International Day Of Yoga: Mental And Physical Health Benefits Of Yoga
As per Yoga, we need to take care of two kinds of bodies, one is the gross body (or the physical body) and the other is the subtle body known also as the energy body. They are not independent of each other. On the contrary, the subtle body comprising of the mind, intelligence and ego, is what controls the gross physical body.Yoga as an approach itself is more subtle rather than direct. As a solution, yoga rather than treating the symptom goes to work straight on the root of the issue. For example, stress- a common malady among a majority of the population. Yoga has the ability to first diagnose the problem and then treat it in a wholesome manner. So, instead of suppressing the symptoms, it works on the brain. Through regular practice, yoga slowly but steadily improves the way the brain responds to the situation. Thus, by modifying the reaction or response to the incident, it creates a more permanent and holistic solution.
Here are a few powerful asanas along with a meditation technique that you can practice to experience the positive effects of Yoga mentally and physically.
Formation of the posture:
- Begin with Dandasana.
- Ensure that your knees are slightly bent while your legs are stretched out forward.
- Extend your arms upward and keep your spine erect.
- Exhale and empty your stomach of air.
- With the exhale, bend forward at the hip and place your upper body on your lower body.
- Lower your arms and grip your big toes with your fingers.
- Try to touch your knees with your nose.
- Hold the asana for 10 seconds.
Here are the benefits of Pashimottanasana:
- It acts as a stress-reliever.
- It reduces fatty deposits in the abdomen.
- It removes anxiety, anger and irritability.
- It calms the mind
- It stretches the spine and brings flexibility.
- It’s good for curing constipation and digestive disorder.
- It’s useful for increasing height in young practitioners by stretching of the spine.
- It Tones the abdominal-pelvic organs.
- It balances the menstrual cycles.
- This asana is recommended especially for women after delivery.
Formation of the posture:
- Begin by assuming Adhomukha Swanasana.
- Jump and bring your left foot in between your palms and right foot outside your right palm.
- Tuck your right elbow firmly under your right inner thigh.
- Slowly, lift your right foot off the floor and lean your upper body forward.
- Shift your body weight to your palms and lift your left leg off the floor.
- Cross your left leg over your right and create a firm lock.
- Straighten your legs and look forward.
- Ensure that your arms are bent at an angle of 90°.
- Focus at a point and hold this asana.
- Repeat the same on the other side.
Here are the benefits of Ashtavakrasana:
- Your arms, wrists and shoulders strengthen.
- This asana mobilises knees and keeps them healthy.
- It tones your waist and improves the functioning of all the internal organs in the abdominal region.
- It helps build concentration and balance.
Formation of the posture:
- Begin in Samasthithi.
- Lean forward and place your palms flat in front of your feet, but slightly away from them.
- Your fingers should point forward and they should be spread apart.
- Lift your pelvis and raise your toes.
- Bend your elbows slightly and place your knee just below your armpit.
- Lean forward in such a way that all your body weight shifts and lies on your arms.
- Find your balance and slowly lift both your feet off the ground. Bring your feet together.
- Straighten your arms as much as possible.
- Focus at a point and hold this asana for 10 seconds.
Here are the benefits of Bakasana:
- Strengthens your wrists and arms.
- Tones your waist.
- Your sense of balance, concentration, and co-ordination improve by practising this posture regularly.
4. Ropan Dhyan
The word Ropan has its origins in Sanskrit literature. It is derived from the word Ropanaha which essentially means- to heal.
How to practice:
Choose a comfortable posture to carry out this meditation practice. This can be Sukhasana, Vajrasana, Ardha Padmasana, Padmasana or even standing in Samasthithi position. The eyeballs are brought towards the eye centre causing slight pressure on the Medial Canthus. Keep the tongue rolled back and placed on the soft palate. While white clothing is advised to be worn during Ropan meditation, it is not compulsory.
The right technique:
Choose a good environment for best results. Ideal conditions include an oxygen-rich space in calm, serene surroundings amidst nature.
- Form an imaginary spot, like a black circle about 10 inches from your heart centre on the outside and similarly form a black dot within, on the inside.
- Inhale your breath from the point outside your heart for a count of 6 seconds, retain your breath for 6 seconds and then direct the flow towards the black dot inside.
- From the same point within, draw out the air to exhale and direct it out to the point placed outside for a count of 6 seconds.
- Retain your breath for 3 seconds before you inhale again to repeat the entire process.
- The position of these two black imaginary circles inside and outside the body and the nose as the third point should take the shape of a triangle.
- Though the eyes are closed, the mind’s eye is focussed on the meditative breath points.
In the case of weight loss, yoga asanas trigger the inner mechanism and tweak the functioning of the organs. This speeds up metabolism improving the body’s ability to burn fat and thus causing weight loss naturally. Yoga only adds to the beauty of life. Without disturbing the environment it is introduced into, Yoga works towards integrating itself in a way that is harmonious and beneficial to all.