We are living in distressing times. The enormity of the current COVID crisis is wreaking havoc on our physical as well as mental health. The restricted travel, panic over the risk of infection, continuous flow of negative news, and scarcity of day-to-day material and resources due to the pandemic befalling the world are all adding to growing anxiety. Being confined to our homes can be mentally challenging. Besides staying connected to family and friends, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there is one other practice that can help keep anxiety and mental health in check – yoga. Yoga and Ayurveda are ‘sister sciences’ and known to be beneficial since ages for a healthy body and mind.
Yoga originated first in India over 5000 years ago. The Indian sages and saints of the Vedic era studied the science of inner health blended with spirituality on the Himalayan peaks. This practice then came into existence in the form of Yoga. Being the birthplace of the ancient science, Rishikesh, the north Indian spiritual town is regarded as the world Yoga capital. Every year, millions of Yoga aspirants and spirituality lovers visit the country in search of the truest knowledge of Yoga and the yogic way of living from the biggest Maharishis of the discipline. A physical, mental, and spiritual practice, Yoga is also believed to increase one’s life span.
Ayurveda is an age-old art of treating various diseases and conditions that originated in India. Traditionally, the word Ayurveda means the science of life. ‘Ayur’ means life and ‘Veda’ means science or knowledge. This art of healing is an ancient science that is holistic in nature. It helps your body stay vital by making the person realize their full body potential. More than being an ancient art of healing, this art professes that our health is in balance with the environment, body, spirit, and mind. These four factors draw the basis of Ayurvedic medicine. Kerala is probably the only state in India where Ayurveda is used as mainstream medicine. Here one can see many Ayurvedic medical colleges and hospitals across the state.
Ayurveda is not just about healing; in fact, it ensures that one lives a healthy lifestyle. This system is a far more superior form of medicine that provides treatments for a number of ailments that are usually not found in other forms of medicine. The effects of Ayurveda on the human body are extreme and can give you long time relief. This is because this practice believes that the body is made up of five elements such as water, air, wind, earth, and fire all of which play an important role in the way your body functions. Ayurveda is said to cure the cause of the problem more than fighting its symptoms. This means that an Ayurvedic doctor will concentrate on the root of the problem more than trying to remedy the symptoms.
Since currently all of us are quarantined at home and tend to face anxiety issues, yoga emerges as the best-suited remedy as it is one of the best forms of physical, mental, and spiritual practice. Try any of these soothing experiences to achieve a more relaxed you.
Yoga along with breathing and meditation is often considered as an all-round exercise that will take care of our body, mind, and soul. Start by practicing the simple Pranayama techniques of controlled breathing. ‘Prana’ is a Sanskrit word that means life force and ‘Ayama’ means extending. Thus, the word “pranayama” translates to the control of the life force. It is also known as the extension of breath. Pranayama helps tame your mind by focusing on your breath and pacifying your senses, thus improving overall physical and mental health.
An easy-to-do Pranayama at home is the Anuloma Viloma or the alternative nostril breathing. A very relaxed, balancing way of breathing, it helps to release the accumulated stress and fatigue so that you get a restful night’s sleep. Another one that you can easily incorporate in your daily life routine is Kapalabhati or the skull shining breath. Kapalabhati is a traditional internal cleansing technique (kriya), and can be used as a simple warm-up for formal pranayama. It consists of alternating short, explosive exhales and slightly longer, passive inhales.
So, it’s time to stop stressing over the lockdown and hit the mat!