Medically it has been proven that yoga is a good preventive against the majority of ailments. Multiple research advocates that prenatal & postnatal yoga hold several benefits for pregnant women as well as their newborn babies. Practicing yoga before, during and after pregnancy improves sleep, reduces anxiety, decreases stress, increase strength, flexibility and fortitude of muscles much needed for childbirth.
Let’s have a look at the significant benefits of Yoga for pregnant women
Cultivates stamina and strength
Yoga is a gentle form of exercise much needed to build strength and stamina. As your baby grows from within your body goes through physical, hormonal and emotional changes. You will need energy and strength to carry the weight. Yoga asanas strengthen your hips, back, arms and shoulders. Prenatal Yoga asanas that help are talasana, parvatasana, bhadrasana
The centre of gravity changes as the fetus grows within the womb. The changes in progesterone and estrogen levels leave you vulnerable emotionally. Pranayamas help to focus on breathing and help to fine-tune the equilibrium, physically and emotionally. Pranayamas that help are Yogendra pranayama I, II, III, IV and Anulom – Vilom without holding of the breath.
Abdominal Breathing - YouTube
Releases tension of the lower back, hips, upper back, neck and shoulders
As the baby grows, more amount of stress is put on muscle groups of the back, hips and shoulders. The tendency of having lordotic/lower back curve due to the increase in the size of your bellies is reduced with regular practice of yoga. Also, the hips get tighter adding the pressure of baby’s weight. The breasts increase in size adding tension on your upper back and chest and shoulders areas.
Yoga poses that help are Goumukhasana, classical parvatasana in sukhasana or sitting on a chair with back straight can be done.
Classical parvatasana in sukhasana
Calms the senses and nervous system
Guided meditation or soothing music with pranayama calms the senses and the nervous system. Shavasana benefits the parasympathetic nervous system and helps relaxation.
Groundwork for Labour aches and pains
Yoga practices help to prepare the body and mind for labour. Unfounded worry, tension and stress are better handled with a balanced state of mind. The yoga institute pioneered techniques of Nishpanda bhava and Pratipaksh Bhavana help during this crucial time.
Relationship with the baby
A yoga practice helps to generate a feeling of connect with your baby. Yoga helps to slow down and become aware of all the subtle changes. Working on your breath and movement helps you feel centered and better connected with your baby.
Improves oxygenation and blood circulation
Blood is a vital force that nurtures you and your baby. You improve your circulation within your joints and your muscles that benefit the baby. Also, you create a safe and nurturing environment for your baby to grow and thrive.
The tendency to put on healthy weight is encouraged with your proper yoga exercises and sattvic dietyou cannot go wrong. Diet is crucial during this phase of your life. It does not mean you overeat. The yogic diet is ideal for a healthy baby and mother.
5 reasons why you should include meditation in your daily routine
Daily health and wellness and fitness goals should be simple just like meditation. Multiple types of research have indicated that meditating just for five to ten minutes every day lowers your blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, reduces the risk of heart ailments, helps control the mind chatter, obesity, diabetes, cancer and deeply relaxes the mind. Ensure your family health against several illnesses with regular practice of meditation.
5 reasons why you should include meditation in your daily routinePhysically heal your self
Guided meditation with positive affirmation is good for healing yourself. You can protect and heal yourself from injury, ailment, pain, and harmful thoughts. 10 minutes of guided meditation rejuvenates the senses, and before you go to bed, it is a good practice. It will support you in establishing a full physical mind, soul and body healing. Each time you focus and listen to deep inner healing transforms every cell of your body.
Better decision maker
We all have to make decisions – homemakers, office goers, parent, grandparent, children, teenagers, to school going children all can become better decision makers if they meditate. Meditation improves the sense of self-awareness and provides better insights into self. Knowing oneself is a progressive step toward making better decisions in life. Mentally you become aware of your strengths and weakness which is the first step towards development.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Event in lifeline the loss of a loved one, bitter divorce, chronic illness, failure, loss of job, etc. all of which are high-stress trials. Regular practice of meditation acts as a cushion during those crucial and provides relief. How? By giving us a better grasp of reality and how to work with difficult situations. Meditation gives us a heightened awareness and more space to respond. For example, when we grieve the more aware we are, the better we are able to route our unhappiness and grief. When we are unaware, our emotions impair our perception and decision and inflate our “I” sense. As a result what the situation demands of us, is perceived to be further than what we think we can provide. This insidious cycle gives rise to stress.
