When Manisha Shrestha and her husband tested positive for Covid-19 last month, they had the option of staying in home isolation or checking into a hotel since they lived with other relatives in a confined space.
But when her husband started having a fever, they both decided to be admitted into the Ayurved Research Centre in Kirtipur outside Kathmandu, which has been designated a Covid-19 treatment facility by the government.
Yoga in the time of Covid-19, Anjana Rajbhandary
Situated in a relatively open area with a panoramic view of the city below and the mountains beyond, the Centre is itself like an ashram and has had a healing effect on many of the 100 patients that are there at any given time.
However, three days after being admitted, Manisha’s husband’s fever did not go down and his oxygen level started falling. Doctors advised him to go to a city hospital ICU for better treatment in case his condition deteriorated. But her husband refused.
“Firstly, it was difficult to get a bed in hospitals in the city, and there would be no one to take care of him there, that is why he was reluctant,” recalls Manisha, who started doing yoga exercises in the Centre’s roof terrace with her husband every morning.
The combination of fresh air, quiet ambience and yoga helped him get better. At first it was just the Shreshta couple doing yoga on the roof, but soon other curious patients started joining in. Then others, and others.
At first there were just a few more patients besides her husband, but then the class grew and soon Manisha was coaching up to 50 physically separated patients every morning, many of whom had never done yoga before.
The patients who recovered would go home, to be replaced by newcomers. For some with breathing difficulties or other ailments, Manisha did specialised classes.
“I never expected there to be so many who would be interested, and it also helped us recover, and to pass the time while we were in the hospital for two weeks,” she adds.