One thing is for certain: Coming down with COVID can take a physical, mental, and emotional toll. Long after testing positive, you might still be dealing with the ramifications. What can you do about it? How can you take better care of yourself post-COVID? Let’s talk about how yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can be beneficial.
Jeremy Tree post

The Mental Health Impact of the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on both our physical and mental health. The World Health Organization says it triggered a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. Financial concerns and political unrest (which 74% of adults surveyed said was a significant source of stress) only made things worse. It’s been a rough few years for the entire world.
Think about the incredibly drastic changes we all underwent. Everyone was sent home to quarantine, meaning parents suddenly had to learn how to work while caring for their families 24/7. Massive layoffs sent people scrambling while trying to pay their bills. At the same time, people were dealing with the stress of loved ones falling ill and, in some cases, never recovering. Hospitals were on lockdown, meaning patients were left without the support system that a family can provide, and loved ones couldn’t be there to lift up someone who was sick.
No wonder the pandemic sent us into a mental tailspin.

Why Yoga and Meditation Can Help Feelings of Anxiety

Self-care has always been important, but in times of extreme stress, pressure, and anxiety, it should be even more of a priority. And regularly practicing yoga and meditation can be powerful lifestyle changes to improve your mental health.
Why? Well, for starters, research repeatedly shows that yoga can effectively combat feelings of stress. One review published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research said that yoga can decrease your blood pressure, heart rate, cortisol (the body’s main stress hormone), and cytokine expression. (Cytokines trigger your immune system and can tell your body that it’s sick.) Another study in the Journal of Nursing Research found that 90 minutes of Hatha yoga can significantly reduce your perceived stress. Regular practice will compound the effects further.
Over and over again, yoga and meditation are proving to be effective ways to improve your mental health.

What about meditation? It’s a similar story. Information published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine says that meditation—even if you've never done it before—can produce a physiologic relaxation response without eliminating the positive effects of stress such as improved memory. Another report shares that mindfulness meditation can reduce symptoms of anxiety and panic. And it can even improve the well-being of people with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and panic disorder with agoraphobia.
You might not think that calm and controlled stretching and posing could have such a positive effect. You wouldn’t necessarily suspect that sitting quietly for a few minutes can make a world of difference in your mindset. But over and over again, yoga and meditation are proving to be effective ways to improve your mental health.
So, if COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on your mental well-being, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can go a long way in helping set things right.

Why You Should Start

The benefits of yoga and meditation are vast. Let’s dive deeper into why they’re so powerful for your mental and physical health.
1. Positively Affects Immunity
In order to bounce back from COVID-19 and protect yourself from future illness, you need an immune system that runs like a well-oiled machine. Research on students noted that yoga and meditation had a positive effect on their psychological, emotional, and immunological parameters.
Another review looked at studies spanning a variety of forms of yoga to address a number of health problems, including HIV, cancer, and heart failure. Across the board, the studies found that yoga improved the immunological profile of the participants, regardless of the type and state of the disease.
Remember that you can get COVID-19 more than once. And even if you only get it once, it can leave you feeling weak and fatigued. Your body needs help fighting it. Even 10 minutes a day of yoga is beneficial when it comes to your immunity.
Also bear in mind that excessive stress can weaken your immune system, which means the benefits are twofold: Yoga and meditation can directly improve your immunity, and they can also decrease your stress, further supporting your immune system.
Jeremy Yoga stretch

2. Decreases Inflammation
What is inflammation? When your body triggers your immune system, your immune system sends out inflammatory cells. These cells attack bacteria and help heal damaged tissue. In the case of COVID-19, science has found evidence of inflammation long after the virus can even be detected. It can affect the part of the brain that deals with your sense of smell, emotion, and learning. In other words, even if you’re otherwise healed from COVID-19, you might still be experiencing certain long-term side effects, which can be due to inflammation.
While research is ongoing, there are studies suggesting that mindfulness meditation can improve specific markers of inflammation (along with cell-mediated immunity). Another study reported that yoga-based lifestyle intervention can possibly reduce the markers of inflammation in just 10 days. (In this case, they were looking at people with chronic diseases.) A study looking at people with heart failure uncovered similar results.
Even outside of COVID-19, remember that inflammation is the root of many chronic diseases, including arthritis and Alzheimer’s. Maintaining healthy inflammatory responses is important to your overall mental and physical wellness.

3. Lowers Cortisol Levels
We talked about cortisol earlier, but let’s go a little deeper. When you experience stress, real or perceived, your hypothalamus — which connects your brain to your endocrine system — tells your pituitary gland to produce a specific hormone. This hormone then signals to your adrenal glands that they need to increase their production of cortisol. Stress isn’t “all in your head.” Your body is physiologically reacting to it on a chemical level.
Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can come to the rescue. Research has demonstrated that yoga can act at the level of the hypothalamus to trigger anti-stress effects by reducing your level of cortisol.
Another fascinating study looked at students during their exams — a time of heightened stress. One group participated in yoga for 35 minutes a day for 12 weeks total; another group did not. The researchers monitored parameters like the students’ heart rate and blood pressure. In the end, they found that the group that practiced yoga didn’t significantly react to examination stress, whereas the control group did.
Mindfulness meditation has also proven to be effective in lowering your cortisol and the amount of stress you’re experiencing. Further research looking at Dhammakaya Buddhist meditation specifically found that after meditation cortisol levels among the participants were significantly lower, along with blood pressure and pulse rate.
We already experience a ton of stress on a daily basis, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated it. If you can get your cortisol levels in check, your feelings of stress can diminish.

