Yoga for Stress Part 2: Three Asanas to Help You Unwind
Image for representation.
If you didn’t have a stress problem before this year, chances are that you may have one now. Given the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns, economic crisis and social isolation, it’s not surprising for many more people to be feeling stressed and anxious. But while low levels of stress may not be harmful, constantly feeling stressed can affect your life in many ways. In the previous part of the series, we gave you three yoga asanas that can help in relieving stress and anxiety. In this part, we talk of three more asanas that may help calm your mind and relax your body.
1. Bhramari Pranayama
Bhramari Pranayama, also called humming bee breath, helps in relieving stress and cerebral tension. It aids in alleviating anger, anxiety and insomnia and has been reported to reduce blood pressure.
- Sit on a flat surface with your legs straight in front of the body.
- Now bend your left leg and place the foot on top of the right thigh. The sole of your left foot should face upward and the heel should be close to the pubic bone.
- Now bend the right food the same way and place it on top of the left thigh.
- Keep your head and spine upright and shoulders relaxed.
- Keep your eyes and mouth closed and jaw relaxed. Do not clench your teeth.
- Now raise both your arms sideways, bend the elbows and bring the hands close to the ears.
- Plug your ears using your index or middle finger. Breathe in through your nose.
- Exhale slowly and make a deep steady humming sound like that of the black bee. Make sure the sound is smooth, even and continuous throughout the exhalation.
- Once you are out of breath, repeat the inhalation and the exhalation with the humming sound.
- Repeat this 10 times.
Shashankasana, also called the rabbit or hare pose, helps in relieving pressure off the spinal discs by stretching the back muscles. It helps in relieving anxiety and anger.
- For this asana, kneel down on a flat surface.
- Touch the big toes of both the feet together while separating the heels.
- Now lower your hips onto the inside surface of your feet while your heels touch the sides of your hips.
- Close your eyes, inhale and raise your arms above your head while keeping them shoulder-width apart.
- Now exhale and bend your trunk forward from the hips. Your arms and head should move in line with the trunk.
- Try to rest your hands and forehead on the floor in front of your knees.
- Bend your arms slightly to let the elbows rest on the floor.
- Hold this position for about five seconds and then slowly return to the starting position.
- Repeat this asana five times.
Sarvangasana, also called the shoulder stand pose, helps relax the mind by relieving mental and emotional stresses and fears. It can also help you deal with headaches.
- Lie on your back on a flat surface while keeping your head and spine aligned and feet together.
- Keep your arms by your side, with the palms facing down.
- While engaging your core, raise your legs straight up in the air so they’re perpendicular to the floor.
- Bend your arms and use your hands to support your back as you roll your hips and spine off the floor. Your palms should be at the back of the ribcage.
- Push your back forwards till your chest presses against your chin.
- Your entire body should be in a straight line with your legs.
- Hold this position for a minute or as long as you feel comfortable and then get back to the starting position.
- Repeat this asana at least 2 times.
For more information, read our article on Sarvangasana.
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