Stress is like a slow-moving time bomb that can mar the quality of your life and eventually cause diabetes, blood pressure and heart disease. But you can guard against these lifestyle diseases by a simple yoga routine, says YOGI DR AMRIT RAJ
Stress and anxiety are killers. They play havoc with your health and quality of life. However, there is no cause for alarm, for we have a cure right in the comfort of your home. That cure is practising yoga, which works very well by awakening the chakras of the body, thereby reducing stress and anxiety.
Yoga is a discipline in which the body and mind are conceived as a unit. Through yogic postures (asanas) and breathing (pranayama) our body is filled with energy and positivity, the muscles get relaxed and the cells are stimulated.
Unlike other stress-reducing practices, practising yoga helps you reduce not just the symptoms of stress, but also makes you aware of the cause of your stress or anxiety. During yoga, our body releases accumulated tensions and reaches a great state of relaxation.
This, in turn, influences our central nervous system as well as the circulatory, digestive and respiratory system. This leads to relaxation almost instantly. It also helps in recomposing the energy balance of the body, loosening and releasing tension.
During relaxation, practically none of the prana (vital energy) is consumed. Other benefits include decrease in anxiety and blood pressure, stabilisation of cardiac and respiratory functions, improvement of blood circulation and quality of sleep, increased skin temperature, increased speed of reflexes and in the ability to concentrate, better memory, as well as greater resistance to diseases and better cerebral oxygenation. The practice of relaxation regularly increases our creative capacity and improves learning.
Here are four yoga asanas to combat stress, which are very easy to put into practice. For best results practise them everyday.
Also called Balasana, this posture is perfect to combat stress as it is used in yoga classes to rest. Therefore, the child’s posture provides mental rest and is mainly used to calm anxiety and general stress. Performing it is very easy: just kneel and place your upper body on the floor with outstretched arms inhaling and exhaling. It is often the first pose taught to beginners of yoga. When perfectly performed, the body faces the floor in the foetal position.
This posture is obtained by putting the legs up against a wall. This legs-up-the-wall pose is an asana and also a mudra in hatha yoga. In modern yoga as exercise, it is a fully supported pose using a wall and sometimes, even a pile of blankets.
It relieves stress and cures back ailments. In this position, This position decreases and relieves tension in the lower part of the spine and hip. This posture also treats other types of aches and pains such as arthritis, insomnia, mild depression and cramps in various parts of the body.
The Savasana posture is one of the basic ways to relax and reduce stress. In this asana, the body’s posture relaxes the body, soothes the mind and relieves stress. It is used to treat anxiety, high blood pressure, depression and headaches. Although this posture seems simple, it requires one to be completely calm and focussed and does not seem as easy as it seems. You lie down flat on the ground, with your hands with palms open by your side. You then gradually relax one body part at a time, one muscle at a time, literally, one thought at a time. When you do this practice regularly, you can give yourself auto-suggestions to release stress and this leads to an improved sense of physical and emotional well-being.
Keep your eyes closed and breathe deeply and slowly, while telling the body to relax. This position should be maintained for about five or ten minutes.
This posture is one of the most well-known and easiest to perform. It helps in relaxing the body and reducing stress and anxiety. Sit with knees bent and hands on knees either in sukhasana or on a chair. Keep your back straight. A series of deep and regular breathings are then performed with closed eyes. Think that you are inhaling pure air and breathing out all your impurities.
It is best to learn these asanas, however simple they may be from an experienced yoga teacher.
When you practice these yogasanas, you begin to understand and perceive what impact they have on your body and mind. Each movement releases stress and tensions and after few minutes, your mind begins to relax. Your body is more rested and you feel a deeper state of joy and relaxation.
Yogi Dr Amrit Raj is a fourth generation Ayurvedic doctor and certified 500 Hours Yoga Teacher from Yoga Alliance, USA. He founded Maa Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh, which holds yoga and ayurvedic retreats. He has held yoga and Ayurveda workshops for judges, European royal families, Hollywood and Bollywood actors, and for UN officials.