Yoga can help you manage stress, and the best part is it does not take a lot of time. You don't have to spend hours on the mat or invest years in learning complicated postures. Instead, by simply taking out a few minutes every day, you can reduce your stress levels and improve your quality of life. A key component of yoga is that it empowers you to manifest these changes in your breath.
By changing the speed, pace, and quality of your breath, you can calm down your nervous system, thereby moving your body from a state of stress to one of relaxation. Namita Piparaiya, Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist, Founder -- Yoganama, shares three simple techniques that can help you:
1. Start with the Palming Technique
Palming is very useful for eye fatigue and stress from looking at a screen for long hours. Rub your palms together to find some heat, and then gently cup your eyes, creating a hollow dark space around them. Relax your forehead, eyes, and neck as you hold this for a few breaths.
You can follow this up with a gentle head massage, particularly focusing on the eyebrows, temples, and forehead. Then bring your hands in front of you as you open your eyes with a few gentle blinks looking directly at your palms. If you're doing this outdoors, you can also look far into the distance. Taking a few moments to look outside, preferably at some greenery or standing by the window and looking outside in natural light, is also very helpful.
2. Do Some Deep Breathing
When you are emotional, stressed, or physically tired, your breath becomes shallow and loses its rhythm. The good thing is that this is a two-way street. By consciously relaxing your breath and bringing it to an even pace or rhythm, you can reduce your stress levels. This is important because we spend a lot of our modern-day life in a stressed and hyper state, making it even more necessary to make time for activities that counter stress. Deep belly breathing or Diaphragmatic is just the technique you need as you can do it anytime you're on an empty stomach. Just remember not to become overly conscious of the breath and start forcing it to breathe deeply. By paying attention to the breath, you will naturally slow it down. Immerse yourself in the beautiful experience for 3 minutes, three times a day.
3. Practice Stillness
After some deep breathing, the mind naturally comes into a calmer state, and that's a great time to practice meditation. You can do this by choosing an object of meditation; it could be a deity, a symbol, an affirmation, a mantra, a chant, or even your breath. And try to spend at least 3 minutes observing the nature of your object, introspecting on its meaning, or simply trying to maintain your attention on it. For example, if you've chosen the breath as your object of meditation, try to take five slow breaths without getting distracted. If you do get distracted, which is very normal, start again at one and repeat till you've taken those five breaths with your attention intact.
In this way, you can integrate yoga into your everyday life. These techniques are simple, don't require any equipment, and can be done anywhere. But they are immensely powerful, and you will start to see the difference within a couple of weeks of practice.
Read More► Yoga For Pregnant Women
New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) Traumatic brain injuries and spinal injuries are major causes of death and disability in India and across the world. However, despite an increasing burden, injury prevention remains a highly neglected and underestimated intervention.The Association of Spine Surgeons of India (ASSI) is undertaking a major country-wide initiative to address this neglected burden by educating, training and empowering people in preventing injuries.The apex body of spinal surgeons has announced the launch of a country-wide injury prevention awareness programme that will work towards raising awareness about injury prevention and a spine-healthy lifestyle to reduce injury-related disabilities and trauma.The ASSI has partnered with 1,000 institutions, including schools, colleges and industry bodies, based in 20 metropolises namely New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Pune, among others, to further the cause.The awareness activities will include creation and distribution of pamphlets on injury prevention strategies and their inclusion in school magazines and newspapers; conducting poster competitions, lectures and workshops, facilitating streetplays and conducting extensive social media campaigns, the association informed.H.S. Chhabra, President, ASSI, said that despite the fact that head and spine injuries are a major cause of death and disability in India, the injuries have still remained one of the most neglected health crises here."Prevention of brain and spinal injuries is hardly given any priority. Community-based prevention programmes can be a highly cost-effective way to reduce the burden of injuries. To address the lack of primary prevention efforts, ASSI is undertaking a major nationwide campaign that will help create more awareness about improving safety, behavioral changes and adopting spine-healthy lifestyles," he added.Under the programme, the ASSI is tying up with multiple societies across the country to create an army of trainers who in turn will undertake training and awareness sessions on injury prevention across multiple organisations, schools, colleges and universities.The ASSI has estimated that one million people die and 20 million are hospitalised every year due to injuries in India. The financial cost of injuries is estimated to be between 0.29 per cent and 0.69 per cent of the GDP. However, a large number of incidents resulting in musculoskeletal injury, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury are preventable.--IANSstr/arm
Noting that the prevalence of spine problems has increased manifold during the COVID-19 lockdown, a senior Delhi-based doctor says that looking at the increasing number of spine-related cases, it would not be an overstatement to say that there is a silent epidemic building up.
