Mental illnesses in various forms have been a major health burden globally in recent years. Unhealthy lifestyles, poor eating habits and rise in work-related stress are factors that are contributing to the rising incidence of anxiety and depression. Psychotic drugs in treating anxiety and depression are effective but offer only symptomatic relief. Long-term intake of drugs often leads to dependence without preventing further illness or providing a comprehensive solution to improving mental health.
People suffering from poor mental health can reap rich and long-term benefits by adopting the ancient Indian practice of Yoga in their daily lives. Yoga helps in maintaining good mental and physical health. It harmonises our body and mind and restores our emotional balance. There is growing evidence that Yoga can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety and those who have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When adopted as a daily practice, yoga can help calm down the mind and prevent the development of mental illnesses.
Stress is the root cause of several lifestyle diseases. Yoga adopts a scientific approach of exercising and relaxing to ease the stress of modern day living. Yoga also contributes to improving memory, sleep and even quality of life in elderly persons with mild memory impairment.
Here are some poses that help improve mental health besides providing other health benefits:
Shashankasana or Child's Pose
This asana stimulates your nervous system thereby re-energizing your whole body. This asana is basically a resting pose somehow resembling a child in fetal position. It is performed by sitting down on the knees and then bending forward so that the chest touches the thighs, and the forehead touches the ground. Stretch the arms forward. If performed with precision regularly, the performer will notice a sense of mental, physical, and emotional comfort descending upon him/her. Like most yoga asanas, this one, too, should be performed on an empty stomach or at least six hours after a meal. However, people suffering from high blood pressure and back pain should avoid this asana.
This inverted pose is one of the best yoga asanas for improving blood circulation towards the head. It helps to calm anxiety, treat depression and insomnia besides regulating blood flow. This pose can be performed by lying down flat on your back. Keep the legs together. While inhaling raise the legs, buttocks and the trunk and support the hips on the palm. The trunk is held at 45 degrees angle to the ground. Breathe normally in this position. To return, lower the legs over the head and keep the hands down while exhaling. Bring the spine and the legs down.
This yoga pose is thought to be therapeutic for people suffering from high blood pressure, asthma, sinusitis, infertility and osteoporosis. It also helps to relieve mild depression and beat insomnia as it is highly beneficial as a relaxation tool. To perform this pose, stand straight. Raise your hands from the front to above your head as you inhale slowly. Bend backwards from the upper back and maintain the position with normal breathing.
This pose is typically performed at the end of yoga routines and helps boost mental health and relaxes the body. Lie flat on your back, keeping the body straight and hands at the sides with palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and hold the position for at least five minutes. Even pregnant women can practice this asana as it will help them prevent prenatal depression, a prevalent mental disorder in women during pregnancy.
It should be noted that the above-mentioned yogic practices are to be learned in a gradual manner under the supervision of a yoga expert. Yoga enables a practitioner to expand their mental faculties and achieve a greater acceptance of self and others, which ultimately leads to calmer approach to the life.
Yoga encourages practitioners to experience an open heart. Many yogic philosophers consider the entire practice to be about metaphorically connecting to our hearts. Within the chakra system, the heart lies in the middle of the seven chakras. Asanas such as arda chakrasana (back bend), kapotasana (pigeon pose), and ustrasana (camel pose) encourage the expansion of the centre of the chest which is the location of the anahata chakra, the yogic heart centre. Visualizations and pranyams in yoga also encourage open heartedness.
Read More► Escape Wedding Blues With These Yoga Postures & Breathing Techniques
Without a doubt, the wedding is one of the most important days of a person's life. To ensure everything is memorable comes with its own set of pressures and anxiety This can take a toll on your mind and body, leaving you stressed. A great way to combat wedding anxiety is with yoga.
The ancient practice offers scientifically proven solutions to everyday problems both physical and mental. Yoga lowers the stress hormones and also strengthens the nervous system while stimulating the lymphatic system which is responsible for removing toxins from the body.
Yoga also calms the mind and can contribute to deeper regulated sleep which is crucial for wellness. We all are aware how good sleep can help heal and maintain a healthy body. With so much to tend to at a wedding, sound sleep helps you stay fresh the whole day.
