Category Archives: Yoga

Yoga for anxiety and depression

Since the 1970s, meditation and other stress-reduction techniques have been studied as possible treatments for depression and anxiety. One such practice, yoga, has received less attention in the medical literature, though it has become increasingly popular in recent decades. One national survey estimated, for example, that about 7.5% of U.S. adults had tried yoga at least once, and that nearly 4% practiced yoga in the previous year.

Yoga classes can vary from gentle and accommodating to strenuous and challenging; the choice of style tends to be based on physical ability and personal preference. Hatha yoga, the most common type of yoga practiced in the United States, combines three elements: physical poses, called asanas; controlled breathing practiced in conjunction with asanas; and a short period of deep relaxation or meditation.

Available reviews of a wide range of yoga practices suggest they can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression. In this respect, yoga functions like other self-soothing techniques, such as meditation, relaxation, exercise, or even socializing with friends.

By reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological arousal — for example, reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. There is also evidence that yoga practices help increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly.

A small but intriguing study done at the University of Utah provided some insight into the effect of yoga on the stress response by looking at the participants’ responses to pain. The researchers noted that people who have a poorly regulated response to stress are also more sensitive to pain. Their subjects were 12 experienced yoga practitioners, 14 people with fibromyalgia (a condition many researchers consider a stress-related illness that is characterized by hypersensitivity to pain), and 16 healthy volunteers.

When the three groups were subjected to more or less painful thumbnail pressure, the participants with fibromyalgia — as expected — perceived pain at lower pressure levels compared with the other subjects. Functional MRIs showed they also had the greatest activity in areas of the brain associated with the pain response. In contrast, the yoga practitioners had the highest pain tolerance and lowest pain-related brain activity during the MRI. The study underscores the value of techniques, such as yoga, that can help a person regulate their stress and, therefore, pain responses.

Although many forms of yoga practice are safe, some are strenuous and may not be appropriate for everyone. In particular, elderly patients or those with mobility problems may want to check first with a clinician before choosing yoga as a treatment option.

But for many patients dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress, yoga may be a very appealing way to better manage symptoms. Indeed, the scientific study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just closely allied, but are essentially equivalent. The evidence is growing that yoga practice is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health.

Resources: Harvard  Medical School Health Publications

 

Advertisements

Yoga Mudras

 

Definition:
Our physical body is made up of five elements namely – Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Aakash (ether – the tiny intercellular spaces in the human body).

When these elements get imbalanced, the immunity system of our body goes down and we get sick.

This imbelance can be corrected through practing Mudras in particular manner by connecting one part of the body with another.

When a finger representing an element is brought into contact with the thumb, that element is brought into balance. Therefore the disease caused by the imbalance is cured. Mudras start electromagnetic currents within the body which balance various constituting elements and restore health. The joining of fingers creates an effect on the human body.

Five Fingers of our hands are considered as Five Elements

1.Thumb relates to  Fire

2. Index…………Air

3. Middle………..Aakash

4. Ring………….Earth

5. Little…………Water

Benefits and Methods of Mudras:

Gyan Mudra:

The Gyan Mudra is believed to help with concentration and memory, relieve insomnia and stress, and promote general peace of mind.
Join the tips of the index finger and thumb and keep the other 3 fingers stretched and joined. Click to see

Shoonya Mudra
Relief in diseases and pains relating to the ear.
Press the middle finger on the base of the thumb and keep the thumb on middle finger. Keep the other three fingers straight. click to see

Apaan Mudra:
Helps in clearing the body by elimination of waste matter from the mouth, eyes, ears, nose etc. Helps when urine is obstructed, reduces constipation.
Join the tip of the thumb with the tip of middle and ring finger, keeping the other finger straight. click to see

Prana Mudra:
Helps in pumping the life force into your body. Beneficial for all types of diseases. Imparts special power to the eyes.

Join the tip of the thumb with tip of little and ring finger. Keeping other two fingers straight. click to see

Vayu Mudra :
Helps in diseases like arthritis, trembling in Parkinson’s disease. Better results obtained if practices after Prana mudra.

Press the index finger on the base of thumb and keep the thumb on the index finger. Let the other fingers be straight.click to see

Prithvi Mudra:
Makes body sturdy. One experiences happiness.

Join the tip of the thumb and ring finger. click to see

Varun Mudra:
Improves the deteriorated quality of blood due to shortage of water & gives freshness to the body.