The associated factor is the forced sedentary lifestyle, and prolonged sitting, lack of exercise and poor activity. Poor understanding of spine ergonomics leads to improper posturing and is also contributory, explains Dr. Samir K Kalra, Consultant, Department of Neurosurgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
"Spine related consultations have increased and the reason is the primarily sedentary lifestyle that has been forced upon us by the disease. There has been a significant change in daily routine activities in almost everyone's lifestyle in this lockdown period. Backache is considered amongst the most common occupational disorders leading to work-related absenteeism. Neck pain is equally distressing and appalling. They cause a huge economic burden and could become a major constraint in our already weakened economy" Dr. Kalra told IANSlife.
Asked which demographic is most at risk, the doctor points to the elderly among the subsets of people who have been affected more in this period.
"The fact that they already have compromised and weak spinal musculatures along with forced inactivity leading to increased spinal load. The main support for the spine comes from the muscles and it is important to keep them supple and strong. It is difficult for the elderly to do so."
Another subset is professionals working from home, the doctor explains. "Working from home and on laptops for long periods has resulted in a lot of back and neck related issues. This includes not only professionals but also teachers and students who suddenly have been forced to sit for hours and work on screens.
The women of the house are another subset affected due to the additional housework due to lack of domestic help. This coupled with additional stress and anxiety due to the COVID pandemic which is common to all affected people causes a compounding effect."
5 Preventive Tips for Spine Problems
One has to understand that spine mechanics are different for each individual. While there are certain common preventive ways, each person has to understand and make their own adjustments.
This would include individualized height adjustments for everyone during sitting and ambulation based on height, weight, spine length, limb length, and neck angulations. This is easily done and can be preventive of a major morbid situation.
Periodic breaks and stretches also are required to reduce spinal strain.
Attention to posture while sleeping is also important essentially including the correct pillows and mattresses. The spine is a complex system with a limited shelf life, and only by good care, we can keep it healthy and functioning.
It is not the amount of work or the load it bears which causes wear and tear but more so the work is done in the wrong positions which lead to damage.
As vital as the spine is for the body, problems occuring due to the sedentary lifestyle in lockdown have amplified manifold in the ongoing pandemic, says a spine expert.
According to Dr Samir Salvie - Consultant Orthopedic and Spine Surgeon, P. D. Hinduja Hospital and MRC, a complete change in routine activity in the early days lead to many chronic sufferers worsening their pain, as they were used to a certain activity level.
"Work from home has caused another pandemic, that of back and neck pain. Poor ergonomics and sitting on laptops all day has resulted in back issues for many professionals. Those who were used to such work had to sit in bad postures, and teachers and students had to get used to a totally new normal of sitting for hours staring at a screen. Additional house work due to lack of maids and helpers was another factor. Stress, fear and anxiety also led to increased focus on back pain, and worsening clinical conditions," he told IANSlife.
Why the spine is important?
The spine is one of the vital structures in the body. It is a complex, yet wonderful mechanism, which allows us to stand, sit, lie down, bend and indeed take up many postures. It bears the weight of the body day in and day out. And yet, it has the even more crucial function of protecting the spinal cord and the nerves which go to all parts of the body.
Humans have developed the ability to stand erect and be on two feet as opposed to animals, and this simple act of evolution has led to extreme strain on this wonderful organ. What lends great support to the spine is the musculature of the back and abdomen, and this supports and moves the spine, sharing the loads and demands in varying degrees.
Why Spines are strained?
Further development in social and economic structure has lead to newer stresses on the spine. Nature did not mean for humans to sit in one place for hours on end, or indeed, stand. Nor did it really account for heavy labour of the industrial age, with construction and factory work. Least of all it did not factor in dietary fads and lack of activity leading to obesity and poor muscle strength, says Dr Salvie.