Here we sharing yoga poses to help unwind and find your peace:
Sukhasana refers to a cross-legged, seated position, and one of the most basic poses used in yoga practice and meditation. It is also a calming pose and it is one commonly used for meditation and practicing breathing exercises.
Sit on your padding in a comfortable, cross-legged position.
Slide the shoulder blades down your back so your shoulders move away from your ears. The crown of your head should rise towards the ceiling.
Your hands can rest in your lap or on the tops of your thighs.
On your inhalations, feel your spine grow long. On your exhalations, root down through your seat.
Standing Forward Bend stretches and lengthens the hamstrings and calves. It is regarded as a relaxing and stress-relieving pose. Traditionally, it is said to help relieve insomnia.
From Raised Hands Pose, sweep your arms down on either side of your body to come into a forward fold from your hips.
Bring your fingertips in line with the toes. Press your palms flat to the mat if you can. You can use blocks under your hands here if they don't reach the floor.
Bend the knees a little bit so that they are not locked.
Bring your weight a little bit forward into the balls of your feet so that your hips stay over your ankles.
Let your head hang.
Inhale and place your hands onto your hips, press your tailbone down and contract your abdominal muscles as you rise up slowly.
Cobra Pose increases the mobility of the spine, strengthens spinal support muscles, and can help relieve back pain. It opens the chest and the front of the body.
Place your palms flat on the ground directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows straight back and hug them into your sides.
Pause for a moment looking straight down at your mat with your neck in a neutral position.
Inhale and lift your chest off the floor. Roll your shoulders back and keep your low ribs on the floor. Make sure your elbows continue hugging your sides.
Keep your neck neutral. Your gaze should stay on the floor.
Also, Read This► The Don'ts of Yoga Practice
As you perform SetuBandhasana, also known as Bridge Pose, you will become more alert in both body and mind. This rejuvenating backbend will open your chest up and keep your spine flexible.
Lie on the floor, bend your knees, and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.
Exhale and, pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, lift the buttocks off the floor.
Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Clasp the hands below your pelvis and extend through the arms to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders.
Lift your chin slightly away from the sternum and, firming the shoulder blades against your back, press the top of the sternum toward the chin.
Firm the outer arms, broaden the shoulder blades, and try to lift the space between them at the base of the neck up into the torso.
Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhalation, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor
Corpse pose is essential to practice at the end of every yoga practice. This posture rejuvenates the body, mind and spirit while reducing stress and tension.
Spread the legs one to two feet apart, the toes are turned outwards, the heels facing each other, a comfortable distance apart.
Bring the arms a little away from the body, palms turned upward.
Relax the neck and allow it to turn to the side if it is more comfortable.
Close the eyes and focus the attention on the body, breathing normally.
Begin focusing on each body part and relaxing it, then moving on. Keep the mind focused on relaxation, the breath should be normal. Relax the whole body.
Breathing properly contributes to the stress response which worsens with anxiety. Do not take breathing for granted, take out the time at the beginning and the end of any yoga session or just once in a day breathe deeply for at least 2-3 minutes and you can see the difference without moving a muscle.
The short time effects of yoga can be felt through breathing techniques by learning to deeply breathe you not only allow your muscles to relax but you also feel equipped with other relaxation techniques like meditation.
Read More► Can Yoga Help With Fertility Issues?
A regular and consistent yoga practice can do wonders for your health and over well-being. The pandemic has accelerated the need for physical activity, and no wonder, yoga has emerged as the preferred choice.
Sarvesh Shashi, Founder, SARVA lists the top mistakes beginner yogis often tend to make:
1. Don't over-exert yourself. If on a scale of 1 to 10 -1 being easiest and 10 being the toughest every asana need not be a 10. Some days an 8 feels like a 10 and on others, a 15 feels like an 8!
2. Don't hold your breath unnaturally unless the trainer specifically mentions this during practice. Breathe normally.
3. Avoid practicing yoga when you are exhausted, during illness, Yoga should make you feel the rush of happy hormones in the end, not entirely exhausted!
