International Yoga Day: Yoga for good health and overall wellness

Bring Pranayama into your daily practice. An easy way to introduce this is practicing pranayama as soon as you wake up.

By Shraddha Iyer,

With the fast paced lifestyle and high stress levels in the 21st century, yoga has become a very important part of many individuals to maintain good emotional and physical health. Much scientific research has proven that yoga can help reduce stress levels, increase awareness, build immunity and strong physical and mental health along with helping regularize the systems of the body over all.

Here are a few simple yet effective ways you can introduce yourself to yoga for good health and overall wellness in your life.

1) Breathe

Bring Pranayama into your daily practice. An easy way to introduce this is practicing pranayama as soon as you wake up.

Start with Kapalbhati kriya, one of the most powerful cleansing techniques, where you inhale passively and actively exhale through your nose with short bursts or strokes and let the belly get pulled in as the diaphragm moves up. Let the inhalation happen naturally. Some of the benefits of this kriya are:

-Aids weight loss and increases metabolic rate

-Improves lung capacity

-Helps in regulating blood glucose levels

-Improves digestion and many more such benefits

Add Bhastrika the 3 dosha (known as vata, pitta, and kapha) balancer or a quick recharger of energy into your daily practice. In this, you inhale deep through your nose taking your arms up, while your palms are open, next you exhale forcefully, bringing the palms down towards the shoulder making a fist with your palms. Repeat this 15 to 20 times at a medium pace.

This pranayam

-Helps increase oxygen levels in the body almost immediately

-It increases awareness levels

-Is excellent to improve overall lung health

Practice Bhramri pranayama, the stress buster. Simply close your ears with your index fingers by pressing the cartilage between the cheek and the ears . Close your eyes and let the tongue touch the roof of the mouth. Breathe in through the nose, and as you breathe out through the nose, make a humming bee-like sound. feel the vibration as you do so. You can repeat this 3 to 5 times.

Some of the many benefits include

-Releases stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system

-Improves awareness levels and builds focus

-Helps remove migraines or headaches

-Is excellent for people suffering from high blood pressure

2) Move

Include Yoga asanas in your routine. Practice Surya Namaskars daily to maintain the metabolic rate. This is a combination of 12 asanas and 2 sets which is to be practiced preferably early morning on an empty stomach facing the sun.

The first step (Pranamasana) is to start by standing on the front edge of the mat with your legs in line with the shoulder or together, palms in Namaste at the sternum.

2nd step (Hastauttanasana)Breathe in and raise your arms up and back with Namaste palms and arch your back a little by pressing the hips forward.

3rd step (Hastapadasana) is to fold forward with the torso and arms keeping the back flat and spine straight with the shoulder blades together, if possible place the hands on the floor or on the shin.

4th step (Ashwasanchalanasana) Inhale and keep right leg back and the left remains in between both palms, keep the right knee on the floor and the right toes released.

5th step breath out (Dandasana) come into a plank position by sending the left leg back, making sure the hips, shoulders and ankles are in a straight line.

6th step inhale (Ashtanga Namaskara) descend down by keeping your knee, exhale chest and chin on the floor.

7th step breath in (Bhujangasana) slide and flare up by lifting your chest like a snake, make sure your elbows are bent and shoulder blades together.

Step 8th is exhale (Adho Mukha Svanasana) in the inverted v position.

9th step Breath in (Ashwa Sanchalanasana) and bring your right foot forward in between both palms.

10th step (Hastapadasana) exhale and fold forward by bringing the left foot forward.

11th step (Hastauttanasana) Breathe in and raise your arms up and back with Namaste palms and arch your back a little by pressing the hips forward.

12th step, exhale and come back to Pranamasana.

Repeat the same on the other side to complete 24 steps all together.

3) Sit Quietly

Find time to sit in silence and meditate. Use the various guided meditations available online to start you off, you can download the SARVA app for more such content.

You can start with mindfulness meditation, sit in any comfortable position with your spine erect, begin to breathe deeply and focus on your inhalations and exhalations, notice the expansion and contraction of your lungs, notice how the breath passes into your nostrils and all the way out. Notice the sound of your breath and keep the awareness on different aspects of breathing like your heart beat, your pulse etc. You can also do a chakra meditation by focusing on the chakra you want to open. You can do an energy recharge meditation on a daily basis to keep the mind active and away from negative mind chatter.

Over all, include Yoga in your lifestyle in different ways to see changes in not just your physical health but also your mind. It’s a beautiful practice and a journey in which one will experience many wonderful changes and grow as an individual.

(The author is Senior Yoga Instructor at SARVA, The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult Yoga experts and professionals before starting any practice. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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