With everyone's hectic schedules, we don't even notice how quickly a day passes and our health suffers as a result. How do you incorporate yoga into your daily routine with such a hectic schedule, and what can you practice?
For all the workaholics out there, here are some simple and efficient yogic techniques to get in shape. It only takes 15 minutes, and you don't even have to leave the house. These asanas can be done from where you are sitting and during short work breaks.
Sukha Purvaka Pranayama
This pranayama is effortless breathing that focuses on breathing deeply into each section of the lungs, as the name says. There is a strong emphasis on both internal and exterior breath retention.
Simply breathe in for 4 to 6 counts, filling the lungs up.
Hold the breath, ideally for the same count, or it can be as long as you can.
Exhale for 4 to 6 counts, holding the breath out for the same time or as long as you can.
This completes one round.
You can start with 10 rounds and increase the repetition with practice.
This pranayama is excellent for increasing the lung capacity, hence improving the oxygen level in the body along with the multitude of benefits it can give to mental and physical health. As a result, focus at work is improved benefit for all the workaholics, isn't it?
The Eagle Stance, also known as Chair Garudasana, is a balancing pose. You will feel a stretch in your shoulders, upper back, and thighs as you perform this sitting in your office chair. This stretch will relax your body and is a great way to unwind after a long day at work.
Sit at the edge of the chair with your feet on the floor.
Breath in to bend your elbows and open your arms.
As you exhale, bring the right knee over the left.
Send the right toe at the back of the calf muscles. Simultaneously, bring the left elbow under the right and single - or double rap the palms.
Stay in this pose for 3 to 5 deep breaths.
You can repeat it on the other side.
This pose is excellent for stretching the posterior chain of the body along with the triceps.
It is great to increase focus and release anxiety.
The Sanskrit words Pawan means air, Mukta means free, and asana means posture, therefore Chair Pawanmuktasana (Gas Releasing Pose) is derived from them. This position is beneficial to your digestive system, thus it relieves the discomfort that we typically have after our lunch break, which disrupts our work.
Sit at the edge of the chair with your spine elongated and your feet on the floor.
Breathe in and bend the right knee and hug the right shin as you exhale, reducing the distance between the abdomen and thigh.
Stay here for 3 to 5 breaths and with every exhalation, keep elongating the spine and pressing the thigh towards the abdomen.
Repeat the same on the other leg. You can practise this 3 to 5 times and increase the repetitions with practice.
This asana improves and regulates digestion and helps release excess air in the digestive system.
It also helps strengthen the core muscles and aids weight loss.
Chair Vakrasana, also known as the Half Twisted Pose, is a practice that most of us have been practising unconsciously because it feels so good. Back discomfort is relieved and side fat is reduced as you twist on both sides. If you work for long hours, this is a perfect asana to do every 2-3 hours.
Sit at the edge of the chair with your feet on the floor, knee and ankle in line with each other.
Breathe in, raise your hands up and, as you exhale, twist to the right with the right hand on the head of the chair and the left hand on the outside of the right thigh.
Use the resistance of your hands to press the right shoulder back to bring the shoulders into one line.
Stay in this pose for 3 to 5 breaths and with every inhalation, lengthen the spine and twist deeper with every exhalation.
Repeat the same on both sides. You can repeat this asana 3 to 5 times and slowly increase the repetition with practice.
This pose is like a boon to your spine, it helps keep the spinal column healthy and supple.
This also helps improve digestion, and keeps the internal organs healthy.
Chair Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bending Pose) is a stretch that targets your back and hamstrings while stretching your complete body. When you're in this position, both your mind and body feel at ease. Your body's blood circulation relaxes you and offers you the energy to return to work with a clear head. You won't have to worry about belly fat because it focuses on the core.
While sitting at the edge of the chair, straighten the legs as much as possible and keep the heels on the floor.
Breathe in to raise your arms up, breath out to hinge from the hip while keeping the back straight and fold forward as much as possible. If this is too difficult one can also simply fold forward with bent knees.
Stay here for 3 to 5 breaths and try to deepen the fold with every exhalation.
Repeat this 3 times and with practice increase the reps.
This pose helps stretch the back muscles and improves the function of the digestive system.
It is perfect to release anxiety and brings you to a very calm state of mind.
Alternatively, you can utilise our SARVA app. Many soundtracks for relaxation and guided meditation are available on our app and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. You now have great yogic practices at your disposal to keep you healthy on the fly. These are easy to do and may be done anywhere and at any time. Don't let your hectic schedule keep you from being healthy; instead, apply these tips and take the first step now. (Shraddha Iyer, SARVA Instructor)
Read More► Yoga and Home Remedies To Help Treat Dengue
Statistically, 1 in 20 people who are infected with dengue fever may go on to develop severe dengue. This can result in shock, internal bleeding, and even be fatal causing death. Infants and pregnant women are at higher risk for developing severe dengue.
