It is the basic human nature to not realize an abnormality until it catches their nerves. During the current Corona-virus outbreak, people have come to realize the gravity of their physical and mental health situation, which our previous busy life was not allowing us to face directly by prioritizing other things over our well-being.
Present times of pandemic have made it difficult for people of every age to stay sane and happy as people have plenty of free time to slack off their routine and then worry about doing nothing and being worthless. As much as it is a threat to their mental health, it affects their physical health too. No wonder most of us want to get started with yoga at home.
Having a sedentary lifestyle makes our body and mind lethargic for no specific reason for it to be. Children are getting irritated and unenthusiastic given their expected behavior according to their age, adults are feeling their life getting difficult due to the other hardships of their personal and professional life while the elderly are feeling worthless sitting all day at home.
Working out is a great way to keep your body moving and an active mind but practicing mindful yoga works wonders for mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Here are some great ways to get started with yoga at home.
Yoga at Home: Yoga Poses for Beginners
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Lie on your stomach in the prone position and keep your legs straight together. Place your hands beside your shoulders. Inhale slowly and deeply while lifting your waist and raise your head simultaneously. Bend back your upper body while supporting your upper body with the help of your hands.
Hold on to this pose for 10 seconds. Exhale and bring your body to its resting position.
Adho mukho Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
Lie down on your belly while your arms stretched forward. Lift your buttock area upwards and bend your upper body facing the ground. Your body will look like an inverted V.
Hold on for 10 seconds and then relax your body.
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Stand at a hip-width distance between both legs. Inhale deeply, exhale and bend on your knees and pretend to sit like you are sitting on a chair (not literally, there is no chair). Keep your hands on your waist and stay there till you count for five while holding your breath.
Inhale and come up. Repeat this for at least 5 times with an interval of 10 seconds.
Padanguli Naman (Toe Bending)
Sit on the ground with your feet together and legs outstretched. Place your both hands slightly behind beside the buttocks. Use your arms to lean back and keep your spine straight.
Inhale while you move the toes of both feet slowly backward and exhale while moving it forward while keeping your heels motionless.
Repeat it 10 times.
Ardha Titali Asana
Sit on the ground comfortably with your legs outstretched. Bend your right leg and place the right foot on the left thigh. Place your right hand on top of the bent right knee and left hand holding the toes of the right foot.
Inhale and gently move your right knee towards your chest. Exhale and gently push down the right knee in a manner that it touches the floor.
Repeat it 10 times each for alternate sides.
Yoga for flexibility
Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
Stand straight on the ground. Maintain a gap of 3 feet between your feet with your right toe facing towards the right side and the left one towards your left side.
Inhale and lift your arms to be in a straight line with your shoulders. Exhale and bend your torso on your right side and try to touch your right foot with your right hand and the left hand hung high towards the sky.
Do the same pose with your left arm trying to touch your left foot while keeping your knees straight.
Skandha Chakra (Shoulder Socket Rotation)
Sit in the cross-legged position. Place the fingers of your hands on your shoulders concerning the side of your arm in a manner that your elbows are bent. Rotate your right elbow clockwise and the left elbow anti-clockwise in such a way that they meet parallel to your chest. Then rotate your left elbow in clockwise and the right elbow in an anti-clockwise direction.
Repeat in at least 10 times.
Greeva Sanchalana (Neck Movements)
Sit in a cross-legged position or the pose you feel comfortable in with your hands resting on your knees and eyes closed. Inhale deeply and exhale while moving your head forward while trying to touch your chin to your chest. Inhale while moving your head backward. Feel your neck muscles stretched and vertebrae loosening and relaxing at the back.
Supta Udkarshana Asana (Sleeping Abdominal Stretch Pose)
Lie down in the supine position and relax your body. Keep your knees and feet together, bend the knees, and place the soles of your feet flat on the ground. Interlock the fingers of both your hands and place then under the back of your head.
Inhale and then exhale while lowering both of your knees down to the floor at the right side. Do the same with the left side.
Repeat the process 5 times for each side.
Yoga for better Immunity
Tadasana (Tree Pose)
Stand with your feet at a distance of 10 cm. interlock your fingers and raise your arms straight above your head. Fix your eyes at a point slightly above your head not straining your neck. Inhale while stretching your arms and lifting your heels above the floor. Exhale and bring your heels and hands back to the normal standing pose.
Practice 10 rounds of this asana.
Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)
Lie in the prone position at the floor or flat on your stomach. Keep your legs straight and together while hands beside the thighs. Inhale and lift your legs and chest off the floor. Hold this posture for 10 seconds at most and relax your body back to its prone position while exhaling.
Krupa Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
Get on your all fours while keeping your arms parallel to your shoulders. Raise your body and lift your knees off the ground while dropping your elbows on the floor in a plank pose manner.
Keep this posture for at least 10 seconds.
