Before the lockdown started on 23 March 2020, our Ganga Darshan Vishwa Yoga Peeth was already closed for visitors as a precaution. Then Ganga Darshan offices closed and we were mainly working in the kitchen and in the garden. Instead of flowers we were growing vegetables for our own requirements. During lockdown many phone calls from every part of the world were coming to the ashram regarding Covid-19 and health issues.
One incident happened in USA. One of our devotee’s son was Covid-19 positive. His situation was getting worse. One night the doctor told him that the next morning he would have to go on the ventilator. He was a practitioner of yoga and maintained regular pranayama, kunjal and neti practice. Within a few days he recovered from Covid-19. The news of kunjal and neti kriya spread throughout America and the whole world like fire in a jungle. The news also came to Munger. Many newspaper reporters contacted the ashram asking mainly about neti practices. We told them that these practices need to be learnt properly by a competent yoga teacher.
At Ganga Darshan, a few groups were working with the inspiration and under the guidance of Swamiji on a daily yoga capsule routine for the Covid-19 time. On 17April, we launched ‘Yoga Lifestyle Capsule’ on our website satyamyogaprasad.net. It is a full program for people: What yoga should we do? What should our daily lifestyle be? What should we eat? Everything was there. This web link was circulated to government offices, wellness centres, hospitals and, of course, Covid-19 quarantine centres. One officer from a quarantine centre in Bihar told us that after following the yoga lifestyle capsule program many people recovered quickly and post Covid-19 issues like emotional imbalance was not there.
During the pandemic period, the ashram provided the local administration, police personnel and our frontline heroes with items like bedding (bed sheets, mattress, pillows), masks, gloves, face shields, disinfectants and PPE kits to help develop quarantine centres.
Since 2019, Swamiji is doing a special anushthana every month on Sankranti. This continued in 2020, but due to Covid-19 since April, we are not able to distribute daan on a large scale. During the short period of un-lockdown, we again gave daan following physical distancing and other precautions. Daan is given to needy people like fishermen, blacksmiths, thela pullers, rickshaw pullers, coolies, boatmen, sweepers, anganwaris, ladies who work in childcare centres, cooks in primary and middle school, guards, toto drivers, divyang or people with special needs, widows, poor senior citizens and the volunteers who come to the ashram to do seva from time to time.
Anna daan includes edible items like rice, flour, few types of pulses, salt and oil. Vastra daan includes clothing for all family members, like slippers, umbrella, rain coat, bed sheets. Grih or patra daan includes utensils like plates, glasses, pressure cooker, thermos and other useful household utensils. Daan depends upon season and the need of the people. In the summer people get earthen matka, sattu, umbrellas. In winter blankets, warm clothes, thermos. In the monsoon season we give plants like mango, guava, bel and other fruit plants. We added hand soap, masks, towels during the Covid-19 pandemic.
On 2 May, we launched the FFH app for frontline heroes. During lockdown the frontline heroes like doctors, police personnel and sweepers were working very hard day and night without rest. Their body and mind were affected. In the FFH app there are some asana, pranayama and relaxation practices.
They are easy to do and take little time. This app is helping them a lot. One doctor from Delhi used this app and was so amazed and inspired that he wants to do the Yogic Studies course to know more about yoga and be able to help his patients.
On the International Day of Yoga Day, on 21 June, we made a special program. Swamiji gave his Guru Poornima message through social media and also announced the digital prasad available on satyamyogaprasad.net. People around the world were so happy and blessed after listening and seeing Swamiji live that they felt they were in the ashram with him. As Covid-19 is affecting mostly the lungs, we made a program ‘Breathe for Healthy Lungs’, launched on 21 July.
One week before this program was launched, suddenly the number of cases increased in Munger, after there had been no Covid-19 cases for a long time. The Munger postal department was also affected. One of the postmen with Covid-19 was helped by his wife, a yoga teacher, who taught him kunjal and neti practices and other asana and pranayama practices. Then he also followed the ‘Breathe for Healthy Lungs’ program. After five days he called saying that with Swamiji’s blessings he was doing the practices daily and recovered quickly. He was telling everyone about the program.
In his new chapter, Swamiji gives the message to yoga aspirants that now the time has come to use yoga not only as a preventive health measure but to imbibe yoga vidya as a sadhana and yogic lifestyle. This will lead to a healthy world, a world with positive samskaras and a world near to Mother Nature in the spirit of yoga ecology.