Yoga can be a powerful tool during these stressful times to dispel our anxiety and fear. “By reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological triggers— for example, reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. Evidences also point that yoga practices help increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly.”- Harward Health Journal
Stress, Anxiety, Depression that we live day in and day out, weakens our immune system and is a silent breeder for disease. Our body is naturally designed to heal innately but what obstructs the healing is the stress. Yoga and pranayam helps to heal the body. You are just a step away from a healthy mind and body by practicing specific asana and pranayam.
Some specific yoga asana for anxiety and depression
Dhanurasan- Bow Pose
- Lie down on your stomach. Bend the knee, hold the left ankle with the left hand and the right ankle with the right hand.
- Now inhaling gently pull the legs up by lifting the knees above the floor and, meanwhile, raise the chest and head and draw it backwards.
- The abdomen should bear the whole body weight on the floor separate the knees to raise the body higher and try to arch the back as far as possible.
- Stay in this pose for 15-20 seconds with normal breathing, then slowly come to the floor.
Benefits of Dhanurasana
- Effective in weight loss.
- Improves digestion and appetite and cures constipation.
- Gives flexibility and strengthens the back and abdominal muscles.
- Good stress and fatigue buster
- Cures respiratory disorder like asthama.
- Improve function of the pancreas and it is beneficial in diabetes.
Bhujangansan or Cobra Pose
- While inhaling slowly, raise your head tilt it back and chest upwards by pressing down on the hands but letting contraction of the back take most of the strain.
- Your body from toes to the navel should rest on the floor.
- Then look up, hold your breath in this pose as long as possible without feeling uncomfortable Then while exhaling, slowly return to the face-down position.
- Bhujangasan strengthens pancreas, liver and other organs of digestive system.
- Cures constipation, indigestion, asthma and dysentery.
- Makes spine more flexible, cures cervical problems, slipped disk and back pain.
- People having undergone recent abdominal surgery or having backpain and hernia patients should not try this pose.
Ardhamatsyendrasan -Half Fish Pose
- Sit up with the legs stretched keeping the feet together and the spine erect.
- Bend the left leg and place the heal of the left foot beneath the right hip and take the right leg over the left knee.
- Place the left hand on the right knee and the right hand behind you.
- Twist the waist, shoulders and neck in this sequence to the right and look over the right shoulder hold for 15-20 seconds with long an deep breathing.
- Exhale and bring the right hand behind you, come back to your normal position.
- Repeat to the other side.
- Stretches the elasticity of the spine, tones the nerves of the spine and makes the functioning of the spinal cord supple.
- Stretches the muscles on one side of the body whilst compressing the muscles on the other side.
- Relieves back pain and stiffness and very useful for slipped disc.
Ushtrasan- Camel Pose
- Come to Dandasan.
- Gently fold the legs and come to Vajrasan.
- With the support of the hands, stand on the knees on the floor with the ankles together.
- Rest the palms on the waist, stretching the thighs & extending the ribs
- As you inhale, bend slowly towards the back and place the right palm over the right heel and the left palm over the left heel.
- You should make the thighs vertical, push the upper trunk towards the thighs and the hips forward, with normal breathing hold on for 15-20 seconds.
- Exhaling, slowly come back to the normal position by releasing the hands one by one and placing them on the waist.
Trikonasan- Triangle Pose
- Stand in an upright position and Spread the legs 3 to 4 feet apart, toes pointing forward.
- With an inhalation raise the arms sideways to the shoulder level, palms facing down.
- With an exhalation, slowly bend down to the right from your waist as far as possible & try to touch the right foot with the right hand
- Do not bend either forward or backward; keep the knees and the elbows locked; the left arm is straightened up, in line with the right hand, palm facing forward.
- Trikonasan tones and alleviates the nervous system, constipation and improves digestion
- While stretching the sides of the body, the waist is made very flexible and reducices waistline fat
Veerasan- warrior Pose
- Place the right foot at a 45 degree angle to the left foot.
- Bend the left leg to a 90 degree angle so that the thigh is parallel with the floor.
- Raise the arms straight over the head with palms joined in Namaskar position.
- Take the arms backwards as far as possible.
- Stretch the entire body backward while maintaining the balance.
- Improves the strength and blood supply to the joints like the ankles, knees, hips, lumber region, cervical region and shoulders.
- Abdominal muscles are stretched so helps to remove fat from the region.
- Helps to maintain the proper balance of the body.
- Improves the flexibility of the spinal column.
Shalabhasan- Locust Pose
- Lie down on your stomach.
- Place your arms under the body as closer to each other as possible with the palms on the floor under the thighs and facing upwards.
- Gently stretch the chin a bit forward and touch it on the floor at all times.
- Keep the legs straight and together and inhaling deeply, slowly raise both the legs as high as possible with the help of the arms and lower back muscles, hold for 15-20 seconds.
- Exhale comfortably lower the legs to the floor.
- The practice of this asan is useful in treating spinal problems.
- It synchronizes the nervous system, balances the whole digestive system and is also equally helpful in curing abdominal ailments.
Paschimottanasan- Forward Bend Yoga Pose
- Sit down stretch your legs. Place the palms on your respective knees.
- Now bend your front body forward to catch the toes with the thumb, without bending knees.
- Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Try to touch your head to your both knees
- Bend your arm and try to touch the elbow on the floor, hold on for few seconds.
- Exhaling slowly return to your starting position.
- It calms the mind, acts as a stress reliever.
- Reduces the flab on the abdomen.
- Stretches the spine and brings flexibility.
- Good for constipation and digestive disorder.
- Lie down in Shavasan posture, keeping your hands on the ground with the palms facing upward, towards the sky. A gap of 1 foot should be maintained between your feet.
- Relax your entire body. There should be no tension or tightness in any part of the body.
- It is intended to rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit
- This posture brings a deep, meditative state of rest, which may help in the repair of tissues and cells, and in releasing stress. …
- This posture leaves you in a state of rejuvenation. …
- It helps reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia.
- Anulom Vilom
Caution: It is recommended that all yoga asans should be done under guided instruction.
Contact Jagadguru Kripalu Yoga and Naturopathy Hospital for lifestyle consultation.
by Pragya Sinha