At some point of time in our lives, we have all felt low and depressed. We have often questioned who we really are and whether we are good enough or not. It is very natural to be happy at some point in time and sad at the next. However, the concern arises when these changes in your mood persist for a fairly long period of time and interfere with your daily life.
An individual with depression often finds himself spending long hours isolated from family, friends and others who matter. Disturbed sleep patterns, changes in eating habits and excessive mood swings are some of the characteristic symptoms of depression.
While there is medical help available to enable one to tackle with depression, another means of bringing in positivity is yoga. According to a study done by Boston University School of Medicine in the US, joining yoga classes can help patients experience significant reduction in symptoms without the side effects associated with antidepressants. The power of yoga has cured innumerable health problems since time immemorial. With depression too, yoga comes to the rescue of individuals. Often known to improve physical health, yoga works wonders in the case of your mental health and well-being as well. It is a natural and simple way of helping you overcome fears and improving self-esteem and self-worth.
"This study supports the use of yoga and coherent breathing intervention in major depressive disorder in people who are not on antidepressants and in those who have been on a stable dose of antidepressants and have not achieved a resolution of their symptoms," explained corresponding author Chris Streeter, Associate Professor at the University. The findings, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, provide support for the use of yoga-based interventions as an alternative or supplement to pharmacologic treatments for depression
Yoga is believed to relax the mind and lower the heart rate thus reducing anxiety, which comes along with depression. It is built on the philosophy of helping one live in the moment, mitigating negative thoughts and focusing on all good things that life sends our way.
Lamya Arsiwala, The Yoga House Mumbai, suggests several yoga Asanas that could be practiced to enhance one’s state of mind in case of depression.
It is often referred to as the “Cobbler pose”, named after the position cobblers sit in while working. The asana helps strengthen the thighs, knees, hips and the back. It is a great anti-depressant pose and improves emotional stability.
How to do: Sit with an upright back, knees bent and holding your feet tightly together. Deeply inhale and flap your bent legs up and down like a butterfly.
Supta means reclining. It is often referred to as the “reclined cobbler pose”. This asana helps one become calm and instills a sense of relaxation.
How to do: Lie down straight on the ground with bent knees on either side of the body. Join your feet and bring the heels closer to your groin. Place your palms next to your hips, facing downwards. Slowly exhale and inhale.
3. Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)This asana relieves fatigue and relaxes the mind. Since it is called the baby pose, the individual practicing the asana really feels the happiness of a baby in that moment.
How to do: Lie down on your back, bringing your knees closer to your stomach. Inhale and hold your feet with your hands. If you have difficulty holding your feet then hold on to your ankles in the beginning and progress towards heel as you continue to do the pose daily. Breathe gently and rock from one side to the other if you feel comfortable.
4. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
It is a great asana for reducing stress and anxiety. It takes the shape of a bridge and hence the name. It also helps maintain normal blood pressure.
How to do: Lie flat on the ground, face up and hands on either side. Slowly lift your hips upwards while inhaling. Bring it back down and repeat.
5. Child's Pose
An extremely soothing posture, the child's pose helps achieve peace and is a great relaxation technique.
How to do: Sit on your knees. Slowly exhale and bring your torso down between your thighs. Place your hands on the floor alongside your torso and release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor
Practicing these asanas on a regular basis will help overcome depression and improve mental health and well-being tremendously.
We all have dealt with summer heat and have hated it most of the time; skin eruptions, sweat and dehydration, summers are mostly about these problems. However, thanks to Ayurveda that practices the science of natural health and has a lot to offer. According to the book 'The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies' by Dr. Vasant Lad, "Summer is hot, bright and sharp, the season of pitta. Thus, it is recommended to keep cool and not allow pitta dosha to become aggravated."According to Yogi Anoop, Founder at MediYoga, "It is important to consume more alkaline foods in order to fight the heat in the body. Eat water-rich foods that will not only re-hydrate your body but also have antioxidants that keep you healthy. Consume onions, green vegetables and drink lots of water. Basically, you should ensure that there is no dryness that instills as it may heat up the body causing various health problems.
Think yoga is all huffing and puffing while you struggle to perform uncomfortable postures? Think again! Yoga is a blend of breathing techniques and postures that work together to heal your body from within and strengthen it from the outside. A range of breathing techniques, pranayam and asanas help you achieve overall well-being - from calming the mind, reducing stress, boosting metabolism and immunity to balancing hormones and various bodily processes. This article is dedicated to one of the most widely practiced and most basic breathing techniques of Yoga called Anulom Vilom.Anulom Vilom, also known as the alternate breathing technique, is excellent for respiratory problems and asthma. It facilitates proper functioning of the lungs, mitigates stress, lifts up your mood and keeps stress at bay.
Benefits of Anulom Vilom
1. Excellent for respiratory issues like asthma and allergies
2. Helps in balancing and relaxing the nervous system
3. Helps relieve headaches
4. Removes toxins from the body
5. Builds up stamina in the lungs
6. Reduces stress and keeps anxiety and depression at bay
"This yoga pose is perfect for all ages. You must do it at least 60 times, divided throughout the day. The technique is excellent for healing, chakra balancing and getting rid of breathing or respiratory problems. This can be done even after meals. Practicing yoga pose may help speed up the recovery process for those who have recently undergone a surgery. You must start with the stronger nostril. Exhale longer and deeper," shares Manisha Kohli from The Yoga Chakra Studio in New Delhi.
How to do Anulom Vilom?
- Always sit in Sukhasana with your hands resting sideways on the knees.