4. Do not practice alone. This one is more of a guideline. If you're a beginner, it's best to practice under someone's guidance. It is not advised to simply read and practice, it may lead to a muscle pull or discomfort. While practicing advanced postures for the first time, it's best to have someone assist you while doing these.
5. Avoid wearing tight clothes and do not wear shoes. Especially tight upper body clothing will restrict the movement of the rib cage and lung that would result in incomplete breathing.
6. Don't shower immediately, after a good sweaty workout, let the body dry normally and then shower for a normal cool-down of the body.
7. Do not perform inversion or 'feet up' asanas, during the menstruation cycle. Preferably perform relaxation and breathing techniques.
8. Do not perform any high-intensity workout post-yoga. Perform it before yoga practice for a better effect.
9. Avoid drinking too much water during the practice. You can have water at a moderate level just to overcome your thirst during practice.
Read More► Can Yoga Help With Fertility Issues?
Motherhood is one of the most blessed experiences in life. But not everyone gets to experience it. Stressful life, hectic working schedules, and bad eating habits have affected the health of many. As a result, many people are experiencing fertility issues.
According to research, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important if you're trying to conceive. Fitting into a healthy lifestyle is of vital importance since it helps restore stamina and boosts energy levels. In the process of trying to get pregnant, exercise can be helpful. When you're overweight, a sensible exercise program in combination with prescription diets can help you conceive. A yoga pose or asana prepares your body and mind for childbirth by developing a hospitable and calm body. The practice of yoga encourages positivity when you're dealing with infertility issues.
How Yoga Boosts Fertility?
There are several health benefits to yoga asanas. However, yoga can aid in issues relating to fertility in the following ways-
Yogic practices stimulate the uterus and the ovaries
Exercises the back muscles and strengthens them
It detoxifies the body by flushing out toxins
Provides flexibility to the groin and hips
Makes the neck muscles stronger and the spine more flexible
Reproductive organs are supplied with more blood
Improves mood and reduces depression, tension, and mood swings
Facilitates smooth delivery.
Try These Yoga Poses To Boost Fertility:
Yoga pose of seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana)- Contains stretches for the lower back, hips, and hamstrings. Enhances uterine and ovarian functions and relaxes the body.
"Viparita Karani" (legs up the wall)- Relieves backache and provides improved blood circulation in the pelvis. To do this pose, install support on the floor next to the wall. Place your left side along the wall. You should place the support under your hips and low back. Lean on your elbows and your shoulders. Your palms should face upwards as your arms are placed to the sides. Spend at least 5 minutes in this pose. Slowly exhale while you descend. Take a deep breath and relax in Shavasana.
Read More► 3 Things You Can Do Daily to Lose Body Fat
We know that exercising is the best way to keep the body and mind fit and healthy. But exercise does more than that! It also acts as an immunity booster. The good news is that you do not have to do heavy exercises for long hours to strengthen your immune system.
Here are five simple exercises recommended by InterMiles that can get the job done. Check out these impactful immunity-boosting exercises to do at home:
If you find it difficult to fit an hour-long workout in your schedule, but want to keep active, add this simple exercise to your daily routine. Walking has several health benefits the heart stays fit, muscle endurance is improved, bones get stronger, body fat is reduced, high cholesterol can be managed and the body's defense mechanism gets better. People of any age can participate in this without any difficulty. Opt for power walking to reduce fat, a casual stroll for a more relaxed feel or marathon walking for high-impact results. With so many health benefits, walking undoubtedly ranks high on the immunity boosting workout checklist.
Jumping jacks are an amazing workout to boost immune system. It is one of the easiest workouts to do from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is add a bit of variation to this immunity power exercise to boost up your fitness regime. Doing so will not only promote stability but also strengthen your immune system. Here are some variations for you to include in your fitness plan: step jack, basic jumping jack, press jack, squat jack, plyo jack, crossover jack, skier jack and seal jack. Adding 20 minutes of this session to your routine will be enough.
