By Lakshmi Ajit
Yoga cannot provide a cure for life but it does present a proven method of coping with it.
This World Yoga Day is quite different from what we have seen so far. It comes at a time when the world is grappling with a pandemic causing a devastation that hasn’t been witnessed since the Spanish Flu and when new ways of living are being defined. People with old outdoor exercise routines are being forced to stay indoors. All around, there is a feeling of unease, despair, hopelessness and it may feel like a rug is being pulled out from underneath you.
Although it is an intense time when things seem to be taken from our hands, it leaves behind numerous possibilities to create something new. We’re being impelled to look within ourselves and surrender to this opportunity to heal and grow. At a time when the world seems to be at a loss, Yoga provides a means for people to find their own way of connecting with their true selves.
Yoga is of great significance in these times. As people are being forced to take up indoor activities, it seems to be emerging not just as an alternative to outdoor exercise but as a way of living and coping with the emotions of these times. It is heart-warming to see that more people have started to take notice of mental health and realized that Yoga is not just about the physical body but it moves on to the mental and emotional levels.
Many people suffer from phobias and neurosis as a result of the stress of everyday living; Yoga cannot provide a cure for life but it does present a proven method of coping with it.
The breathing techniques of Yoga are especially significant as we battle the pandemic. It has been established that the Novel Corona virus is a respiratory disease and more and more studies are emerging about how a breathing technique like the Pranayama enhances lung capacity, immunity and stimulates the proper flow of oxygen to all parts of the body. It can be practiced by anyone starting from the age of 8 and most importantly, it can be done indoors. It is a proven practice for relieving stress, insomnia and heightened concentration. It is said that practicing Pranayama regularly simply brings more peace into one’s life since the conscious, rhythmic, deep breathing enables the energy trapped in the unconscious and mental patterns to be released for use in more creative and joyful ways.
At a time when the world seems to be at a loss, Yoga provides a means for people to find their own way of connecting with their true selves.
There are several other simple Yogasanas that can be done indoors.
It is believed that asanas are designed to have specific effects on the glands and internal organs. Yogasanas have often been thought of as a form of exercise, but they are essentially techniques which place the body in positions that bring about awareness, relaxation, concentration and meditation.
Balancing asanas like Tadasana (palm tree pose) and Vrikshasana (tree pose) improve concentration while relieving anxiety; Trikonasana (triangle pose) and Bhujangasana (cobra pose) are great for relieving stress and give a good stretch to the internal organs; Paschimottanasana (back stretch) and Padahastasana (hand to foot pose) improve spine flexibility and massage the digestive organs. All these asanas are basic and simple and these can be performed at home or indoors.
This is a good time to release our attachment to old ways of doing things and take the chance to reflect, let go and create space for something new to emerge.
Another effective technique is the Suryanamaskar sequence. In essence, it can be combined with another physical exercise and done as a warm up but practicing the Suryanamaskar alone is said it be immensely effective. It is a complete practice which includes asanas that increase blood flow, energy, stamina and immunity.
Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.
In the wake of the Corona virus, an increasing number of doctors and healthcare professionals are embracing yoga and meditation as they make life-altering decisions on who gets care and who doesn’t whilst working day and night, risking their lives and those of their families. Yoga has proved to be exceptionally useful for these front line warriors and for the vulnerable, the elderly, to help cope with these difficult times.
With online classes and free platforms for sharing knowledge, it seems that many people are trying to adopt this practice today. This is a good time to release our attachment to old ways of doing things and take the chance to reflect, let go and create space for something new to emerge.
On this World Yoga Day, let us ensure that this practice cuts across all divisions of society and reaches every individual so we find ways to get through this together.
As rightly said by Swami Satyananda Saraswati – “Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.”
Lakshmi Ajit is a certified International Yoga instructor from the Ministry of Ayush and a certified Pilates instructor. She has been practicing for the last 15 years and teaching for 5 years now in Chennai. For any information and assistance, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Illustration- Anjali Bharti
She can be reached @anjalibharti886