4. Can Decrease the Chances of Long-COVID
Long-COVID—also called Post-COVID Syndrome—is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. This is when people experience symptoms and side effects of COVID-19 weeks and even months after infection. These symptoms can even go away and then come back. For example, some people are left with a nagging dry cough that just won’t quit. Others don’t regain their sense of smell until later on. Long-COVID can also equate to immunosuppression, cardiac problems, anxiety disorders, and depression. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested that managing stress and anxiety can help you rehabilitate after COVID-19, along with postures that can ease your breathing. Research says that because yoga—of which breathing is fundamental—is known for its anti-inflammatory effects, it can improve your pulmonary function along with local inflammation. More specifically, Bhramari—a pranayama (way) to regulate your breathing—can increase your nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means it can dilate your blood vessels. And this can protect you from some of the vascular complications associated with Long COVID.
Research is ongoing, but from what we’ve seen thus far, the results speak loud and clear. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can all be part of a healthy lifestyle that helps you heal from COVID-19.
Coach Jeremy meditating

How Can You Apply What You’ve Learned?

All of this sounds nice, but how can you act on it? As you probably guessed, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness aren’t only beneficial in regard to COVID-19. They make a great addition to your lifestyle regardless of whether or not you’ve dealt with the coronavirus.
Here are a few practical tips for making these practices work for you.
➤ If you feel overwhelmed trying to incorporate these practices into your daily life, start small. Set a timer for five minutes and do some light stretching, a breathing exercise, or simply sit quietly in a comfortable position.
➤ Put it on your calendar. You make time for work meetings and other appointments. And you can do the same with yoga or meditation! Actually make a point of blocking out time on your calendar to make it a priority. This way you can do it without interruption.
➤ Be consistent, even if this means following these practices in smaller doses. Dedicating 10 minutes a day to yoga or meditation is going to be more effective than doing 30 minutes one day, skipping two weeks, doing an hour the next time, missing a week, and so on.
➤ Take a holistic approach. Incorporating yoga and meditation into your daily life will pay off tenfold. But you’re going to get much better results if you also get enough quality sleep and fuel your body with nourishing foods.
Remember, the changes you make to your life don’t have to be earth-shattering to be impactful. Instead of trying to do a complete 180, start with small but consistent baby steps.

Getting Started with Tempo

When it comes to adopting healthier lifestyle habits, having structure and guidance can help immensely. That way, you’re never truly going at it alone. And that’s where Tempo comes into the equation.
With our guided workouts, you’re always moving under the eye of an experienced trainer. Our yoga classes are led by Head Yogi Jeremy Falk, who brings more than 15 years of experience in movement arts and positive psychology. He’ll teach you how to harness the transformational power of yoga and meditation to manage your COVID-19 symptoms and generally live a healthier, happier life.
When you train with Tempo, there are two smart home gym systems can you choose from. Tempo Studio is our most powerful, robust, all-in-one solution. Tempo Move is a more compact system that requires only a TV and your smartphone, and it’s designed to fit anywhere.
What makes Tempo different? One of our pillar features is our 3D Tempo Vision. This turns your workout into more than a class—it makes it a more holistic experience. Get real-time feedback on your form so that you can improve your technique. Plus we’ll help customize your workouts so they’re better suited to meet your goals.
Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation have the power to change your life. Maybe you’re recovering from COVID-19. Or perhaps you’re experiencing severe stress due to work. Or perhaps nagging inflammation is causing your pain and discomfort. Yoga and meditation are safe, natural ways to improve both your physical and mental wellness.
With Tempo, you can practice yoga and meditation anytime, day or night, without ever leaving your home. Even if you have only 5 minutes to dedicate, your body and mind will feel the difference. Let’s take the next step together. Start by customizing your Tempo experience today.


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Finding Your Why

In our last couple blog posts, we talked a lot about some different physical aspects of fitness. This time, we’re going to talk a bit more about some mental and emotional aspects of fitness—specifically the deceptively complicated principle of goal-setting.

square blog 12/21

How to Improve Body Composition: 3 Things to Know

Learn how to change body composition, or the proportion of lean muscle and fat mass in your body, through strength and weight training for best results.

12.23.20 - Progressive Overload

6 Ways to Beat an Exercise Plateau with Progressive Overload

Learn how to overcome your strength plateaus using progressive overload. Find tips on safe training while increasing your load and making gains.