Celebrated worldwide as International Yoga Day on June 21, this ascetic discipline leads one towards a healthier lifestyle. Over the years, yoga practices have changed significantly with mass globalization. From focusing solely on getting that perfect body, today yoga is more about releasing stress, breathing well, and increasing immunity.
A few of the benefits one is bound to experience through yoga are as follows.
Yoga and its impact on mental health
With the pandemic in effect since end-January last year, it has taken a toll on each person’s mental health. Prolonged working hours, increased screen time, remote working, unwell family members, have added to anxiety. Frontline workers were overwhelmed with vast covid-19 numbers and were dealing with extended duty shifts and concerns for their own health and also of their family members. Along with all of this the fear of getting infected in people’s minds was the overarching concern causing severe distress.
Some yoga asanas and breathing exercises help with anxiety and sadness; they also boost our confidence and builds conviction. For example, Balasana (child’s pose), Shavasana (corpse pose), Viparita Karani (legs up against the wall), and Uttanasan (standing forward bend) calm our minds, release stress, and even improves our blood circulation.
Yoga therapy allows us to control our body and emotions, releasing healthy brain chemicals like endorphins and dopamine—these chemicals, in return, fight against various mood disorders, anxiety, and depression. Amidst all of the uncertainty, yoga also acts as a coping mechanism for many youngsters.
Yoga and its impact on Physical Health
Some of the most noticeable physical benefits include better flexibility, reduced back and joints’ pain, improved skin and digestion. It also helps in improving insomnia, keeping the heart-healthy, and maintain proper blood circulation.
• Supta Virasana - A restful asana, helps ease the tightness of the body and tension.
• Marjariasana (Cat-cow pose) – This asana along with systematic breathing in and out, reduces back and lower back pain.
• Pranayam - It purifies blood due to increased oxygen intake, thus decreasing fine lines, wrinkles, and signs of ageing. In addition, increased oxygen intake helps build more robust immunity.
• Setu Bandhasana ( Bridge Pose) – This helps to stretch the spine and chest and reduce stress. It is beneficial for someone with high blood pressure.
• Utkatasana (Chair Pose) - This pose engages the leg and arm muscles while stimulating the diaphragm and heart.
Living in the times of Covid-19 is the new normal. We must work on building our immunity.Having healthy, nutritious food, avoiding excessive junk food and adding vitamins as per your doctor's advice will help. Apart from making amends in the diet, asanas like Suryabhedan pranayam, Chandrabhedan Pranayam, boost immunity. Kapalabhati clears out sinuses and increases lung functionality. During covid recovery, one can also try diaphragmatic breathing to restore lung function and this also helps the nervous system to be more relaxed.
While practicing yoga, one must do so in the presence and guidance of an instructor to avoid complications.
Inputs by Kanchan Naikawadi, Managing Director and Preventive Healthcare Specialist, Indus Health Plus