Try these Yoga asanas, meditation practices, and breathing exercises to manage stress and anxiety  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
New Delhi: Life is a mixed bag of experiences that keeps us on our toes. Almost as soon as we begin to start interacting with the outside world, there are situations of stress. Children, too, face stress just like adults. The only difference is the nature of situations that we find stressful. Stress is necessary for our growth; this is a positive stress which makes our life feel rich. However, negative stress has no positive outcome except that it takes a toll on our mental and physical health.
Stress cannot be avoided, but how we deal with it can definitely be learned. Ancient practices of yoga, meditation and mindfulness equip us with the tools to manage stress in a constructive manner. Invest in a regular practice of yogic techniques like asanas, pranayama, and meditation practice etc. This will ensure that you have taken care of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Yogic practices align the mind, body and spirit helping you to better understand your own true nature and master your emotions. Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation, Chandra Namaskar or Moon Salutation can also be included in your daily practice. Even for someone who is always on the go, all you need is 15 minutes to give yourself the gift of health, and peace.
Start with Sukshma Vyayam or subtle exercises. These consist of a gentle rotation of neck, arms, wrists, hips, ankles to slowly warm up the joints. Walk around briskly, and stretch and mobilize your muscles. This will prepare your body for practice, and keep you safe from practice-related injuries.
Here are a few simple asanas that you can hold for up to a minute each.
- Padahasthasana- Hand to Foot Pose
- Chakrasana – Wheel Pose
- Adomukhi Svanasana – Downward Dog Pose
- Hastha Uttanasana – Raised Arm Pose
- Halasana – Plough Pose
Super Power Meditation is also a highly recommended practice as this influences the rate at which your body can heal itself. Meditation techniques can improve your mood, calm your mind and help to relax you.
To practice this, seat yourself on a peak of the mountain in Sukhasana or any other comfortable pose that gives you the shape of a pyramid.
The intention is to sit in the shape of a triangle atop a mountain.
In this position, you need to visualize a reverse triangular shield in your chest and then meditate.
During the meditative process, with every inhale, this shield allows you to welcome all the positive energies of the world into you. And, as you exhale you release unwanted toxins, miseries, and negativity from within you.
Find a place which you do not frequent, preferably a natural environment for this technique.
Sit in any comfortable posture such as Sukhasana.
Look ahead for 5 seconds, behind you for another five seconds and on Right and Left sides for five seconds each.
Now close your eyes and recollect as many details that you observed as possible.
This meditative technique has numerous benefits.
Helps to instil a sense of calmness
It also builds your observation skills
The process of this meditation helps improve Memory power
It slowly builds within the practitioner a greater sense of gratitude.
- Sit in any comfortable position – Sukhasana, Ardha Padmasana, Vajrasana or Poorna Padmasana.
- Keep your back straight, shoulders relaxed and close your eyes to focus on your breath.
- Place your palms on your knees facing upward (in Prapthi Mudra)
- Duration You may begin by practicing this breathing technique for 1-2 minutes a day and gradually increase it with time.
- As you inhale, divide your breath into two equal parts
- Without retaining the breath in your lungs, exhale twice.
Anulom Vilom – Alternate Nostril Breathing
Gently close your right nostril with your thumb, inhale into your left nostril and close it, letting the breath out through the right nostril. Then inhale through your right, closing it to exhale only through your left. This makes one cycle.
Try to include inversions as often as you can in your practice. These are very beneficial for the health of your nervous system. Poses such as Adho Mukha Svanasana, Halasana, Chakrasana, Sirshasana allow fresh blood to flow into your body. In asanas like Halasana, when the neck and spine are stretched, it releases any stress stored within them. This helps to reduce anxiety and bring calmness to your being. Follow this up with a breathing technique for another 3 minutes, meditation for 2-3 minutes too, and you can wrap it up by chanting a few mantras too. Apply these techniques with commitment in order to take positive steps towards your well-being.