Practicing yoga can be an effective stress reliever, but also a way to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. By transferring focus and attention to the body and breath, yoga can help to temper anxiety while also releasing physical tension. Hundreds of scientific studies have found that mind-body interventions, are effective in treating stress related mental and physical disorders
Sage Vasistha gives a simple truth “Manah prasamana upayah yogah” – mind slowing down trick is yoga.
Yoga helps the entire system slow down. Yoga dissolves those stressors for the time during practice and usually the effects last for hours after
Yogis have provided us with many techniques to control the mind as trying to control it directly is almost impossible. We need to have physical and breathing techniques to allow for control of mind and body
1) Alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana).
This simple breathing exercise cleanses the respiratory system while bringing equilibrium to the right and left brain. Nadi Shodhana (pronounced NAH-dee SHOW-duh-na) balances the brain by equalizing oxygen flow through both nostrils and Nadis. By making the exhalation twice as long as the inhalation and retaining the breath in between, you increase the oxygen-CO2 exchange in the body, thus ridding the blood of stale air and waste.
The breath brings fresh oxygen to the brain, balances nasal cycles, and calms nerves.
Close your right nostril with your thumb, and inhale through your left nostril for three counts:
Closing the left nostril with your pinkie and ring fingers, hold the breath for three to six counts dropping the chin to the chest. Release the thumb, and exhale through your right nostril for six counts.
Inhale through the right nostril for three counts, close right nostril with thumb, and retain the breath for three to six counts.
Lift pinkie and ring fingers from left nostril, and exhale six counts.
This constitutes one round. Continue for five to 10 rounds.
2) Sithilikarana Vyayama- is translated to Joints Loosening. As the name would suggest the exercises are normally performed with speed and repetitions as cardio vascular exercise. These exercises are meant to achieve a good physique and stamina whilst also training the muscles and spine. This practice helps to remove any physical blockages in the body and helps students move towards Asanas. There are 3 strong benefits of this practice;
Removes the lethargy and tardiness in the body
Develops the stamina of the body
Creates discipline of the body and mind
There are many different practices such as jogging, spinal stretching, Alternative toe touching etc. Choose a combination of exercises to invigorate the class and create a cardio vascular workout
Include Kapalabhati at the start
3) Sun Salutations
The Asanas that make up the sequence are meant to wake up the pranic body and restore the flow of energy through the chakras
Start in Prayer Posture with feet together in front of chest, close eyes and bring awareness to heart and chest
1. Inhale Raise arms up and lean back into an arch “Hasta Uttanasana”
2. Exhale and bend forwards with palms either side of your feet and head touching knees or shins “Uttansana”
3. Inhale and step the right leg back as far as possible, and bring the knee down to almost touch the floor, push buttocks forward, lift the head and tilt the head back (or raise arms up to 180’ for stretch in arms and arch back to Crescent Moon)
4. Exhale and take the left leg back into plank posture “Phalakasana”
5. Child Pose (optional, elbows by the ear)
6. Exhale & Hold breath, bring knees chest and chin to rest on the ground. Hips and buttocks should be raised “Ashtanga Namaskara”
7. Inhale and lower thighs and hips to the floor, lift the truck by straightening elbows and arch the back into Cobra “Bhujanghasana”
8. Exhale and tuck toes under and push back into Downward Dog “Parvatasana”
9. Child Pose (optional)
10. Inhale and step the right leg forward as far as possible (opposite to step 3)
11. Exhale and step the left leg forward and bend forward “Uttanasana”
12. Inhale and lift the trunk and raise the arms over the head and arch back, return to starting posture.
Hold a fast count to increase breath
Aim for 10-20 rounds
Ardha Cakrasana Back Bend. This is a preparatory posture for the wheel or Cakrasana and an excellent way to release tension in the lower back and neck
Keep the palms on the waist region, fingers pointing forward.
While inhaling, bend back from the root of the waist region.
Bend back the head as much as possible, feel the stretch in the neck region.
Stay in the position for a minute or as long as you can maintain the position with normal breathing. Keep the feet firmly on the floor.
Slowly come back to the position.
Keep the legs apart and relax in Tadasana.
The posture of Pada Hastasana, standing forward bend, is a stress-reliever. It calms the brain and releases mild depression. It makes the entire back body supple and strong, stimulating the liver and kidneys, stretching the hamstrings, calves, and hips, and strengthening the thighs and knees. It improves digestion and helps relieve fatigue and anxiety.
Stand with legs together and slowly raise arms sideways until horizontal with palms horizontal
Continue to inhale and reach up, exhale and bend forward from the waist. Keep lowering your back until trunk is parallel to the ground
Exhale while going down until the entire palm rests on the ground and the chin touches the knees. Maintain for 2-3mins without bending the knees
Can be significantly useful at relieving discomfort in the muscles of the back, neck and abdomen. Furthermore, a little time spent in cobra pose can go a long way towards alleviating stress, anxiety and even depression
Bend the arms and elbows and place the palms beside the lower chest and last rib
Inhale come up, Arch the dorsal spine and neck backwards as much as possible, keep your body below the naval on the ground
Maintain position for at least 1 minute
Headstand elevates your mood and creates a sense of achievement.
Come to your hands and knees with the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips.
Bring your elbows to the floor forearm's distance apart.
Interlace your fingers, tucking the outermost pinky underneath.
Place the crown of your head on the floor cupped by your interlaced fingers.
Bring the hips up as if coming into Downward Facing Dog.
Walk the feet in towards your head until your hips are over your shoulders.
Walk one leg up and then the other.
Press down strongly into your forearms to keep all your weight from coming into your neck and head.
Reach up through the balls of your feet and rotate the thigh bones inward slightly. Hold for at least 10 breaths.