With meditation, we begin by creating the space in our minds to reduce demands by discerning what is essential at that point in time. Meditation tool trains our minds and increases our awareness and mental resources. Mindfulness meditation practice is the perfect tool for stress management.
Trigger the Brain’s Relaxation Response.
To effectively combat stress every day mediation is a must. Meditation activates the body’s natural relaxation response, and the parasympathetic nervous system is benefitted. The brain cells relax and blood pressure descents and stabilise the muscles, and blood flow to the brain is increased thereby deep relaxation is experienced.
Enhanced Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to control your emotions and how you use your emotions to communicate them to others. In stressful situations, our emotions can get the better of us. Meditation practice helps you to focus your attention and remain centred. If you learn to focus better, you stop dwelling on irrelevant things in your past and so it is less probable to cloud your judgement.
Meditation activates regions of the brain that help people recover faster from stressful situations more quickly so that they can achieve their emotional equilibrium faster.
The Yoga Institute yoga and niche Bhavas training help alongside meditation. The bhavas of compassion and empathy are encouraged with regular meditation practice to optimize the relaxation benefits.
Being a beginner in yoga there will be many first and apprehensions. It isn’t easy every pose is a challenge. It is more of mind over matter. Trick is to move through a progression of asana as per your capacity. Warm-ups and stretches of joints should be done systematically. You can also opt for Surya Namaskar since all muscles in of body are engaged. Working your way thought forward bending asana, backward bending asana and twisting and attempting to focus on breathe the right way is not easy at the start.
Let’s face it no one expects you to be asana master on the first day itself. Also, learn yoga from an experienced and qualified teacher after consulting your physician. If you have chronic illness or conditions, inform your teacher before you start.
The Yoga Institute yoga is known as householder yoga mean everyone can do it. Shri Yogendraji modified the asanas to benefit the masses. Do as per your individual capacity. Yoga asana is not competition. Learn to listen to your body and don’t push boundaries unnecessarily. Benefits of the yoga asana practice are limitless and will unfold progressively. Only focus on practice and don’t give up when you cannot touch your toes or twist your body in the first go. Understand that every person body is different and unique. The strength, endurance and flexibility of each person is different. Initially focus on breathing and asana movement as you go along.
Very basic Top 10 Asanas for beginners to help you get started-
The Yoga Institute | Asanas | Talasana - YouTube
This asana is palm tree inspired asana. Improve postural defects due to the sedentary lifestyle. Engages all the muscles of the body and gives all-round stretch to all the major muscles of the body.
This pose teaches to be strong, majestic and steady like a mountain. The major groups of muscles are exercised. Also improves focus and concentration. It is a good starting position for all many other asanas. Breathe easy.
Abdominal and core muscles are tightened and strengthens upper back. Generally leaves the practitioner with a sense of steadiness. Lie on your back with your feet together and hands on your side. Inhale and while exhaling gently lift your chest and feet off the ground both at 30 degrees. You will feel some tension in abdominal muscles and navel as they begin to contract. Exhaling come back to the ground and then relax.
Cobra Pose will keep you alert and strengthen the lower back muscles. Opens up the upper chest region and promotes better inhalation. Backward bending asana improves flexibility and benefits the lower back.
Sit on the floor, on a mat, legs fully stretched out, without taking any support. Keep mind relaxed and passively aware. Bend the left leg inwards, the knee touching the floor and sit on the left foot with the heel under the anus. Now fold the right leg, perpendicular to the floor, and place the right foot on the ground, close to the genitals. Place the hands on the respective knees. Keep the body straight, spine erect, abdomen maintained in standard contour and head perfectly poised. Keep the chin drawn in – parallel to the ground, and facial muscles relaxed. Close the eyes and passively observe the breath (final position). The mind may wander to other thoughts but gently bring it back to breathe.
Sit on a mat with legs fully stretched and toes facing upwards. Raise both the arms beside the chest, folded at the elbows, parallel to the ground, palms facing down. Now lean back and pull the trunk, in 3 seconds, while inhaling. Immediately, exhaling smoothly in 3 seconds, bend forward and simultaneously stretch the hands to cross the toes while drawing in the abdomen. Immediately, come back to the position explained in step1, in 3 seconds, while inhaling.
Lie on the stomach (prone position), with chin resting on the mat, legs stretched full length–toes pointing outwards. Exhaling, in 3 seconds, raise both legs (kept straight) as high as possible without lifting the hips. Maintain this pose for 6 seconds, suspending the breath (final position). Inhaling, in 3 seconds, gently bring the raised legs down.