Yoga Builds Immunity
A strong immune system helps you prevent dengue which can be developed through holistic practices like yoga. But if you have dengue, yoga can help in quick recovery from dengue fever. Strong immunity will also treat the initial symptoms of dengue.
Take Care of Your Diet
Do not eat anything that is oily or spicy. Consume freshly cooked meals that have ingredients like black pepper and elaichi in them. Other immunity-boosting foods that you can add to your diet include citrus foods, garlic, almonds, turmeric and many more.
Practice the following asanas slowly. Do not hold for a long duration. You can also add pranayama exercises like Anulom Vilom and Brhamari pranayama to your routine.
Vajrasana - Thunderbolt Pose
Formation of the Posture:
Bring your knees down on your mat
Rest your pelvis on your heels
Keep your heels slightly apart from each other
Place your palms on your thighs
Straighten your back and look forward
Vriksh Asana-Tree Pose
Formation of the Posture:
Stand tall, and place one foot on the opposite inner thigh, either above or below the knee. Open the leg to the side, bring your hands to prayer, and stay for five to eight breaths.
Builds leg and abdominal strength
Works on hip mobility
Paschimottan Asana-Seated forward bend
Formation of the Posture:
Begin in Dandasana where your legs are stretched out forward
Keep your knees slightly bent if needed
Lift your arms up and keep your spine upright
Exhale and bend forward
Try to grip your toes with your fingers
Hold the posture for 10 seconds
Formation of the Posture:
Drop your knees to the ground gently and keep your upper body straight.
Start with Sukshma Vyayam or subtle exercises to warm up the body.
Stretch your arms up to the sky with palms hovering shoulder distance from and facing each other.
Look forward and hold
Begin on your stomach
Fold your knees to grab onto your ankles with your palms
Inhale and lift your legs and arms up as much as you can
Balance on your stomach
Look up and hold the posture
Sit in any comfortable pose (such as Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana)
Straighten your back and close your eyes
Place your palms on your knees facing up (in Prapthi Mudra)
Place your thumbs on the 'Tragus', the external flap outside on your ear.
Place your index finger on your forehead; your middle finger on the Medial Canthus and ring finger on the corner of your nostril
Inhale and fill your lungs with air
As you exhale, slowly make a buzzing sound like that of a bee, i.e., "mmmmmmm...."
Keep your mouth closed the entire time and feel the vibration of the sound disseminate throughout your body
This particular practice of Siddhohum Kriya can be done as a remedy to fluctuation of moods. It helps you to balance your energies and stay in a pleasant temperament. One of the most important and wonderful benefits of this practice is that it helps you maintain this mood and upgrade from there. It helps you align your body mind and spirit. (Tips by Himalayan Siddha, Grand Master Akshar)
Read More► Stay Strong As You Age
Did you know that over 40-year-olds might lose up to 8 per cent of their muscle mass every decade? After the age of 70, the pace of decrease may double.
Sarcopenia, or advanced muscle loss, affects roughly one-third of persons over the age of 50. Muscles are crucial for organ function, skin health, immunity and metabolism, as well as for common physical acts like picking things up, reaching for something, opening a jar or getting out of a chair. To put it another way, keeping muscle mass as you become older is critical to living a happy and healthy life.
"Muscle loss is an ageing factor that is rarely discussed, and people accept its signs, such as a loss of strength and energy, as a natural part of ageing," says Ganesh Kadhe, Associate Director Medical and Scientific Affairs at Abbott Nutrition.
"However, muscle fitness can often predict how we will age and remain active and independent."
The good news is that you may assist, prevent or delay muscle loss by taking the appropriate precautions. While muscle loss is unavoidable as we age, it does not have to be.
To stay strong as you age, start following the tips below to fuel and keep muscles fit for years to come!
1. Engage in regular exercise, including resistance training, to maintain muscles and strength.
2. Eat good source of protein from lean meats, eggs and beans; aim for 25-30 grams of protein at every meal.
3. Choose a balanced diet full of veggies, fruits, whole grains, proteins, healthy fats and key vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin D.
4. Consider taking other muscle health ingredients, like HMB.
5. Talk to your healthcare provider about nutrition, especially if you are ill, hospitalised or recovering from surgery, to manage illness-related muscle loss.
Read More► 6 Bone Strengthening Yoga Poses for Osteoporosis
The rise in air pollution, coupled with lousy lifestyle habits, is causing a spike in respiratory diseases. According to a Lancet report, the contribution of chronic respiratory diseases in India increased from 4.5 per cent in 1990 to 6.4 per cent in 2016. With respiratory issues on the rise, there is an increased demand for natural solutions to treat such issues. Instead of conventional medicine, people are turning to alternative medical therapies to find cures for ailments.