Join the tip of the thumb and little finger.click to see

 Surya Mudra
Reduces weight of your body.
Put the tip of ring finger at the base of thumb, with thumb gently pressing on it.click to see

Ling Mudra:
Produces heat in the body and helps in curing cold and cough.
Interlock the fingers of both hands together. Keeping the left thumb up (encircled by right thumb and index finger) i.e. left thumb should be vertically straight and right thumb around it...click to see

When to do?
Can be practiced at all times while sitting, lying, standing, walking or even talking.
For good results should be practiced for 24 minutes continuously. Can be practiced for 4-5 minutes also at one time.
If a mudra cannot be made in both hands, you may do it in one hand only

Resources:
http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/meditation/mudras.aspx
http://health.amuchbetterway.com/yoga-mudra-for-health-and-vitality/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Yoga Has Greater Positive Effect on Anxiety than Other Forms of Exercise

Yoga has a greater positive effect on a person’s mood and anxiety level than walking and other forms of exercise, which may be due to higher levels of the brain chemical GABA.
CLICK TO SEE
Yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. GABA activity is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders, and drugs that increase GABA activity are commonly prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety.

Tying all of these observations together, the study by Chris Streeter and colleagues demonstrates that increased GABA levels measured after a session of yoga postures are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. Their findings establish a new link between yoga, higher levels of GABA in the thalamus, and improvements in mood and anxiety based on psychological assessments. The authors suggest that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas, thereby giving rise to changes in endogenous antidepressant neurotransmitters such as GABA.

“This is important work that establishes some objective bases for the effects that highly trained practitioners of yoga therapy throughout the world see on a daily basis. What is important now is that these findings are further investigated in long-term studies to establish just how sustainable such changes can be in the search for safe non-drug treatments for depression,” says Kim A. Jobst, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Source: Elements4Health

Enhanced by Zemanta

Support Your Triangle

The yoga basic can stand a tune-up with the help of a wall.

CLICK TO SEE

If you practice yoga on a regular basis, you’re probably familiar with the classic position called triangle pose. But it’s a good idea, every once in a while, to practice this pose with the back of your body against a flat wall, so you can check the position of your shoulders and hips for correct alignment.

Stand against a wall in a wide stance with your arms extending out to the side at shoulder level. Turn your left foot in slightly, and turn your right foot out, so that your right big toe points to the right.

Shift your pelvis to the left as you lean your torso to the right, resting your right hand on your shin, ankle or floor. Keep your shoulders and hips and top arm in contact with the wall throughout the entire pose. Feel your chest opening wide, with your hips in line with your shoulders. Breathe fully in this pose for 20 to 30 seconds. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Enhanced by Zemanta

Yoga Is The Best Medicine For Heart Patients

Heart attack is a condition where a blood clot in the coronary artery blocks the flow of blood to the heart. Consequently, some tissues die due to lack of oxygen. Once dead, these tissues are lost forever as unlike the other body tissues, heart tissues do not regenerate. Though the heart remains crippled and needs medication for life, the remaining tissues should be strengthened to prevent further problems and yoga is the best means to achieve that. Pawanmuktasana series and uthitpadasanaare excellent for the health of the heart.

.click to see the picture

Pawanmuktasana, with its mild stretching and flexible movements, maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels, making the heart’s job of pushing blood into them easier, while uthanapadasanabrings more blood to the organ and makes its tissues healthier. This asana can be done even during the recovery period after a heart attack. Though no prop is required for utthitpadasana, for heart patients, it is necessary to take a support so as not to strain the heart in any way. It is a simple position where lying on the back, the feet are placed on a six inch high platform such as a rolled blanket. To further enhance the effect and hasten the recovery, the following meditative technique should be practiced.

Lie down in shavasana–legs apart, hands little away from the body.

Imagine you are breathing in from the left nostril and breathing out from the right one; and then breathing in from the right nostril, breathing out from the left.

When the rhythmic alternate breathing pattern is established, add the mantra sohamto your breath when you breathe in and hamwhen you breathe out.

Practice this for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day.

After a few days, when you are comfortable with the practice, maintain the ratio of 1:2 for inhalation and exhalation. Then the mantra will become: so – ham‘¦m‘¦m‘¦m. You can also practice this meditation for 2/3 minutes to maintain a relaxed state.

Source: Yoga.am

Enhanced by Zemanta