Invest 30 minutes a day in these simple exercises for a healthy mind and body, says Shalini Bhargava.
Due to the fast-paced lives we live, one often ends up with serious disorders, especially stress and anxiety.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 264 million people suffer from depression globally, with many of these people also suffering from symptoms of anxiety.
Yoga is the answer to combating stress and anxiety in the perfect way.
It is a compelling stress reliever that transfers the focus to breathing and the body, which lets off tension and helps the muscles relax, thereby easing stress and anxiety.
Below mentioned are 10 asanas if practiced regularly will help fight stress and anxiety.
While performing these asanas, do focus on your breathing.
Stay in each pose for at least 30 seconds to a minute to maximise the benefits.
All photographs: Kind courtesy Shameem Akhtar/Rediff Archives
1. Anjali Mudra
Also known as the salutation seal, this is a way of meditation.
This helps in bringing about stability in both the physical and mental state.
Sit in cross-legged position, close your eyes and bring your hands at the centre of the heart chakra and meditate.
Focus on your breathing and stay in this pose for some time.
This pose is also known as cat pose and is a great stress buster.
While you perform this pose, you get a stretch in your spine and your stomach.
Place your wrists under the shoulders and knees under your hips and create an arch.
Give a full stretch, hold and then release. This is practiced along with the Ustrasana.
Also known as the camel pose, this asana opens up the heart chakra, strengthens the body and makes it very flexible.
This back bend asana must be performed on empty stomach and bowels.
Kneel on the mat with your feet soles facing the ceiling and hands on the hip.
The shoulders and knees should be in the same line.
Take a deep breath and pull your tailbone in close to the pubis.
While doing this, a pull will be experienced in your navel.
Arch your back and place your palms over the feet and then straighten your arms.
Ensure that there is no pressure on your neck and then release.
4. Uttana Shishosana
Another name for the extended puppy pose, this pose rejuvenates the body, brings peace of mind and elongates the spine.
This pose is also an excellent exercise for giving respite to chronic stress, anxiety, tension and sleeplessness.
Uttana Shishosana is a combination of the child's pose and downward facing dog pose.
Kneel on the mat with your feet soles facing the ceiling.
Stretch your back and arms high and bend forward till your forehead touches the ground and your palms rest on the floor.
5. Setu Bandhasana
Similar to Ustrasana, this pose helps in blood circulation in the entire body.
It also helps by giving a good stretch to the spine and helps maintain composure of the mind and reduce stress.
Lie on your back. Slowly bend your knees with your feet firmly placed on the floor.
Ensure that the knees and the ankles are in a straight line.
Take a deep breath and lift your back from the floor.
Stretch your arms and interlace the fingers of both the hands.
Finally, your chin should touch the chest without moving it. Be in the pose for 30 to 60 seconds and relax.
6. Baddha Konasana
This is the butterfly pose gives a stretch to the inner thighs and groin area.
Perform this by sitting with your spine straight.
Fold your legs in such a way that both the soles of the feet meet at the center.
Flap the feet.
This pose helps release the stress in the hips, back and groin.
7. Salamba Sirsasana
By standing with your head on the ground and feet up, the blood circulates throughout the body, calms the brain and provides strength to the entire body.
This gives a good respite to one's heart which doesn’t have to pump blood against gravity.
Keep your forearms below your head and take the support of the wall while initially practicing this.
The weight of the body should be balanced on your forearms and shoulders and not on the neck and head or else you will encounter an injury.
Another name of this asana is the child's pose.
This is a counterbalance asana for the headstand.
Sit on your knees and bend forward with your arms by your body’s side.
Going forward, place your forehead such that it touches the ground.
Stay for a few minutes and then relax.
This pose relieves one of stress and anxiety.
9. Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend)
This pose will help you control your mind.
It gives a good stretch to the spine, hamstrings, lower back, improves digestion, and helps you overcome symptoms of menopause and PMS among others.
Sit on the mat with your feet stretched outside.
Now, bend the feet and lower your forehead and get it closer to your knees.
10. Savasana (corpse pose)
This is a full body relaxation pose which although looks simple is very challenging.
Lie on the back with eyes closed, arms by your side and face up. Keep your feet relaxed.
Concentrate on your breathing, relax your entire body and suppress all thoughts.
Also, do not fall asleep, a common mistake while doing this pose.
This pose relieves stress from your entire body and refreshes you.
Finally, while practicing yoga does good to you, remember to go slow.
Once you learn the asanas, proceed as and how your body feels.
Don't push your body beyond limits or else you will end up with an injury.
Shalini Bhargava is director at JG'S Fitness Centre.
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