HYDERABAD: Yoga is a way of life. There is much more to it than Pranayam and Surya Namaskars. For example, yoga gurus have listed the Yamas and Niyamas which can help to achieve inner peace and a healthier way of life.
These are parts of the eight-limbed path of Hatha Yoga. “These Yamas and Niyamas are like the 10 commandments on how to live your life. These are mentioned in the Yoga Sutra by Patanjali. These are simple behavioural patterns.
For example, the first Yama is Ahimsa which not only means physical non-violence but also not to have harmful thoughts about others. Yoga is more than meaningless workouts,” says Kavita Tilwani, a yoga teacher.
The five Yamas deal with how an individual should behave in a society and the Niyamas focuses on the relationships with our inner-selves.
The five Yamas are Ahimsa, Sathya, Asteya, Brahmacharya and Aparigraha.
The five Niyamas are Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Swadyaya and Iswara-Pranidhana. According to Shivaji Agarwal, senior yoga trainer at Jindal Naturecure Institute, these yoga poses can help improve mental and physical health, especially the urban youth prone to long commutes, pollution, junk food etc.
Shashankasana or Child’s Pose
This asana stimulates your nervous system thereby re-energising your whole body. This asana is basically a resting pose somehow resembling a child in fetal position. It is performed by sitting down on the knees and then bending forward so that the chest touches the thighs, and the forehead touches the ground. Stretch the arms forward. If performed with precision regularly, the performer will notice a sense of mental, physical, and emotional comfort descending upon him/her. Like most yoga asanas, this one too should be performed on an empty stomach, before you begin your day or at least six hours after a meal. However, people suffering from high blood pressure and back pain should avoid this.
This inverted pose is one of the best yoga asanas for improving blood circulation towards the head. It helps to calm anxiety, treat depression and insomnia besides regulating blood flow. This pose can be performed by lying flat on your back. Keep the legs together. While inhaling raise the legs, buttocks and the trunk and support the hips on the palm. The trunk is held at 45 degrees angle to the ground. Breathe normally in this position. To return, lower the legs over the head and keep the hands down while exhaling. Bring the spine and the legs down.
This pose is thought to be therapeutic for people suffering from high blood pressure, asthma, sinusitis, infertility and osteoporosis. It also helps to relieve mild depression and beat insomnia as it is highly beneficial as a relaxation tool. To perform this pose, stand straight. Raise your hands from the front to above your head as you inhale slowly. Bend backwards from the upper back and maintain the position with normal breathing.
This pose is typically performed at the end of yoga routines and helps boost mental health and relaxes the body. Lie flat on your back, keeping the body straight and hands at the sides with palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and hold the position for at least five minutes. Even pregnant women can practice this asana as it will help them prevent prenatal depression, a prevalent mental disorder in women during pregnancy. It should be noted that the above-mentioned yogic practices are to be learned in a gradual manner under the supervision of a yoga expert.