Mindful Yoga for stress relief
Below are some mindful yoga postures for stress relief
Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
Kneel on the floor with your knees and toes kept comfortably close together and separate the heels. Keep your hands on your knees and lower your buttocks onto the inside space between the heels.
Breathe normally and be aware of your surrounding using your sense of hearing, touch, and smell. This will help in calming tour mind and relaxing the nerves.
Practice this asana for at least 5 minutes.
Ananda Madirasana (Intoxicating Bliss Pose)
Sit comfortably in Vajrasana and place your palms on your heels while keeping your head and spine straight and eyes closed blissfully. Breathe slowly and fix your attention between your brows.
You can come back to your relaxed position when your body starts feeling stiff or uncomfortable.
Bhadrasana (Gracious Pose)
Sit in Vajrasana and slowly separate your knees as much as possible while keeping the big toes in touch, allowing your buttocks to rest on the ground but do not strain your body. Your body must be in a comfortable position.
Fix your gaze on your nose-tip. You can close your eyes when they feel tired and start looking at your nose-tip again.
When in asana while controlling one’s body, taking an appropriately balanced diet, one should practice Pranayama under the guidance and instructions of the guru.
Pranayama in general is defined as ‘controlling the rhythm of your breath’. The Sanskrit word Pranayama is comprised of two root words:
Prana + Ayama
Where Prana refers to the ‘vital energy of life or force of life’
And Ayama refers to ‘control’
The word Prana tells the tale of ‘sarvavyapak’ which means the energy that is omnipotent and universally present whether it is animate or inanimate.
Ayama can be defined more distinctly as ‘expansion’.
Thus, the word ‘Pranayama’ is perceived as ‘the expansion of the dimensions of the vital force of life’. It utilizes breathing to deeply influence the flow of prana (energy) in the Nadis (energy channels in the body).
Technically, Pranayama provides the method whereby the vital energy of life can be activated and regulated in an attempt to advance beyond the mundane world limitations and attain higher levels of awareness and both physical and internal energy.
Respiration is the most vital process of the body as it is responsible for providing enough oxygen to our cells and tissues for providing them the energy to carry out their vital function; most importantly concerning the brain and the heart.
Irregular breathing hampers the rhythmic process of the brain and heart giving rise to internal conflicts of the body and physical incompetence as the majority of people breathe incorrectly and use very little part of their lung capacity.
Pranayama helps with the rhythmic breathing patterns to break the negative cycle and re-establishing the regular and relaxed body and mind patterns.
Four Expressions of Pranayama
There are four steps or aspects of Pranayama which are utilized in the breathing or respiratory process. They are:
- Pooraka (inhalation)
- Rechaka (exhalation)
- Antar Kumbhaka (internal retention of the breath)
- Bahira Kumbhak (external retention of breath)
There is another advanced stage of Pranayama named ‘kevala kumbhaka’ which refers to spontaneous breath retention. It is performed usually during the higher stages of meditation because at those stages prana fluctuations cease and a coherent meaning and vision of reality hits.
The Pranic body
As per yogic physiology, the human framework is believed to be comprised of five bodies. These five bodies are:
- Pranamaya Kosha (the vital force or energy body)
- Annamaya Kosha (the food body)
- Manamaya Kosha (the mental body)
- Vijnanamaya Kosha (the psychic body)
- Anandamaya Kosha (the bliss body)
The practices of Pranayama majorly work with Pranayama Kosha although all these five bodies function together.
Pranayama kosha is comprised of five major pranas:
The force which controls the breathing process (inhalation specifically).
Udana is responsible for sensory awareness and erect posture.
Smana regulates the assimilation and the distribution of the nutrients in the body.
Vyana pervades the entire body while regulating and controlling its movements and coordination with other Prana kosha.
Apana is responsible for the expulsion of waste from the body and also helps in expiration.
Pranayama and Life Span
The ancient yogis of India studied the nature of breathing in detail and observed that animals with a slow respiratory rate like elephants, tortoise, and pythons have a relatively long life span when compared to the animals with a rapid respiratory rate like a rabbit, dog, and birds.
In the physical aspect, the reason behind this theory is the heart function. Slower the respiratory rate, stronger and better-nourished heart; thus, increases the life span of the physical body.
In the internal energy aspect, deep and slow breathing aggravates the energy absorption by pranayama kosha which enhances the dynamic and vital nature of one’s wellbeing.
Summarizing all the facts, Pranayama helps strengthen your body while calming your nerves and giving you a far clear view of life relieving the anxiety and stress caused by the lifestyle and environment.
Yoga, meditation, and Pranayama are the marvelous gifts to us given by our ancient acharyas and Rishis. Their wisdom has given us a new vision for life and its components. Practicing these approaches to attain a blissful life makes us content and happy. Their vibrations act in harmony with the universe.
To get rid of your physical and mental stress, you need to learn to channelize your energy. This energy is already inside your body and all you have to activate it and experience the bliss of fulfillment.