Stress levels throughout the world are at an all-time high with the pandemic and the looming climate crisis being some of the major factors behind this increased stress.
It is no shock that the ongoing global pandemic has been hard on people’s mental health. Although our bodies can handle stress in small doses, chronic stress can affect our overall well-being. In the long run the stress hormones- adrenaline and cortisol- can harm the body systems. These hormones can weaken the immune system and reduce the body’s response to foreign invaders.
In light of the increasing Covid cases, it’s pertinent that we combat the adverse effects of stress on the body to have better immunity against the virus. Yoga is an underrated but age-old practice to manage stress. Practising yoga asanas relieves the physical symptoms of stress and tension in the body. In addition to physical postures, breathing, meditation, and relaxation techniques help reset and calm down the nervous system. Listed below are 5 yoga asanas that can help you manage stress and create positive growth.
Anulom Vilom Pranayama
This is not just a breathing exercise, but a noteworthy yogic technique that helps strengthen the mind and achieve complete relaxation. It is among the most practised yogic exercise given its easy nature. The practise of Anulom Vilom benefits your nervous system and maintains the optimal functioning of the two hemispheres of the brain. It also aids in reducing blood pressure thus benefitting heart health.
To practice Anulom Vilom, sit in any meditative posture and keep your spine upright. Now using your right thumb, block the right nostril and inhale through the left one for 2 seconds. Now block both nostrils and hold your breath for 4 seconds. After that, keep your left nostril blocked and exhale through the right one for 2 seconds. Now inhale again through the right nostril and hold for 4 seconds and then exhale through the left one. This completes one round. Repeat this for at least 10 rounds for the maximum benefits.
This is also referred to as the cat-cow pose. This asana soothes and stretched the lower back and massages the spine which relieves physical tension and stress from the body. It also relieves the nervous system thus calming the mind.
To perform Chakravakasana, first Move into the Cow Pose- As you inhale, drop your stomach towards the mat. Lift your head, relax your shoulders away from your ears, and look straight ahead. While exhaling, come into Cat Pose. Draw your stomach to your spine and round your back towards the ceiling. Release your head towards the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest. If you have a neck injury, keep your head in line with your torso throughout asana.
This simple yet effective pose helps in relaxing the mind and body while strengthening back muscles. Sukhasana also restores mental balance to help you calm down and reduce mental exhaustion. It also enables the blood flow towards the stomach and felicitates better digestion and assimilation of the nutrients.
To do this asana, sit down with your spine straight and legs extended in front of you, now bend your left leg a little and place your left foot under the right thigh. Then, bend the right leg a little and place the right foot under the left thigh. Make sure that the outer edge of your foot is resting on the floor. Now place your palms on your thighs or knees and relax your shoulders. Close your eyes and take deep slow breaths to relax your whole body. Practice this for a minute and then interchange your legs and repeat the process.
Also known as the child’s pose, this asana is extremely beneficial for your lymphatic and nervous systems. It increases blood circulation in the upper body and oxygenates the organs. This will not only calm your mind but also release tension points in the joints and muscles.
To do this pose, sit on your heels on the yoga mat, keep your knees apart and bend down till your chest touches your thighs. You can keep your hands relaxed on the side or stretched out in front. Stay In this position for several minutes while breathing deeply into your lower back.
This pose imitates the posture of a corpse and is a position of rest. It is usually performed at the end of all yoga poses to gain absolute relaxation. In Savasana, all external sensory stimulation is eliminated to help the body completely relax. With a grounded body, mental energy can be channelled inward and the mind can practice body awareness.
To practice this meditative pose, lie flat on your back and close your eyes. Keep your legs comfortable and your toes facing to the side. Keep your arms on your side with palms facing upward. Taking attention to one body part at a time, slowly relax your entire body. Keep breathing slowly and gently while focusing inward, essentially letting go of all control. Practice this for about 15-20 mins.
The authored article is written by Ms. Kamana Pereira, Head of Wellness Program, Namami Health Retreat & Wellness Sanctuary and shared with Prittle Prattle News exclusively.