And hence back pain and back problems have become universal. Backache is one of the most common occupational disorders and comes second as a cause to taking a day off from work, causing a huge economic burden in addition to human suffering.
Preventing back pain
As in any disease, prevention is better than cure. If one has taken care of their back, any additional stress is less likely to cause a worsening. The spine is like a complex machine, and hence has to be cared for as you would if you possessed a very expensive object. As has been mentioned, the main support for the spine comes from the muscles of the back and abdomen. It is essential to keep these supple and strong. And this is accomplished with a proper exercise program. Even half an hour of stretching and strengthening exercise per day for back and neck will do wonders. These exercises are easily available on the internet, or in fact our ancient tradition of Yoga incorporates many of these useful postures.
Care of posture and good work habits is equally important. Sedentary workers must make sure that their sitting position and computers are properly placed. They need periodic breaks and stretches. Heavy laborers should use ergonomic methods of lifting and assist tools. Attention to pillows and mattresses is equally important. Bone health and nutrition should be looked after. Adequate calcium, Vitamins D and B12, proteins, all support strong bones, leading to reduced musculoskeletal problems. Finally, obesity is a major trigger for back pain, and controlling one's weight would have a great positive impact.
Back pain remedies
Once you have back pain, it may be better to seek help from a local doctor. Depending on severity and duration, you may be prescribed medications, local ointments, fomentation and rest. The good news is that almost all back pains do tend to get better. A rehabilitative exercise programme and attention to correction of poor work habits will add to the recovery and prevent recurrence.
The word 'Spine Surgery' sparks great fear. However less than 1 percent of people with back pain require surgery. And if the time does come where surgery is the best option, newer techniques like keyhole and micro-surgery, and hi-tech equipment and infrastructure has made the these surgeries extremely safe, allowing patients to lead active and fruitful lives, the expert explains. (Siddhi Jain)
New York, Sep 11 - Researchers have found that women with a history of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may face a higher risk of spine or vertebral fractures.
OSA is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Risk factors include age and obesity. It's more common in men. Symptoms include snoring loudly and feeling tired even after a full night's sleep.
Emerging evidence suggests that OSA may negatively affect bone health. No prospective study to date has investigated the association between OSA and fracture risk in women.
"We conducted a prospective study examining the relation between OSA and the risk of incident vertebral fracture (VF) and hip fracture (HF) in the Nurses' Health Study," said study authors from Brigham and Women's Hospital in the US.
For the findings, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the investigators examined data pertaining to 55,264 women without a prior history of bone fractures.
According to the researchers, OSA was self-reported in 1.3 per cent of participants in 2002 and increased to 3.3 per cent by 2012.
The study revealed that between 2002 and 2014, 461 vertebral fractures and 921 hip fractures occurred.
Women with a history of OSA had a 2-fold higher risk of vertebral fracture relative to those with no OSA history, with the strongest association observed for OSA associated with daytime sleepiness.
However, the study also revealed that no association was observed between OSA history and risk of hip fracture.
"Our study provides important evidence at the population level that obstructive sleep apnea may have an adverse impact on bone health that is particularly relevant to the development of vertebral fracture," said study lead author Tianyi Huang of Brigham and Women's Hospital.
"Given that we used self-reported clinical diagnoses of sleep apnea and fracture in our study, future studies could use more deeply characterized data to further the understanding of the mechanisms linking sleep apnea to bone health and fracture risk," Huang noted.
रीढ़ की हड्डी में दर्द का होना अब आम समस्या बन गया है. गलत तरीके से उठने - बैठने और भाव - भंगिमा की वजह से रीढ़ की हड्डी में साधारण दर्द शुरू होता है और ध्यान न देने पर बाद में यही भयंकर रूप धारण कर लेता है जबकि सच्चाई ये है कि शुरूआती दौर में ध्यान देकर इससे निजात पाया जा सकता है. इसी मुद्दे पर डॉ. प्रिय रंजन तिवारी से निरोगस्ट्रीट ने बातचीत की और आयुर्वेद के नजरिये से रीढ़ की हड्डी में दर्द या किसी तरह की खराबी के बारे में जानना चाहा. उनकी पूरी बातचीत और लाइव डेमो को नीचे दिए गए वीडियों में देख-सुन सकते हैं.