Common Lung Disorders
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This leads to narrowing of the air pathways and excess mucus causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is a chronic condition that interferes seriously with daily life.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the airflow to the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production, coughing, and wheezing. It can result from long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. Those affected by COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions.
This is another variation of COPD. Bronchitis causes a similar build-up of mucus that can cause inflammation and coughing. The lungs' airways are constantly inflamed as chronic bronchitis often lasts for months on end. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include incessant coughing, whistling sounds while breathing, wheezing and a tightening of the chest.
It is said that the cure for all ailments is available the natural way. Here are some of the alternative medicine approaches to treat respiratory disorders.
Alternative Medicinal Approaches to Treat Respiratory Disorders
Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases. One of the primary causes of asthma is allergies, which often result from the food consumed. It is crucial, therefore, to first prepare a diet that is suitable for an individual. Often, dairy products, meats, and certain nuts can increase the production of mucus.
Foods like these must be avoided. Also, antioxidants can prevent damage resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Diet is important in this regard, as fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A, C, and E can improve the condition of COPD patients.
Yoga and Exercise
Treatment of lung disorders often involves the use of the lungs to promote healthy breathing habits. Exercises like cycling, swimming, yoga etc. that create a need for full capacity breathing are of great importance. Exercising the diaphragm is important and simple activities can go a long way in the treatment of the same.
Pranayama, the practise of controlled breathing, is an integral part of alternative treatment for people suffering from respiratory issues. This extensive breathing practice helps to expand the lungs and improve the capacity of the lungs, which helps an individual breathe more freely.
Nasal irrigation systems like JalNeti using a Neti pot can help to rinse the sinuses, which may provide some relief from symptoms of respiratory allergies.
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate certain parts of the body. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people with allergic rhinitis who were given acupuncture treatments twice a week for eight weeks had fewer symptoms than those administered placebo.
It is important to remember that no one complementary or alternative therapy works well for everyone with respiratory issues. Therefore, a proper assessment is done before deciding on the approach to the treatment plan. For those considering alternative medicine for their respiratory problems, it is recommended to speak to an expert first and discuss the approach that may work best. (Vinoda Kumary, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)
Read More► Heartfulness Meditation Helps in Reducing Stress, Reveals Study
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones, making them less dense and increasing the chances of a fracture. Since there are no specific symptoms related to osteoporosis, people often fail to recognise the onset of the disease unless tested for it, or unfortunately, after breaking a bone.
For people suffering from osteoporosis, yoga can be an effective addition to their treatment plan. The ancient sacred practice slowly builds strength, stability, agility and flexibility in the body which helps to ease the symptoms, lower the risk of complications and improve bone health. A study conducted in 2009 found out that when yoga is done consistently and diligently, it can increase bone strength.
Dr. Rajeev Rajesh, Chief yoga Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute shares six yoga poses to be practiced for osteoporosis:
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose)
How To Do
Start on all fours to form a table-like structure.
Lift the hips, straighten the knees and elbows.
Make sure that the hands are in line with the shoulders and feet are in line with the hips.
While forming a V structure, press the hands on the mat and lengthen the neck.
Hold this position for at least 30 seconds and release gently.
Benefits: Apart from strengthening the core, this asana also strengthens the bones, improves blood flow and body posture, stretches the back and makes the arms stronger.
Veerbhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose)
How To Do
Stand straight with both feet together and arms by the side.
By keeping the right foot flat on the mat, lunge with the left leg.
Stretch the arms straight above the head.
Hold this position for a few seconds, release gently and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: This asana regulates the adrenal glands responsible for providing the body with adequate amounts of estrogen and androgen for healthy bones. It is also effective in increasing the strength of the spine, shoulders, arms, knees and elbows.
Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
How To Do
Stand erect with the arms by the side of the body.
Bend the right knee slightly and place the right foot high up on the left leg.
Ensure that the legs are erect, inhale gently and raise the arms above the head into the Namaskar mudra.
Keep the spine straight and hold the position for 30 seconds.
Come back to the original position gently and repeat with the other leg.
Benefits: This pose improves poise and balance. This asana is also effective in toning the leg muscles while making the tendons and ligaments of the feet stronger.
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
How To Do
Stand with feet hip-width apart.
Raise the arms above the head in Namaskar mudra.
Bend the knees slightly, just like sitting in a chair so that the hips remain at a 45-degree angle.
While breathing, consistently hold the pose for a minute.
Release gently and repeat.