With the aid of the hands slowly lift the left leg and raise it up till it reaches the thigh of the right leg. Maintain balance and adjust the left leg by pressing its heel tightly against the opposite groin; the sole of the left foot against the opposite thigh, toes pointing down. After the balance is achieved, join both the palms in front of the chest in a prayer pose. Breathe normally, gaze fixed straight ahead on a point and maintain the posture for a few seconds. Bring the left leg down gently, with the help of the hands and repeat the above steps with the right leg.
A comfortable asana and very basic for simple pranayama and meditation techniques. It helps the practitioner to centring effect. Sit comfortably on your yoga mat and cross the legs. Keep the spine straight. Place your hands on your thighs. Hands can be in Jnana mudra or Chin mudra. Relax your body and focus on the breathe gently.
Though it is ideal to do yoga early morning and on an empty stomach, considering today’s hectic lifestyles, people have to squeeze in their exercise and yoga practice whenever they find time. Eating the right food before and after yoga is thus crucial to its success; also when to eat.
Though heavy meals should be avoided, in case it happens, allow 3 – 4 hours to pass before starting your yoga practice; 1 to 2 hours after a light meal and 30 – 45 minutes after having juice, fresh fruits, etc. and 15 minutes after drinking water. If yoga is done in the morning, shortly after waking up, on an empty stomach is preferred.
Slow energy-releasing foods like dairy products, grains
However, if the practice is started 1 – 2 hours after waking up, one’s metabolic rate and food requirements should be considered. It may be advisable to have easy to digest food like fresh fruits (bananas are a great source of potassium) or juice at least 45 minutes before practice. In case of a fast metabolism or long and fairly strenuous travel to reach (by public transport or driving one’s car) nuts, dry fruits or even a light snack (slow energy-releasing foods like dairy products, grains) may also be considered as a feeling of hunger will be distracting during practice and the body may not have enough energy to perform asanas efficiently.
If yoga cannot be done in the morning, the second best time is in the evening before dinner, given one is not tired. The same rules apply in terms of food before as in case of late morning yoga. Dinner after yoga practice should be light with plenty of protein-rich food (peanut butter and seeds for example) as this will keep muscle soreness to a minimum. An ideal yogic diet would consist of grains, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, nuts, honey and nutritive roots. Foods to be avoided at all times are aerated drinks and spicy, overly salty or fried food as this adds little or no nutrition and contributes to a feeling of tiredness and sluggishness.
As a yoga novice or after practices that go very deep and involve overcoming physical, mental or emotional obstacles, a feeling of hunger may be intense at times. Avoiding a heavy meal, especially at night, do listen to your body and give it the extra food it needs in terms of easily digestible options like fruits, juices and light, healthy snacks. Never eat directly after yoga; give your body about 30 minutes to re-acclimate itself.
Last but not least, water: Yoga practitioners should have a glass of water 15 -30 minutes before the practice and refrain from drinking water during class as that will distract the body from giving full attention to the asanas, diverting it to processing and digesting water instead. Avoid drinking cold/very cold water at any times as this means the body has to expend extra energy to heat that water up before it can be expelled (or have you ever heard of ice cold urine?).
Sciatica is becoming a household problem these days. It is a preventive condition and mostly occurs due to wrong body postures and sedentary lifestyles.
Sciatica is the longest nerve in the body that stems out from the spine and travelling down to the back of each leg. When the blood circulation in the area is reduced, or this nerve is pressed, shooting pain is felt, making sitting and standing difficult. The pain surges when the person is seated.
Sciatica can occur due to other spinal disorders such as spondylitis, spinal stenosis, a ruptured disc or lower back injury. All of these conditions put stress on the Sciatic nerve, thereby, inducing more pain.
Common Symptoms of Sciatica
The pain occurs on only one side of the lower back and then slowly extends to the buttocks, the legs and down to the feet.
Some people have a shooting pain in one area of the leg and experience numbness in the others.
The weakness of the back and the lower leg and tingling sensations.
While some people complain of regular pain, for others, the pain might only last for a few weeks, or up to a month. But it is best to treat the pain, or it can worsen the condition with time.
For some, the sciatica pain is unbearable during nights. Some people also face more pain when they sneeze, laugh or a cough, or when they sit for too long or walk long distances.
