Fighting Lifestyle Diseases: From Breathing to Holding Yoga Asanas
Simply spending as little as 20 mindful minutes every day is sufficient to transform your body.
Simply spending as little as 20 mindful minutes every day is sufficient to transform your body.(Photo Courtesy: Akshar)

Fighting Lifestyle Diseases: From Breathing to Holding Yoga Asanas

Ever-evolving technology has set the pace of living for us, and we are all in sprint mode. The body and mind in their quest to keep up are the worst hit. Lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, anxiety, depression, obesity and heart disease have become common as a cold.

While modern medicine in the form of allopathy churns out prescriptions and drugs to repress symptoms, it is only a temporary relief. Yoga, on the other hand holds the solution to these problems and is the permanent cure.

The body is our vehicle so we must mobilize it regularly. To remain alert and on top of your game, you must oil the wheels of your body with Yoga asanas, keep your energies refreshed with pranayama and polish your intellect with clarity gained by meditation.

Also Read : Your Job Leaving You Exhausted? Try These Simple Yoga Asanas

Pranayama

You may begin by practising this breathing technique for five minutes a day and gradually increase it with time.
You may begin by practising this breathing technique for five minutes a day and gradually increase it with time.
(Photo Courtesy: Akshar)

Pranayama

  • Sit in any comfortable pose (such as sukhasan, ardhapadmasan or padmasana).
  • Straighten your back and close your eyes.
  • Place your palms on your knees facing up (in prapthi mudra).
  • 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 6 counts, you must take 6 counts to exhale.
  • You may begin by practising this breathing technique for five minutes a day and gradually increase it with time.
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Anulom Vilom Pranayam

There is no retention (kumbhak) of breath in anulom vilom.
There is no retention (kumbhak) of breath in anulom vilom.
(Photo Courtesy: Akshar)
  • Sit in any comfortable pose (such as sukhasan, ardhapadmasan or padmasana).
  • Straighten your back and close your eyes.
  • Place your palms on your knees facing up (in prapthi mudra).
  • Use your right thumb to close your right nostril.
  • Inhale from your left nostril.
  • Close your left nostril with your right hand’s index finger.
  • Exhale from right nostril.
  • Inhale from right nostril.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb and exhale with your left nostril.
  • This completes one round of anulom vilom. In order to begin with another round, use your right thumb to close your right nostril, inhale with your left nostril and repeat the steps mentioned above.

Note: There is no retention (kumbhak) of breath in anulom vilom.

Kapal Bhati

In Sanskrit, ‘kapal’ means skull and ‘bhati’ means ‘shining/illuminating’. Therefore, this kapalbhati pranayam is also known as skull shining breathing technique.

  • Sit in any comfortable pose (such as sukhasan, ardhapadmasan or padmasana).
  • Straighten your back and close your eyes.
  • Place your palms on your knees facing up (in prapthi mudra).
  • Inhale normally and focus on exhaling with a short, rhythmic and forceful breath.
  • You can use your stomach to forcefully expel all the air from the diaphragm and lungs by compressing it.
  • Inhalation should happen automatically while you decompress your stomach.

Khand Pranayam

The Sanskrit word ‘khand’ means piece or segment.

  • Sit in any comfortable pose (such as sukhasan, ardhapadmasan or padmasana).
  • Straighten your back and close your eyes.
  • Place your palms on your knees facing up (in prapthi mudra).
  • As you inhale, divide your breath into two equal parts.
  • Without retaining the breath in your lungs, exhale twice.

Asanas

Sarvangasana

Try to touch your chin with your chest and focus your gaze towards your feet.
Try to touch your chin with your chest and focus your gaze towards your feet.
(Photo Courtesy: Akshar)
  • Begin by lying down on your back.
  • Place your arms beside your body.
  • Gently lift your legs off the floor and position them perpendicular to the floor with feet facing the sky.
  • Slowly lift your pelvis and back off the floor.
  • Bring your forearms off the floor and place your palms on your back for support.
  • Try to achieve a straight line between your shoulder, torso, pelvis, legs and feet.
  • Try to touch your chin with your chest and focus your gaze towards your feet.

Bakasana

Your fingers should point forward and they should be spread apart.
Your fingers should point forward and they should be spread apart.
(Photo Courtesy: Akshar)
  • Begin in samasthithi (standing position).
  • Lean forward and place your palms flat in front of your feet, but slightly away from them.
  • Your fingers should point forward and they should be spread apart.
  • Lift your pelvis and raise your toes.
  • Bend your elbows slightly and place your knee just below your armpit.
  • Lean forward in such a way that all your body weight shifts and lies on your arms.
  • Find your balance and slowly lift both your feet off the ground.
  • Bring your feet together.
  • Straighten your arms as much as possible.
  • Focus at a point and hold this asana for a while.

Sirshasana

Your interlocked palms and elbows must form an imaginary equilateral triangle.
Your interlocked palms and elbows must form an imaginary equilateral triangle.
(Photo Courtesy: Akshar)
  • Begin by assuming vajrasana (thunderbolt pose).
  • Place your elbows on the ground.
  • Your interlocked palms and elbows must form an imaginary equilateral triangle.
  • Place the crown of your head on the floor in front of your palms.
  • Your palms should act as a support to the back of your head.
  • Walk with your toes towards your head until your back straightens.
  • First lift your right leg up and align it with your upper body.
  • Use you core strength, balance and lift your left leg up.
  • Join your legs and point your toes down.
  • Remain in this position for as long as you are comfortable.

Meditation

Tratak Dhyan

  • Prepare the lamp by first placing a wick and then adding ghee or oil from top.
  • Light the lamp and place it on the desk or stool.
  • Ensure that the flame is pointing towards you and is at your eye-level i.e. the flame should be in line with your eyes.
  • Begin by sitting around 4 to 5 feet away from the flame. The distance varies according to your height. Neither should you sit too far nor too near.
  • Ensure that your neck is not strained while you try to look at the flame.
  • Sit in any comfortable posture (preferably sukhasana or padmasana).
  • Elongate your spine and place your palms on your knees facing up.
  • Join your index and thumb finger and hold gyaan mudra (index fingertip pressed against the thumb).
  • Draw your gaze to the flame and direct all of your attention to it.
  • Observe how the tip of the flame moves.
  • Try not to blink as much as possible.
  • If you catch your thoughts wandering, bring them back to focus on the flame.
  • After your practice, close your eyes for a while and release the strain from your eyes if there is any.
  • Disha/direction: Face towards East.

Spending as little as 20 minutes regularly on your health, aided by the power of positive thoughts, affirmations and gratitude will lead to your transformation.

(Akshar identifies himself as a Yoga master, spiritual guide and lifestyle coach.)

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