If you thought that yoga was all about bending and twisting your body in odd shapes, it’s time to rethink. Yoga is much more. In very simple words, giving care to your body, mind and breath is yoga. Derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means ‘to unite or integrate’, yoga is a 5,000-year-old Indian body of knowledge. Yoga is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the means of various breathing exercises, yoga poses (asanas) and meditation.
- Yoga improves strength, balance and flexibility.
- Yoga helps with back pain relief.
- Yoga can ease arthritis symptoms.
- Yoga benefits heart health.
- Yoga relaxes you, to help you sleep better.
- Yoga can mean more energy and brighter moods.
- Yoga helps you manage stress.
Yoga for Mental Health:
This pose is also known as “the high lunge”. Doing the crescent variation of this exercise is known to help improve your blood flow, calm your mind.
- While standing, lunge one leg forward.
- Bend the front knee, make sure your knee is in line with your ankle, stretch your back leg.
- Press your ankle flat against the ground on both ankles.
- Raise your arms to the sky and connect your palms.
- Breathe in deeply and breathe out in an even flow.
- Repeat 5 times per leg.
This pose is known commonly as the eagle pose. This pose requires you to breathe while holding your body in balance. It helps prevent anxiety attacks while improving your focus. Steps are as follows:
- Breathe in deep, shift the weight of your body onto one leg.
- Slowly wrap one leg around the other.
- Sink your hips and gently bend your knees.
- Keep your ankle flat on the ground.
- Keep your breathing even and slow.
- Wrap one arm around the other at the elbows and wrists.
Commonly referred to as “the dancer’s pose”, this asana is great for mood balancing. It can be beneficial for those who are fighting depression and anxiety.
How to Do It:
- With both legs planted on the ground, bend one knee back; using your arm, grip the ankle.
- Slowly keeping a steady posture, lean forward and lift your ankle towards the sky.
- Extend your free hand in front of you.
- Take 5 deep and even breaths.
Yoga to increase immunity against Covid:
- Sit on your heels. Keeping your hips on the heels, bend forward, and lower your forehead to the floor.
- Keep the arms alongside your body with hands on the floor, palms facing up. (If this is not comfortable, you can place one fist on top of another and rest your forehead on them.)
- Gently press your chest on the thighs.
- Slowly come up to sit on the heels, uncurling vertebra by vertebra and relax.
Shishuasana is an excellent pose to decongest the chest and relax the mind.
- To begin, lie on your back.
- Fold your knees and keep your feet hip distance apart on the floor, 10-12 inches from your pelvis, with knees and ankles in a straight line.
- Keep your arms beside your body, palms facing down.
- Inhaling, slowly lift your lower back, middle back and upper back off the floor; gently roll in the shoulders; touch the chest to the chin without bringing the chin down, supporting your weight with your shoulders, arms and feet. Feel your bottom firm up in this pose. Both the thighs are parallel to each other and to the floor.
- If you wish, you could interlace the fingers and push the hands on the floor to lift the torso a little more up, or you could support your back with your palms.
- Keep breathing easily.
- Hold the posture for a minute or two and exhale as you gently release the pose.
Setu Bandhasana opens the heart and improves blood circulation, increasing energy in the body.
- Lie on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by the side of your body.
- Fold your knees and hold your ankles.
- Breathing in, lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and back.
- Look straight ahead with a smile on your face. Curve your lips to match the curve of your body!
- Keep the pose stable while paying attention to your breath. Your body is now taut as a bow.
- Continue to take long deep breaths as you relax in this pose. But don’t get carried away! Do not overdo the stretch.
- After 15 -20 seconds, as you exhale, gently bring your legs and chest to the ground. Release the ankles and relax.
Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being. “Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration.