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Fighting Stress With Yoga

Living in constant stress results in our losing our ability to get rid of mental rubbish. Hence, we see a growing number of psychosomatic nervous disorders and psychological pathologies. Ways of dealing with this problem have been present in the East from time immemorial. Indian hatha yoga holds a well-deserved prominent position among them. Hatha Yoga is a practice of special poses (asanas) carried out in special state of mind.


Being in an asana, you direct your attention to the body and achieve muscular relaxation.


When you fully immerse yourself in paying attention to your body, (when there is no place for other thoughts), there can be a mental relaxation which provides the body and mind with conditions for self-restoration.


Badhakonasana (The shoemaker pose)


Sit down against the wall with your back straight. Bend your legs at the knees, spread your hips, flex the feet, and move the heels as close as possible to the groin. Place the backs of the palms on your knees. If your joints are not flexible enough, put something under your knees. Try to keep your attention in the area of the hip-joint perineum. Stay in this pose for 3 minutes.


Virasana (hero pose)


Sit down on the buttocks with your back straight, bend your knees, place your feet at the sides of the hips with the heels turned up. Place the backs of your hands on your knees. Relax the face and stomach and then relax knee and ankle joints (if their flexibility is insufficient, you may sit down on the pillow).


When the body is fully relaxed, concentrate your attention on the air moving through the nostrils. Time of endurance 3 up to 5 minutes (depending on the sensation).


Pashimottanasana (bending forward, stretching your back)


Sit down on the floor with your legs straight, feet together with toes pointed up. Lay your hands in front of you. Lean your trunk forward, and having relaxed your waist and thighs, let it hang down above the legs.


In the process of relaxation, your body will begin to bend forward, folding at the hip joints. Grasp your shins or your big toes (if flexibility is insufficient, use a strap) and slightly move your abdomen to the thighs (ideally lay your abdomen on the thighs). Do not exert pressure in the waist and popliteal copula. Concentrate your attention on the sensation in the pelvic area. Stay in the pose for 3 minutes. Repeat it twice. After finishing, relax, lying on your back (here and after, the duration of each pause – not less than 1 minute.)


Triconasana (triangle pose).


Stand with your back against the wall, legs spread apart as wide as their length, feet parallel, hands raised apart at shoulder level. Turn your right foot to 90 degrees, and your left one to 50-60 degrees to your right. Keeping your shoulder blades to the wall, incline right. Raise your left hand up vertically, with your right hand down, resting against the shin of the right leg. Direct your sight to the palm of the left hand. Keep an eye on the relaxation of the lateral muscles and thorax. There should be a muscular effort only in the legs. Repeat on the left side. Hold for 30 seconds on each side. After finishing, relax lying on your back.


Jatara parivartanasana (spine twisting when lying on the back)


Lay down on your back, stretch the legs forward, hands apart. Raise the legs to the left, if possible perpendicular to the trunk. If there is not enough flexibility, get hold of big toes. As a variant, strap up your feet and hold them by hand.


Your face is looking up. Relax your neck, shoulders, waist and legs. In the process of relaxing, try to place your left shoulder blade on the floor, and having your pelvic revolved, put your feet together. Hold the pose for 2 minutes. Repeat it on the right side.


Shavasana (corpse pose)


Lay down on your back, with your legs and hands slightly apart at your sides, palms turned up. Relax your abdomen and perineum area, try to bring to the specified places the sensation of physical emptiness. Then relax your face and keep your eyes still. Then, without hurry, gradually move your concentration down your body (the neck, left hand, right hand, etc.) relaxing and, if possible, warming up selected parts of the body(palms and feet) with any sequence and detailed elaboration. The duration of relaxation should be not less than 10 minutes.


Vrikshasana (tree pose)


Standing on one leg, bend the other and place its foot on the internal side of the thigh of the “standing” leg, placing the heel as close as possible to pubic bone, turning the toes down and little backwards. The foot and the shin of standing leg are tight. If balance is insufficient, it is possible to lean your back against the wall. Straighten hands above the head, and join the palms together. Open the eyes look straight with relaxation. Repeat that to the other side. The duration is 1 minute on each side. After completing the relaxation, lay down on your back.

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