Yoga – A holistic approach to Stress Management

Yoga – A holistic approach to Stress Management
June 20, 2018 Baidyanath
International Yoga Day (21 June) is round the corner so it is a good time to make Yoga a holistic approach towards the Stress Management.

Now lets us see how Stress affects our daily life in modern times.

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. In today’s era of globalization there is a lot of competition, innovation and change. Stress can actually be positive, as it helps us to stay alert, motivated and focused on the task at hand. People often cannot cope with the work pressures and they are unable to strike a balance between work life and personal life. They are exposed to stress and tension for long periods which may manifest in the form of many ailments like hypertension, high/low blood pressure, insomnia, depression, backaches, migraine, spondylitis, etc. This in turn results in overall decrease in their efficiency and productivity. Yoga is the answer for healing stress among working men and women. This all-in-one formula acts as a soothing agent and is fast growing on the popularity charts. The secret to never-ending reserves of energy and to complete wellness of the body, mind, and soul, lies in the ancient practice of Yoga. Is yoga good for health? Definitely yes!

ASANA
A lifetime of health just in 10 minutes.
When we are in a constant state of stress. Specific yoga poses can induce the relaxation response in the body. Calming and restorative poses along with controlled breathing activate the parasympathetic nervous system, bringing the mind and body to a calm and relaxed state.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose):

Although it might be very simple, you should never underestimate the power of a good standing posture. The Tadasana or Mountain Pose is a very basic pose for all the other asanas. It helps you improve your concentration levels by increasing your focus level.

People suffering from recent or chronic shoulder injury are advised not to try this pose.

  • Stand straight with your feet flat on the mat with the heels slightly spaced out and big toes touching each other. Keep your spine straight while hands straight on either side, with palms facing the thighs.
  • Slowly stretch your hands and bring your palms together.
  • Inhale deeply and stretch your spine while taking the folded hands up above your head. Stretch as much as possible.
  • Slowly lift your ankle and stand on your toes, with eyes facing the ceiling.
  • Hold the position for a minimum of 30 seconds, while breathing normally.
  • Slowly relax your body and bring your feet back to the floor.

Balasana (Child Pose):

  • This helps you to relax completely, like a child. In this pose, you curl up like a fetus.
  • Sit on your knees with your palms facing the floor on either side of the body.
  • As you inhale, bring your whole body forward in such a way that only the forehead touches the floor.
  • Stay in the position for a minimum of 30 seconds, while breathing normally. The longer you stay, the more relaxed you will feel.
  • Slowly lift your forehead and stretch your body back to Vajrasana (Diamond pose).

People suffering from knee injuries are advised not to try this pose.

 

Padmasana (Lotus Pose):

  • This pose is commonly used during meditation and helps to increase the self-awareness levels. The pose helps you to calm down and soothes your mind.
  • Sit cross legged. The left feet should be on right thigh and vice versa, while the soles face up.
  • Keep the spine erect.
  • Keep the hands in Gyan mudra.
  • Close your eyes and while inhaling and exhaling deeply, maintain the pose for a minimum of 30 seconds.

People suffering from knee injuries are advised not to try this pose.

 

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose):

  • This is one of the 12 phases of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). Along with energizing the body and offering relief from indigestion problems, the pose is known to relax your body. Thus, it is an ideal asana for obtaining relief from stress.
  • Stand straight with your feet flat on the mat. Keep your spine straight while hands straight on either side, with palms facing the thighs.
  • While breathing normally, bend forward, and place the palms in front of you on the mat. The head should face down.
  • Slowly stretch your legs backwards, one at a time, while maintaining the balance, in such a way that the feet and hands are in line with each other.
  • Make sure that the elbows are straight and fingers are spread out.
  • Inhale deeply and tuck in your stomach completely.
  • Hold the position, while breathing normally, with tummy tucked in for about 30 seconds to 60 seconds.
  • Exhaling slowly, come back to the standing pose.

Savasana (Corpse Pose):

  • Relax yourself completely with this pose. If you do not have time for any other yoga asanas, you can practice this. It brings your breathing to normal levels, and thus, helps to soothe down stress levels.
  • Lie down in supine position.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Slump your body in such a way that it looks lifeless.
  • Let go of everything and experience the serenity as your body weight shifts away from you completely.
  • Maintain the position until you feel light and relaxed.
  • This pose helps you do away with fatigue and fills your mind with an amazingly intense calmness.

Along with these asanas, Yoga offers a number of breathing techniques for stress relief Pranayama. It encourages slow and rhythmic breathing practices that help us take sufficient amount of oxygen that re-energizes our body. In the process, we tend to let go of our negative emotions, thus, making ourselves free from negative emotions. Pranayama creates a synergy between the self-energizing life force and individual mind-body-spirit by scientific regulation of prana. Perhaps the simplest form of pranayama is Anuloma-Viloma
or Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing).

 

Anulom Vilom Pranayama :

To practice the Anuloma viloma pranayama just follow these simple steps:

  • Sit in a position, close the eyes and settle down.
  • With the right thumb close the right nostril.
  • Inhale slowly through the left nostril until the maximum capacity.
  • Hold your breath (Not for beginners, hypertension and asthma people).
  • With the right hand’s middle and ring fingers close the left nostril.
  • Release the right thumb and exhale slowly.
  • Now inhale through right nostril.­­
  • Hold the breath.
  • Exhale through left nostril.

Benefits:
It induces calmness of mind by regulating the flow of prana in the body .The whole body is  nourished with
an extra supply of pure oxygen, and the carbon dioxide is more efficiently eliminated. This pranayama purifies the whole blood system and is helpful to increase the overall health of the body.

 

Sheetali Pranayama (cooling breath) :

To practice Sheetali Pranayama just follow these simple steps:

  • Sit in any comfortable meditation posture.
  • Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
  • Extend the tongue outside the mouth as far as possible without strain. Roll the sides of the tongue up so that it forms a tube. Practise a long, smooth and controlled inhalation through the rolled tongue.
  • At the end of inhalation, draw the tongue in, close the mouth and exhale through the nose.
  • Practise yogic breathing throughout.
  • The breath should produce a sucking sound.
  • A feeling of icy coldness will be experienced on the tongue and the roof of the mouth. This is one round.

Benefits:
It cools and reduces mental and emot­ional excitation, and encourages the free flow of prana throughout the body. It induces muscular relaxation, mental tranquillity and may be used as a tranquillizer before sleep. It gives control over hunger and thirst, and generates a feeling of satisfaction.

 

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