Squats are one of the most popular exercises among fitness enthusiasts. When done regularly, this exercise can tone your legs and strengthen your glutes and muscles. There is no better exercise to work your lower body than squats. In addition, this activity also boosts blood circulation in the body. All you have to do is get the posture correct. Once you excel in the form, you will never skip a leg again. Switch it up with some variations to have a lasting impact. Overhead squat, landmine squat, front squat, split squat and jump squat are some of the more popular ones that you can try. Add some weights to your squats and you will burn calories quicker than ever.
Any list of exercises for the immune system is incomplete without Pilates. They are great for building flexibility, strength and immunity. Pilates promotes muscle development, flexibility, core strength, energy, weight loss and increases joint motions. That is not all! It also improves body posture. A pilates workout can generally take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour to perform. But you can also perform the shorter ones when you are short on time. Although optional, you can get hold of a yoga mat for better comfort.
Not many workouts engage so many muscles at the same time as a plank does! It is also the best exercise to tone your abs. Beginners or experts, this simple exercise is for all of us to strengthen our arms, shoulders and backs. This activity can be completed within a minute or two. Just balance your body and hold it in position for a minute. If you are someone who can do it longer, go for it! Or you can take breaks and start afresh. Although a bit challenging, with practice you can do it in one go. Include its variations for a fun routine. Side star plank, reverse plank, extended plank and low plank arm reach can be the best ones to begin with.
Now that you have a list, try taking out some time for these exercises from your daily schedule and do them at home. For an even more comfortable and fun time, you can shop online and invest in some workout equipment.
Read More► Meditation For a Healthier You
If there is anything that the past one year has taught us, it is that the health of one's body and the mind are of paramount importance, and need more attention than we usually give. Getting some type of exercise for both has become vital, and one of the easiest ways to do both at once is to practice Yoga.
The quality of life in yoga is measured through the transformation of a well-maintained body with absence of illness and pain, tranquillity of mind, cultivation of energy and ultimately reaching higher levels of autonomy in your practice. Yoga has a very precise, direct and practical approach towards every instance of life and towards yoga practice. But Yoga is not just what you do on the mat, its guiding principles permeate within the very essence of being.
If you're really keen on starting, here are some easy, do-able tips that can get you started on a journey you will not regret taking. Suggestions by Sarvesh Shashi, Founder, SARVA:
1. Set a specific time, separate space and focus on the yoga practice preferable at a time when your body has good energy after a restful period. It may be in the morning or evening, this time differs according to everyone's schedule.
2. Practice on an empty stomach. Set the time for practice after 2 hours of any meal consumption. Small amounts of liquid can be consumed in these 2 hours.
3. Always practice yoga on a mat or blanket to avoid contact with the floor while practicing yoga for your own comfort. It aids in ease of practise, it is easier on the joints and avoids energy transference on an otherwise cool floor.
4. Distractions are unavoidable, but setting up the practise in such a way that it's easier to focus on yoga for the whole duration is definitely possible. For example, maybe you can't put your phone on silent, but you can leave it in the adjoining room. Or maybe complete privacy may not be possible, but you can definitely invest in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones which will transport you into a space of focus while taking an online class.
5. Start the session with a good warm up to create good blood circulation all over the body before practicing asana for better results. Sun salutations are an excellent warm up before asana practice.
6. Pay attention to your breathing pattern for specific asana for an effective practice. Inhalation and exhalation patterns matter in each and every aspect of your practice. The wrong breathing patterns will cause cramps or pain or simply the inability to reach your true potential in the asana.
7. Be mindful of your injuries. If you've had a serious injury, severe pain or are recovering from a surgery, you may want to consult a doctor and of course inform your trainer of these injuries as well.
8. Practice yoga under the guidance of a Yoga Teacher. Whether you are practising in person or online with a group of friends, finding the right teacher is the best motivation you can get to continue your journey.
9. End the session with a proper cool down, relaxation and meditation for a refreshed finishing. Yoga is a psychophysiological art for the training of the mind which is just as essential as the body.
10. Lastly, be present every moment of the class. Thinking of cooking tonight's dinner or about the presentation that is due next morning will mar the experience of your Yoga workout. It's not easy, but that is why it is worth it.
Read More► Five fitness mantras for a healthier self