Yoga in true sense means Union.
Though it truly defines your union with God, it has now become the synonym of India based exercise. Union with God means a position of complete bliss, joy and no stress. You realize self as a part of this huge cosmos instead of just a body.
When done properly, Yoga works on the level of body, mind, energy, and emotions. Unlike what is mostly believed that Yoga consists of various Asanas (body posture) which are beneficial for the body physically, it has a tremendous effect on your mind as well.
In the current fast-paced lifestyle where we hardly get time to care for ourselves, a few minutes of yoga Asanas can be of tremendous help in reducing stress and improving our mental health.
Here I’ll be sharing few Yoga Asanas that you can practice daily for an improved concentration, reducing stress and improving mental health.
This is a simple Yogasana for a breathing exercise. Our thought frequency is connected with the rate of our breath. If you control the rate of breath, you can control your mind.
You must have observed when you are anxious, your breath rate is comparatively high. When you are at peace, your breaths are slow and deeper.
With Pranayam, you can slow down the breath rate and gradually improve your mental health.
• Helps to maintain balance in the body
• Helps release tension in chest, shoulders, and back
How to do it?
• Get down on your knees. Keep a distance of an inch between the knees and make sure both the toes are touching each other. Sit on your hip resting it over heels and keep the spine erect. Raise your hands up
• Now with exhalation lean forward touching chest on your thighs and forehead on the ground.
• Hold in this position for 5-6 seconds while holding your breath
• With inhalation come back to the initial position.
• Repeat 10 times.
3. TADASANA (PALM TREE POSTURE OR MOUNTAIN POSE)
This is an important asana in improving stability and firmness. Tada means palm tree and hence this posture resembles something related to that.
• Clears congestion in the spinal cord and opens up the life chakras.
• Good to relieve tension in various body parts throughout the body.
• It helps in blood circulation and making you more energetic.
• Reduces anxiety.
How to do this?
• Stand straight with feet just an inch apart and palms over your head.
• With the inhalation, raise your heels and stand on your toes and stretch your hands upward with palms facing the sky.
• Hold your breath in that position
• Come back to the initial position with slow exhalation.
4. Yoganidra (Psychic Sleep)
The literal meaning of Shav in Sanskrit is the corpse and asan means posture. So shavasan is a posture like a dead body. In yoganidra, you have to lie down as a dead body.
How to do it?
There’s nothing to do in it actually. Just lie down on your back with hands beside your waist and palms facing upwards.
Once you are in a comfortable position with no tension in any part of the body and completely relaxed then you can start the process of yoganidra.
One part of this technique is to take a Sankalp (wish). It is believed that if done properly, the Sankalp taken during Yoganindra manifests itself into reality. After you have taken Sankalp, the next part is to focus on different parts of the body from head to toe one by one.
• Yoganidra is considered to be one of the best asanas to improve your consciousness.
• With pure awareness, you can carry out your daily activity with great concentration.
5. Uttanasana or standing forward bend pose
This is also an effective way to relieve stress from your body and improve blood circulation in your brain to improve mental health.
How to do it?
• Stand with your feet close and spine erect.
• With the inhalation, bend forward from your waist and touching your nose to the knees.
• Keep your arm behind and parallel to your leg as shown in the picture.
• With exhalation come back to the initial posture.
• As in this posture, the brain is beneath the heart, the blood circulation is improved in the brain and hence improves its productivity.
• Reduces stress and anxiety
• Regular practice brings peace of mind
Initially try to bend to the extent possible. It will be difficult to touch your nose to knees. With regular practice, you’ll be able to do it with ease.
6. Viparita Karani
This yoga asanas with legs up the wall pose is effective in reducing anxiety and insomnia.
How to do it?
- Lie down flat on the back keeping your hips close to the wall.
- Stretch your legs and rest it on the wall. Try to keep feet parallel to the floor
- Rest hands stretched on the ground.
- Hold this position for about 5 minutes while keeping focus on your slow and deep breaths throughout.
This asana helps to improve blood flow in the body and mind and helps you calm down relieving you from stress. Long term practice of this yoga asana can bring stability and peace of mind.
How to do it?
- Stand straight and lunge your right leg forward.
- Keep the right foot flat on the ground with legs perpendicular to it. The left foot should be resting on ground with toes being the touch point.
- Raise your hand upwards holding both the palms together.
- While inhaling stretch backwards and try to see the sky keeping face straight with the spine.
- Come back to initial position by exhaling fully
These are some of the great Yoga Asanas that you can practice daily to improve your mental health. You follow different yoga asana to improve brain functioning and mental health? Do write to us about it in the comment section below.