- You can also sit in Padmasana.
- If you begin from the left then close the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale slowly to fill up your lungs.
- Now, exhale slowly from the right nostril.
- It is essential to focus on your breath and practice the technique slowly.
- Repeat 60 times or for 5 minutes. You can do this any time of the day.
Ayurveda seems to have taken a back-seat in the hustle bustle of modern life, with material comforts becoming the norm while we ignore the various gifts that nature has to offer to us on an everyday basis.
Instead of being in harmony with nature, we have adopted artificial practices that disturb the equilibrium of mind and body. We can’t sleep, concentrate or relax. The imbalance in our lives manifests in addiction, disease and – eventually – an early death.
Living naturally in sync with the ayurvedic principles can do away with the requirement for expensive medical treatment or needless suffering from debilitating diseases. Here are 10 very simple tips to prepare you for the journey to good health.
Connect with nature: You need to spend more time outdoors, preferably in parks and gardens, and not be confined to the four walls of your house. The fresh air and green environs prepare one’s body and mind for everyday life and work by naturally recharging our cells.
Take a moment to breathe: The air we breathe gives us prana energy, and this energy goes down when we take short breaths. “Breathing exercises or pranayama, which are part of an ayurvedic lifestyle regimen, revitalise your body. Pranayama drives the energy of the air (prana) throughout your body, restoring it and preserving its vitality,” says Dr Partap Chauhan, director, Jiva Ayurveda, Delhi.
Get stronger with yoga: Simple yoga postures (hatha yoga) included in the ayurvedic lifestyle regimen make your body strong, supple and healthy. Your body becomes more agile and flexible, so you can do your best in all situations at work and in life.
Wake up before the sun: Most diseases today are lifestyle-related, which can be easily avoided by steering clear of the frequent lifestyle mistakes we make. “The simplest way to lead a healthy life is to follow the ayurvedic dincharya. This routine involves waking up two hours before sunrise, eating at the right time, sleeping on time, performing light exercises and practising yoga daily,” explains Dr Keshav, a senior ayurveda physician based out of Delhi.
Clean your sense organs: According to ayurveda, the gyaanendriya (sense organs) should be kept clean. But what is the correct way of doing this? “Every morning, wash your eyes well. Once in a while, you can use rose water or triphala-soaked water to wash your eyes. As the coating that forms on the tongue is a sign of ama, make sure you scrape it daily. Brush your teeth, gargle with lukewarm water and put a few drops of oil in each nostril every morning. This will clear your senses and prepare you for the day ahead,” explains Dr Keshav.
Eat healthy: Ayurveda says you may never need medicines if you eat healthy. The secret to eating healthy is to eat in accordance with your body type and have a sattvic diet. How should one do this? “It is easy. Choose seasonal fruits and vegetables for your diet; eat freshly prepared, easy to digest foods. Fast food slows you down, so you should avoid it,” says Dr Partap.
Be sattvic: To attain sattva (purity and positivity), avoiding non-vegetarian food items, onion and garlic is just not enough. “The things you read, the music you choose to listen to, the images and videos you watch – everything influences your gunas. If you watch and listen to sattvic information, your sattva guna will increase. Similarly, if you are surrounded by tamasic (darkness and negativity) things all day, your tamasic guna will increase. How you behave with people around you should also be sattvic,” says Dr Keshav.
Keep your digestion strong: According to Dr Partap, nutritious food gets converted to rasa which – in turn – becomes dhatus and then ojas (the purest essence of the dhatus form) thereby strengthening the immune system. However, in order to form ojas you need good metabolism and a strong digestive system.
Imagine the world without the efficient functioning of the eyes; blank, isn't it? Summers are upon us and it is time to take extra care of them, especially as they are most exposed to heat, sun, pollution, et al, which may further lead to weaker eyesight, conjunctivitis, pre-mature macular degeneration and vision problems. While one of the best ways to take care of your eyes is to wash them with water, it is imperative to load up on healthy foods in order to ensure a healthy pair of eyes. Ayurveda is known to consider food just as powerful as medicine. Similarly, it suggests some foods that may help strengthen your eye health.
According to the book, 'The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies' by Dr. Vasant Lad, individuals who work in front of a computer for a long time, watch a lot of television or movies, or live in a city with high air pollution, may find their eyes become irritated and strained. The irritation may be due to the dryness of conjunctiva that results from excess vata dosha, or it may be related to excess hyper-acidity or pitta dosha in stomach. Liver and eyes are closely related, so one of the reasons can be problems occurring in the liver.
Here are some of the essential home remedies as suggested by Ayurveda in order to keep your eyes healthy.
1) According to the book, you can prepare a solution of rose water. Use a dropper or an eye cup; make sure the water is neither too hot nor too cold. A drop or two in the eye will help soothe the irritation.
2) The book also suggests putting a single drop of pure castor oil into your eyes at bedtime. Make sure the oil does not contain any preservative.
3) According to the book, 'Home Doctor' by Dr. P.S. Phadke, if you experience redness, pain or even swelling in the eyes, boil a teaspoon of turmeric in two cups of water. Reduce it to a cup and let it cool. Strain four to five times with a muslin cloth. This extract can then be used as an eye drop. Use it at least three to four times a day.
4) Infusions made of coriander seeds or fennel seeds can be used as cold eye-washes.
5)If there is only a burning sensation in the eyes, cold compress will work. In fact, direct cold application of a little cream of cow's milk or fresh yogurt will also help soothe the eyes. Make sure the application is cold.