Benefits: This asana creates stability and strength in the shoulder joints. Apart from that, it also helps to strengthen the gluteus and quads.
Setubandhasana (Bridge Pose)
How To Do
Lie on the back and keep the arms by the side.
Bend the knees so that the feet are firmly pressed on the ground.
With the strength of the arms, push the pelvis off the floor.
Make sure that the neck and back lie flat on the ground.
Stay in this position for 30 seconds before releasing gently.
Benefits: The asana can be therapeutic for people suffering from osteoporosis. It is beneficial in the strengthening of the hips, spine, and thighs.
Santolanasana (Plank Pose)
How To Do
Lie on the stomach.
Bring the hands towards the shoulders by keeping the palms on the ground.
Now gently push up the body to form a straight line.
The arms must be perpendicular to the ground and the body must be parallel to the ground.
Hold the pose and come back to the original position.
Benefits: It strengthens the shoulders, arms and wrists. It is also good for the spine muscles and improves posture.(By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
Read More► Heartfulness Meditation Helps in Reducing Stress, Reveals Study
Heartfulness meditation, a simple heart-based meditation practice aimed at attaining a balanced state of mind, helps in reducing stress and improving the quality of sleep, revealed a study.
The mixed-method study was conducted by US researchers during the Covid-19 pandemic and was published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said Heartfulness Institute, which has its global headquarters in Hyderabad.
Heartfulness meditation was associated with significant reduction in perceived stress and improvement in the quality of sleep of participants who completed the online-based meditation programme.
Kamlesh Patel, also known as Daaji, the guide of Heartfulness meditation, underlines the need to immediately address stress in one's life.
"The simple focus of life is to become better and better each day. To achieve this we need to be in a state of complete awareness about our self and raise our consciousness in tune with our true nature. Stress is the modern day ill created by our inability to focus on things that matter. Stress and its negative impact on our overall wellbeing has slowly but steadily taken control of every individual," he said.
"While we know Covid-19 as the pandemic, the build-up of stress and its ill impacts is the bigger pandemic and equally a bigger health crisis. Stress needs our urgent attention as well and in consistent practice of meditation we have the most effective vaccination to ward off stress and is the visa for living your life in joy," he added.
The study was conducted by Dr Kunal Desai, Dr Priti Parikh and Dr Alpa Desai of the Department of Internal Medicine, Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright University, Ohio, and Prof Dr Pratibha Gupta, Food Nutrition and Health Agricultural Research Development Programme, Central State University, Ohio.
Stress and lack of quality sleep are considered serious public health challenges despite modern lifestyles, comforts, and technological advances. The Covid-19 pandemic has genuinely brought attention to this pre-existing stress problem by making it significantly worse.
The study aimed to investigate whether using a virtual heart-based meditation program is associated with improved stress levels and quality of sleep. The researchers enrolled 63 participants to receive an eight-week virtually conducted Heartfulness meditation program. Of these, 36 (57 per cent) completed the entire eight weeks of the Heartfulness meditation programme.
The participants were recommended to attend a minimum of two out of a total of eight virtual trainer-guided group Heartfulness relaxation and meditation sessions each week. These sessions, conducted by one of the authors and a Heartfulness trainer (KD), included 5-7 min of relaxation followed by 20 min of meditation.
They were also provided instructions on using the phone application called 'HeartsApp' on their phones. They could connect as an anonymous seeker with a Heartfulness trainer through the application and meditate without any audiovisual interaction. They were also suggested self-practices to the best of their abilities.
"Our study showed that following Heartfulness meditation practice, PSS and PSQI improved significantly in the participants from different parts of the United States. About 31 per cent were healthcare professionals, and the entire programme was conducted virtually. Based on these observations, we propose that meditation programmes offered via virtual platforms can offer a convenient, helpful, and easily accessible tool to a large community at once to help improve the psychological wellbeing of individuals," said Dr Kunal Desai, who led the study.
"The results of qualitative analysis in our study bring a unique perspective to this aspect as we were able to show that the participants' subjective experiences strongly supported the results of the survey findings. Thus, these results enhance our understanding of how Heartfulness meditation practice helps reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep. Our qualitative analysis suggests these effects could be because a simple heart-based meditation brought a 'calming effect' in our participants, resulting in an 'inner peace'. Such an effect also resulted in inner changes in our participants, including positive thinking, accepting and empathic attitude, and an increase in awareness of one's own emotions and the needs of others."
This study adds to the existing literature supporting the benefits of Heartfulness practice, as reported by some previous studies showing the benefit of Heartfulness relaxation and meditation to reduce stress, burnout, loneliness, and improve the quality of sleep.
Read More► Six Ways to Keep Exercising in Winter