Yoga Help to Treat Sciatica
There are many cures available out there to cure sciatica. But nothing compares to yoga. Various studies proved when sciatic patients are treated using yoga along with pain-reducing medication, the intensity and occurrence of the problem reduced drastically.
Essential Yoga Poses for relief from Sciatica pain
Suggested yoga poses help to flex the lower back and give the legs a good stretch. This helps to promote improved blood circulation to the affected areas thereby the pressure built up in the sciatic area is released giving enough space to the nerves to function correctly.
Bhujangasana - YouTube
Bhujangasa or the Cobra Pose is a simple yet very powerful pose. It massages the lower back and spinal column and reliefs the pain caused due to a slipped disc, which is the leading causes of sciatica.
This pose gently stretches the lower back muscles and the buttock region. Blood circulation is improved in the abdominal region and helps movement in the sciatica-affected region that is inactive and constricted.
The Locust Pose is effective in strengthening the lower back and promotes blood circulation in the hip region. This poses releases the pressure built up in the lower back region and offers respite from the shooting pain.
One of the best asana for stretching of hamstring and opens up unused buttocks muscles. Thereby helps to reduce the pain. Gently stretches the calves and thigh muscles and it also promotes circulation to the torso region.
The Sarvangasana promotes adequate blood flow and relaxes the lower hip muscles and the buttock region. It is an incredibly useful asana due to the amount of oxygen and blood that is pumped into the effected sciatic region, thereby soothing it.
Now that you know all about yoga for sciatica nerve pain, what are you waiting for? Simply get rid of sciatica by practising yoga every day. If you are already suffering from it, you have a great therapy at hand. And if you don’t, you can still practice yoga to make sure you never have to deal with sciatica.
Do you struggle to get out of your bed every morning and hit that snooze button more than often? Believe it or not, most of us have been trapped in this cycle for years, and it is time we do something about it. The solution to this is practising yoga in the morning.
The way you kick-start your mornings is very important because it dictates the rest of your day. Despite living in the fast-paced 21st century; after 7-8 hours of sleep our mind is clear and our body is receptive to positive ideas and messages. This is the best time to practise yoga postures or ‘asanas’ to find the much-required balance in your life. So, pull out your yoga mats and practise these perfect yoga poses to power up your mornings.
Why it works: It is a great pose to stretch the hips, thighs and ankles. It also helps in reducing stress and fatigue, preparing your mind for a long day ahead.
How to do it: To begin the asana, sit on your knees and place your buttocks on your heels. Place your hands on the thighs with palms facing downwards. While exhaling, slowly bring your chest between your knees and stretch your hands forward on the floor. Breathe gently and hold the posture for 2 to 3 minutes.
Why it works: It tones the leg muscles excellently and stretches your chest and shoulders. It also stimulates the heart, diaphragm and abdominal organs by activating them for the day.
How to do it: Stand erect with feet parallel and 12 inches apart. Keep your hands stretched out, parallel to the floor and palms facing downwards. Raise your heels and inhale for 2 seconds. Exhaling, lower your body to the floor in squatting position and press your calves. Suspend your breath for 4 seconds. Slowly, rise up inhaling for 2 seconds.
Why it works: The relaxed head and neck stretch the back and shoulders which helps in relaxing the tired muscles. Folding forward helps in releasing lower back tightness and is perfect for individuals who sit for prolonged hours and are susceptible to the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
How to do it: Stand erect while inhaling for 3 seconds and raise your arms above your head. Exhaling for 3 seconds, bend forward so as to catch the ankles by respective hands. Without bending the knees, try to touch the head to the knees. Hold this posture, suspending the breath comfortably and inhaling come back to the standing position.
Why it works: Strengthens and improves flexibility in the inner thighs, groins and knees. People who are suffering from constipation can practise this in the morning as it helps immensely.
How to do it: Stand erect with the feet about 20 to 24 inches apart. Exhale and lower the left arm and raise the right arm opposite to each other with the fingers pointing out. Swing them in front of the body. Do a half-twist and bend downwards till the left-hand touches the right toe. Hold this position for 4 seconds with suspension. Begin inhaling and raise the body to side first. Now, twist to the front and repeat alternately on the other side.
Why it works: This asana gives balance to your body and eases your nervous system. It creates a sense of relaxation and concentration for beginning your day with gratitude.
How to do it: Stand erect and keep the feet close to each other. Fold the hands in front of the chest in ‘namaskar’ position. Close the eyes and observe normal breathing.