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Stretch to reduce stress

Our heart is an important organ that functions continuously, even when we sleep.

Published: 06th October 2021 06:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th October 2021 02:32 PM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only. ( Express Illustration)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Our heart is an important organ that functions continuously, even when we sleep. It is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body and so it is crucial to take better care of it. Stress, depression or life events influence the state of life centre.

Hence, the risks of heart attacks is on the rise. Strokes and heart attacks are common worldwide; so much so that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the main cause of 31 per cent of deaths in the world. Sedentary lifestyle, bad food habits, and stress are a few things that can disturb the normal functioning of our heart and can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.

In such a condition, yoga is one of the best ways to take care of the heart. Practising yoga every day can keep your heart healthy. The British Heart Foundation recently recommended people living with heart disease to practise yoga. Yoga helps to reduce stress, anxiety and lower the risk of depression. N Elumalai, PhD Scholar (Yoga Science) at Meenakshi Academy of Higher Education & Research, Chennai, brings you five most important yoga asanas, which will help to keep the heart healthy.

SETU BANDHASANA (BRIDGE POSE)

STEPS

  • Lie down in Shavasana.
  • Keep your arms by the thighs.
  • Bend your leg at the knees and clasp the ankles with palms or place your hands on the mat.
  • The feet should be 10 inches apart.
  • Inhale, raise the back in a relaxed manner.
  • You can also balance on your toes by raising the heels.
  • Maintain the pose for 30 seconds or more.
  • Bring your back down with a deep exhale and rest.
  • Repeat it for 3 to 5 times.

BENEFITS

  • Regulates the functions of the thyroid gland.
  • Removes strain from the neck. Good for the nervous system.
  • Controls the smooth coordination of body and mind.
  • Stretches and massages the abdominal organs.
  • Calms the brain and reduces stress, depression and anxiety.
  • Improves digestion. Enlarges the horizon of the chest.

ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA (HALF LORD OF THE FISHES POSE)

STEPS

  • Begin in Dandasana (Staff Pose).
  • Flex the right knee to place the right foot outside the left knee.
  • Bring the left foot around the right hip.
  • Inhale, raise the left arm.  
  • Exhale, twist the torso, pass the left arm around the outer edge of the right knee.
  • Hold the right foot with the left hand as the right knee lies closer to the left armpit.
  • Inhale, and maintaining the back twist, raise the right arm in front and gaze towards its fingertips.
  • Exhale to continue the twisting towards the right to look past the right shoulder.
  • Inhale, sit up. Exhale, bend the right elbow to reach the left side of the waist wrapping the right arm around the back.
  • Release and repeat the steps on the left side.

BENEFITS

  • Opens your chest muscles and lungs.
  • Reduces the risk of respiratory diseases.
  • Relieves back pain and helps manage slip-discs.
  • Improves the flexibility of the spine.
  • Massages and stimulates functioning of the abdominal organs.
  • Calms the mind and reduces stress, depression and anxiety.
  • Reduces stiffness and pain in the buttocks.
  • Stimulates blood circulation and detoxifies your organs.
  • Improves digestion and eliminates wastes.

UTTANASANA (STANDING FORWARD BEND)

STEPS

  • Stand upright and place both hands on the hips.
  • Breathing in, make the knees soft. Bend the waist and lean forward.
  • Move the hips and tailbone back slightly. Slowly lift the hips upward.
  • Hold the ankle from behind with your hands and legs parallel to each other. Your chest will touch the top of the leg.
  • Maintain a wide space between the chest bones and the pubis.
  • Press the thighs inward and keep the body stable on the heels.
  • Tilt the head down and look through the legs.
  • Remain in this position for 15-30 seconds.
  • Come back to the standing position and relax.

BENEFITS

  • Relieves stiffness of spine, neck and back.
  • Reduces stress, tension, anxiety, and eliminates body fatigue.
  • Improves blood circulation and gives peace of mind.
  • Helps get rid of problems like headaches and insomnia.
  • Keeps the liver and kidneys healthy and helps relieve hypertension.
  • Stimulates asthma, osteoporosis, sinusitis, spleen.

UTTHITA TRIKONASANA (EXTENDED TRIANGLE POSE)

STEPS

  • Begin with Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
  • Inhale deeply, and move your legs sideways, 3 to 3.5 feet apart.
  • Raise the arms sideways in line with the shoulders, palms facing down and arms parallel to the floor.
  • Turn your right foot 90 degrees sideways to the right, and left foot also slightly to the right, keeping the left leg stretched from the inside and tightened at the knee.
  • Exhale and bend the trunk sideways to the right, bringing the right palm near the right ankle.
  • Stretch the left arm up, bringing it in line with the right shoulder and extend the trunk. The back of both the legs, the chest and the hips should be in one line.
  • Keep the right knee locked tight by pulling up the knee-cap and keep the right knee facing the toes.
  • Remain here for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing deeply and evenly. Inhale, come back up. Repeat it on the other side.

BENEFITS

  • Relieves stress, anxiety, depression and the symptoms of menopause.
  • Stretches the thighs, knees, hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine.
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion.
  • Harmonises the nervous and pranic energies within the body.

PASCHIMOTTANASANA (SEATED FORWARD BEND)

STEPS

  • Sit with legs stretched out straight.
  • Keep the spine perfectly erect and the toes flexed.
  • Breathe in, slowly raise both arms straight above the head.
  • Breathe out, slowly bend forward from the hip joint.
  • Keep the spine erect and move the chin towards the toes.
  • Place the hands on the legs.
  • Stay in this position for as long as you can.
  • Gently breathe out as you bring your arms down and relax.

BENEFITS

  • Gives suitable stretches and tones to the spine.
  • Quite effective for stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Good for burning belly fat.
  • Helpful for various types of sexual maladies.
  • Improves digestion. Prevents constipation and flatulence.
  • Good for kidney, liver spleen and adrenal glands.
  • Harmonises the nervous and pranic energies.


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