Whether you're struggling with lifestyle disease, experience bouts of anxiety, or are unable to manage stress at work, yoga offers a path to holistic health for one and all. A practice that establishes a connection between the mind and body, individuals across the globe swear by yoga to address a multitude of problems. Bollywood makes a strong case for this form of exercise as well—attending to their mental and physical needs.
"Through regular practice, yoga can change the way you respond to situations. As the body, mind, and breath unite through the practice of yoga, it instils a deep sense of well-being and brings forth happiness. It also helps keep stress at bay, and a sound mind automatically gives way to physical well-being as well," explains Grand Master Akshar, Celebrity Yoga Expert and Himalayan Siddha.
Below, he enlists a few asanas and pranayama techniques that can cater to your emotional and physical needs, paving the way for a happy and healthy you!
1. Santolanasana – Plank Pose
Begin by lying on your stomach and placing your palms under your shoulders. Lift your upper body, pelvis and knees, and straighten the knees as well. Ensure that your knees, pelvis, and spine are aligned with each other and align your wrists under your shoulders as well.
2. Adomukhi Svanasana – Downward Dog
Begin on all your fours, ensuring your palms are under the shoulders and knees below the hips. Lift the hips, straighten the knees and elbows, and form an inverted ‘V’ shape. Now keep the hands shoulder-width apart, fingers pointing ahead. Put pressure on your palms and open your shoulder blades. Try to push your heels to the floor.
3. Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Bend
Begin with Dandasana. Ensure that your knees are slightly bent while your legs are stretched out towards the front. Extend your arms upward and keep your spine erect. Exhale and empty the air in your stomach. While exhaling, bend forward at the hip and place your upper body on your lower body. Lower your arms and grab your toes with your fingers. Try to touch your nose with your knees.
4. Baddha Konasana – Butterfly Pose
Begin by assuming Dandasana. Fold your legs and bring the soles of your feet together. Pull your heels closer to your pelvis and push your knees down gently. Empty the air from your stomach, lean your upper body forward, and place your forehead on the floor.
5. Marjariasana – Cat/Cow Pose
5.1. Urdhva Mukhi Marjari Asana
Get down on your knees, place your palms under your shoulders, and knees under your hips. Inhale while curving your spine to look up.
5.2. Adho Mukhi Marjari Asana
Exhale while curving your spine to form an arch of the back and allow your neck to drop down. Focus your gaze towards your chest.
6. Padahasthasana – Hand to Foot Pose
Begin by standing in Samasthithi. Exhale, and gently bend your upper body down from the hips and touch your nose to your knees. Place your palms on either side of your feet. As a beginner, you can bend your knees slightly resting your stomach on your thighs and placing your fingertips/palms down. With practice, slowly straighten your knees and try to touch your chest to your thighs.
7. Chakravati Pranayama
Fill your lungs with air as you inhale. Do not disturb your stomach area. Visualise circles in front of your face and use your right hand to draw imaginary circles close to your nose. Imagine the air flowing into your nose like a spring. With one breath, draw 3 clockwise circles in front of your nose, and exhale. Start with a few circles and gradually increase up to 100 with practice.
8. Bhastrika Pranayama
Inhale and fill your lungs with air. Exhale completely. Inhalation and exhalation should be done in a 1:1 ratio. For example, if you breathe in for six counts, you must take six counts to exhale as well.
"Along with the above-mentioned asanas and pranayama techniques, a few rounds of Surya Namaskar can be practised for emotional and mental well-being. In yoga, the limbs of asanas, pranayama, meditation etc work simultaneously. Therefore, as a practitioner, concentrate on making equal progress in all different areas, together, rather than individually or sequentially," adds Grand Master Akshar.