Yogini and wellness entrepreneur Radhika Iyer Talati tells you how yoga asanas can help you keep stress and anxiety under check.
The pandemic has made us realise that anxiety and stress is real and here to stay.
There are several ways in which panic disorder can impact our minds, bodies and general well-being.
Typically accompanied by negative thoughts and distressing physical symptoms, the repercussions of a panic attack are often difficult to manage.
With the increased obsession with social media in our daily lives with its constant impetus of information and news, our minds and bodies are more endangered that we can comprehend.
Over-stimulation in the form of consistent negativity causes anxiety.
Tuning in to the political debates, scrolling Instagram and Facebook feed, reading sensationalised content can expose you to a fair amount of unfavourable emotions.
Lights from our computers and smart phones are also triggers of anxiety.
While negative thinking patterns and frequent worries are becoming increasingly common, simple coping mechanisms can help us let go of worry and fear.
Typically yoga comprises three main aspects -- asana abhyas, pranayam and dhyan. Each of the aspects individually have been enough to help keep stress and anxiety at bay.
Taking a yoga class just three times a week helps beat fatigue, strengthens muscles, reduces aches and pains and lose excessive weight.
In fact, doing just 12 surya namaskars (sun salutations) with breath awareness every day is known to improve balance and increase flexibility of the body and mind.
Asanas also work to stretch, lengthen and tone muscles thus assisting in releasing stiffness throughout the body.
If you are going through stress and anxiety, practice the following yoga poses at least thrice a week:
Ushtarasana or the camel pose can help in releasing stress and improve blood circulation throughout the body.
An increased supply of oxygen to the throat and brain will heal body and the mind almost immediately.
Simply stand on your knees at the front of the mat keeping them hip-width apart.
Place your fingertips at the spine's base, gently look up and slowly lean back reaching for your heels if you can.
Lift the neck back up and slowly return to the starting position. Relax in child’s pose (explained further below).
Practicing this pose will reduces fat on thighs, open up the hips, stretch and strengthen the shoulders and back.
Maintaining the posture for 45 seconds will also loosens the vertebrae, improve breathing and relieve lower back pain.
Practicing pawanamuktasana or the wind reliving pose, strengthens abdominal muscles and reduces belly fat.
It is known to enhance blood circulation in the hip joints making you feel light and relaxed.
All you need to do is lie flat on your back on a mat ensuring that your feet are together and your arms are placed beside your body.
Taking a deep breath, lift your knees and hug yourself by holding your arms around the knees. Hold the asana while you breathe normally.
Exhale and release the pose after you rock and roll from side to side about three to five times.
Taking deep breaths while performing this pose can help in reducing stress and anxiety.
3. Setu Bandhasana
Like the camel pose, even the bridge pose (setu bandhasana) is known to improve blood circulation in the body.
Practicing this asana opens up the heart calming the mind and reducing stress.
Lie on your back and bend both knees placing the feet flat on the floor with your knees hip width apart.
Now, press them into the floor, inhale and lift the hips up, lifting the spine off the floor.
Press further down into your arms and shoulders and breathe for about 10 counts. Gently lower the spine and come back.
Relax in pawanmuktasana hugging yourself for a bit before practicing this posture again.
The bridge pose relieves cramps and exhaustion in the legs and feet.
It helps in easing tension in the mid back and neck. It is extremely therapeutic for high blood pressure, arthritis and insomnia.
Also known as child's pose, this yoga pose is guaranteed to relax the body and has a rejuvenating effect on the mind.
If you experience constant back and neck pain, practice this pose at least 3 times a day.
Learn to surrender to this pose because it will help calm the mind and relieve stress, anxiety, and mild depression instantly.
Spread your knees wide keeping the top of your feet on the floor with the big toes touching each other.
Now, bring the belly to rest between your thighs and root your forehead to the floor. Relax the shoulders and jaw and close the eyes.
If you are not able to place the forehead on the floor, rest it on a block or stack your fists on top of each other.
There is an energy point at the centre of the forehead in between the eyebrows that stimulates the vagus nerve and supports a 'rest and digest' response when you practice this pose.
Balasana is known to improve memory and concentration. It strengthens the core and stretches ankles, back, shoulders and arms.
Shavasana or the corpse pose is one of the most popular yoga poses for relieving stress, anxiety and reducing depression.
This posture can be practiced both at the beginning or at the end of a session.
One can also meditate while lying down in this pose as it relaxes and recharges your body immediately.
Apart from practicing asanas, you can also indulge in basic breathing exercises for 10 to 15 minutes every day.
Sit in a comfortable position maintaining the length of the spine.
Relax your jaw and widen your shoulders, now just breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose.
Hold your breath for five counts and breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth.
Keep your eyes closed during this practice while you keep your mind engaged on your breathing.
This is a very simple and effective way to keep a check on your stress levels. Regular practice of these postures will bring a positive change in the way you live.