Report on Vihara

WriteUps By Ayush

A webinar on Yoga and Immunity

Conducted by Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy

The Ministry of Ayush has initiated a campaign “Ayush for Immunity”. As a part of this campaign, Central Council for Research in Yoga& Naturopathy has hosted a webinar VIHARA - A webinar on Yoga and Immunity with an aim to deliberate the various aspects of immunity. Experts included Clinical Immunologists, Researchers, clinicians, and Yoga & Naturopathy physicians.

The webinar was held on 16th October 2020 between 9.00 am to 1.00 pm. Shri Ranjit Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Ayush made the opening remarks on the importance of immunity in the new normal conditions due to COVID 19 and talked about yoga and immunity. Dr. Raghavendra Rao, Director, Central Council for Research in Yoga & Naturopathy gave a brief overview of the program and welcomed all the speakers and attendees to the event. 

In the technical sessions, Dr. Chandrashekara S, Medical Director, Chanre  Rheumatology& Immunology Center & Research, Bangalore a renowned Immunologist presented the beneficial and harmful effects of inflammation and how this needs to be moderated to get the desired results. He said Immune homeostasis is the cornerstone of good health and Yoga and Naturopathy helps in restoring the balance. He explained how situations like infections, stress, acute exercise can have a deleterious effect on immunity and showcased evidence by using yoga approaches in autoimmunity. He emphasised the need for immune stabilization instead of immune-boosting. Dr. AkshayAnand, Professor, Neuroscience Research Lab, Department of Neurology, PGI, Chandigarhhas threw light on the research with various yoga modules that have shown a significantly increased DHEAS, Sirtuin1 and telomerase activity with decreased cortisol and IL-6 levels in addition to decreasing DNA damage and oxidative stress. He recommended more studies on animal models in combination with cell culture-based models to dissect the immunity-based changes by identifying cellular as well as molecular pathways. Dr. Rima Dada, Professor, department of anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi has given a wider view on evidence-based studies on yoga. She enlightened the audience on the beneficial role of yoga in reducing sperm DNA damage, oxidative stress, male infertility, improving the mitochondrial integrity to the modulation of gene expression in glaucoma, depression, and aging. Dr. Gururaj Rao, Director, ICREST talked about epigenetic changes, gene expression, and how to measure epigenetic changes in lab settings. Dr.Jyothsna Rao, Director, ICREST focussed on types of immunity and stimuli that trigger chronic inflammation and the effect of stress on immunity and reactivation of latent viruses along with various methods for quantifying immunity. Dr. Raghavendrasamy shared his study on the role of yoga in Antarctica where yoga was offered as an intervention to Indian expeditions to Antarctica. The outcomes on psychological, biochemical, serum markers, and gene expressions showed better adaptation to the extremely harsh environmental conditions through yoga practices. Dr Radheshyam Naik, Head, Medical Oncology, HCG Hospitals threw light on  the link between immune system and cancer and the  research involving immune-oncology with potential areas like tumor infiltrating lymphocytes , tumor mutational burden, conversion of cold tumor to an immunogenic hot tumor using chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc. and role of yoga in modulating antitumor immune response. Dr. Amritanshuram, Head CAM program, HCG Hospitals has talked about the concepts of yoga and highlighted the beneficial role of yoga in psychological and immune outcomes on cancer survivors, and explained how yoga works on the mind. The technical session was finally concluded by Dr. Raghavendra Rao, the Director of CCRYN with a vote of thanks to all the speakers.

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