Practicing yoga daily has physical and also mental health benefits; the latter especially, being of utmost importance in this pandemic. This is why all health experts irrespective of the ‘pathy’ they specialise in, vehemently advocate yoga for achieving calm and peace. “The trinity of yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation helps you achieve holistic health. These practices keep the body and mind in sound health, and benefit those suffering from depression, anxiety, negativity and mental stress,” says yoga-preneur Grand Master Akshar.
“Asanas align the physical body, pranayama fills the body with health and positivity, and meditation has the power to re-wire your brain to function towards positivity. The body and mind have a deep connection and the combined effort of asana, pranayama and meditation benefits the body mind index, giving the practitioner enough energy, positivity and good health,” adds Akshar.
Practicing Padmasana and Vrikshasana that are simple and easy-to-perform, greatly benefit those under depression, he informs. But yoga is not just a set of asanas; it a science through which we bring our awareness to our body, mind and spirit, says Pankhuri Agarwal, Spiritual & Oracle Healing Expert, SARVA – a yoga and wellness studio chain.
“Asanas and pranayama helps us become aware of our inner power, which brings understanding, wisdom and peace,” she says. Asanas help the body produce more endorphins (that reduces the perception of pain and trigger positivity) and reduce cortisol (high cortisol can impair brain activity). Continuing to sing praises for this ‘way of life’, Agarwal says yoga can help you bounce back much easily in trying times. “With regular practice of yoga, depression can be turned into a state that is experienced for a short while and something to learn from. A mind that is supported by yogic practices is very unlikely to be chronically depressed or suicidal,” says Agarwal.
“Although yoga has not received enough attention in medical literature, it has long been studied as a complementary treatment for mental health problems,” says Dr Rajeev Rajesh, Chief Yoga Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute, Bengaluru. Yoga, he says, modulates the body’s stress response systems as it helps reduce the degree of perceived stress and anxiety, which in turn, reduces physiological arousal by lowering the heart rate, blood pressure, and also improving respiration.
“Evidence suggests that yoga can increase heart rate variability that is a key indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress flexibly. No one can deny the role yoga is playing in the current pandemic,” adds Dr Rajesh. The best thing about yoga is it keeps you physically fit without any dependence on fancy equipment. You can practice yoga in the safety and comfort of your home and at your convenience. But, a word of caution: Always consult a qualified yoga teacher about the correct way to practice an asana. Wrongly doing an asana can do more harm than good.