Yoga is a significant part of ancient Indian culture and has become one of the most practised forms of exercise and meditation across the globe. The practice adopts a multi-dimensional approach by focusing on mental, physical as well as emotional health. While most people associate Yoga with stress relief and relaxation, it also helps to stimulate flexibility and improves fitness inside-out. In the current times, it is undoubtedly the best form of physical activity that you can do within the walls of your home. A good 30-45 minutes session of Yoga will induce calm and composure instantly.
Pranayama & Meditation
Breathing exercises help in uplifting your mood and ease stress. Sarvesh Shashi, the founder of SARVA Yoga, suggests, “Pranayamas like kumbhak, brahmari and anulom vilom instantly calm the nervous system and balance the energies within us, giving a calming effect to the mind and body. Meditation is one of the most powerful tools to deal with stress.”
For Kumbhak, start by sitting in sukhasana (crossed-legged) and take a long deep breath slowly. Now hold it for about 10 seconds (or as per your capacity) before you release and exhale. To practise Brahmari, begin with placing your index finger into your ears and breathe in. While doing so, press the ears gently and make a humming sound like a bee. Breathe out and repeat. You can also place your thumb into the ears and close your eyes with the other four fingers. Anulom Vilom involves controlled breathing from alternate nostrils. As you inhale from one nostril, make sure to close the other with your thumb. Now reverse and repeat.
Setubandasana (Bridge Pose)
This pose offers a full-body stretch. All you need is a wooden Yoga bridge (you can do this by means of balance once you’re well-versed with the posture). “This asana gives a good stretch to the chest, neck and spine. It calms the brain, reducing anxiety, stress and depression,” says Dr Manoj Kutteri, wellness director, Atmantan Wellness Centre. Start by lying on your back, and fold your knees inwards in a way that your knees and feet form a straight line. Place your arms near your body with your palms facing the floor. Now slowly lift your lower and middle back with the support of your abdomen. Make sure your chin touches your chest. Exhale and land back slowly. Repeat.
Ananda Balasana (The Happy Baby Pose)
Anushka Nandani, co-founder, The Tribe India, alleviates fatigue with a few reps of this asana. “Lie on your back, draw both knees into your chest. Bring the arms through the insides of the knees and hold on to the outside edge of each foot. This helps relieve any tension in the lower back and frees the pelvis and hip region,” she explains.
Cat Camel Pose
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Many yoga lovers swear by this simple yet excellent exercise. Uncomplicated and effective, this pose promotes deep breathing. “Start by being on all fours, slowly push your hips back toward your heels and walk your hands out in front of you as you lower your chest and forehead to the floor,” says Nandani. She adds, “This helps with gentle mobilisation of the spine and relaxes the entire body.”
Vrikshasana (The Tree Pose)
Master the balancing act with this pose that gives you a sense of equilibrium and peace. “This pose improves concentration, balances the body and mind, thus providing a calming effect on the overall systems,” explains Dr Kutteri. Shashi adds, “Balancing postures requires you to focus by drowning out all the unnecessary noise in your mind, and so it helps you calm the mind and find your focus.” To perform vrikshasana, place your right foot against the inner side of the left thigh. Join your palms together, and slowly stretch your hands towards the ceiling. Now, bring your hands down and gently put back the right foot down. Repeat with alternate sides.