Beating the Stress with Maruthi Yoga Kendra
Yoga Varishta (Issue 2) October 2021
Is stress playing a bigger role in your life than you would like it to? For most of us, the answer to that question is a resounding YES!
Stress is a fairly universal element of the modern human experience. While some stress is appropriate, even productive — too much stress can be quite harmful and can compromise our health physically, mentally, and emotionally. When most people talk about stress, they are usually referring to tension or emotional distress. Medically stress is defined as any condition or situation that places undue strain on the body.
The sources of this stress can be — physical illnesses, injuries, as well as numerous psychological factors including fear, feelings of anger or frustration, unusual happiness. Stress is not the same for everyone — what is considered almost unbearable stress for one person may be the spice of life for someone else. In either case, a stressor (a stimulus that causes stress) can trigger the body’s automatic stress response system. This sets the stage for decreased immunity and increased vulnerability to illnesses, ranging from the common cold to heart attacks and cancer.
In this issue, we will dive into unique and accessible ways to "beat the stress" from the comfort of your home office chairs.
Beat the Stress
Presented at TDU Heritage Amruth (Issue 17, Vol 2)
Yoga for Stress Relief and Management
Laye Sambhodaye Chittam
Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
— Vidya Lakshmi Vinod
Apan Vayu Mudra
The tip of the index finger should be pressed lightly against the root of the thumb and the second and the third finger should touch the inner tip of the thumb. Apan Vayu Mudra, also known as mritsanjeevani mudra, is a very powerful mudra. In ancient India, it was believed to save lives in the case of heart attacks. This mudra decreases the Vata element within the body.
Agni Shakti Mudra
Touch fingers of both hands to the palms, and join both tips of the thumbs together.
Hold the hands in front of the solar plexus. Interlock the fingers. Index fingers and thumbs of both hands should be joined together. While the index fingers point to the ceiling, point the thumbs to the floor.
Uttarabodhi mudra is great for improving self-confidence and realizing the inner Self. It removes fear and teaches one to not worry about anything and keep faith in a higher power.
Touch the tips of the index finger and thumb and keep the other 3 fingers (index, ring, and pinky finger) stretched, relaxed, and joined. Also known as the chin mudra, this is probably the most familiar mudra in mainstream society.
Gyan mudra increases your mental alertness and prevents drowsiness. This mudra connects us to our higher Self— helps lift dull energy out of the body, creates a more receptive state, calms the mind, and brightens the overall mood. It is often used in meditation, pranayama, and asana.
— Gayathri Guruprasad
Note: The solutions below are practiced using a sturdy and stable chair.
Chair Breathing Exercise
Many professionals have to spend the vast majority of their day sitting at their desks. After a time, high-stress work and poor posture can take its toll, leaving you uncomfortable, unfocused, and even anxious.
Luckily, there are things you can do to help relieve stress in a very discreet manner. Here is a look at a simple breathing exercise you can do at your desk to improve your stress levels as well as a few other options for reducing tension in the body.
— Ranjan Byre Gowda and Team
Chair loosening exercises
Work-related disorders aren’t just limited to heavy manufacturing or construction. They can occur in all types of industries and work environments, including office spaces. Research shows that repetitive motion, poor posture, and staying in the same position can cause or worsen musculoskeletal disorders.
Staying in one position while doing repetitive motions is typical of a desk job.
The habits we build at our desk, especially while sitting, can contribute to discomfort and health issues, including — neck and shoulder pain, obesity, musculoskeletal disorders, stress, lower back pain, carpal tunnel.
A seated workout encompasses far more than movements. Chair-based exercises will develop your cardio fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility. Here are some of the best chair exercises for all. Practice these basic movements, and choose one or two exercises from each category for a well-rounded seated workout.
Chair Suryanamaskar (Sun Salutation)
The Chair Suryanamaskar can be easily performed in the comfort of your office or home chair. Being in lockdown, we have been confined to our homes, leaving us stressed and anxious. It is essential now more than ever for all to focus on our physical, mental, and emotional health! While we are adjusting to the "new normal", there has been a growing need to find a sense of balance in our lives. This is where yoga comes in — a discipline that assists in keeping our immunity in check as well as manage stress and anxiety. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle — a minimum of 40-45 minutes of physical exercise in a day is recommended.
Sun Salutation (Variation: Sitting On Chair) is a sitting flow on a chair that is a modified practice of the traditional Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar). This seated flow has 12 poses — three of which are repeated with the primary emphasis given to the Knee-Head-Down Chair. With just this pose being an asymmetrical pose, and the other symmetrical — this practice brings a gentle balance between both sides of the body.
Sun Salutation (Variation: Sitting On the Chair) is beneficial for the arms, shoulders, neck, lower back, and chest. It’s very comforting to the nerves and helps relax the nervous system. This flow can be a quick way to ease and relax the body and mind when we spend long hours at the desk.
— Ranjan Byre Gowda
Nadi shuddhi pranayama
Stress is a process whereby an individual perceives and responds to events appraised as overwhelming or threatening to one’s well-being. Regular practice of Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama helps in reducing stress in medical students as evidenced by a corresponding decrease in cardiovascular autonomic parameters. It does so by downregulation of the HPA axis and the SNS. Ultimately, sympathetic dominance, vagal withdrawal, and baroreceptor impairments that result due to distress are corrected and homeostatic balance is reestablished. Therefore, slow breathing exercises such as Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama can be used as a stress-coping tool.
Bhramari Pranayama, also known as Humming Bee Breath, is a calming breathing practice that soothes the nervous system and helps to connect us with our truest inner nature. Bhramari is the Sanskrit word for “bee,” and this pranayama is so named because of the humming sound produced at the back of the throat during the practice—like the gentle humming of a bee.
Calms and quiets the mind by releasing cerebral tension
Stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands, supporting their proper functioning
Soothes the nerves — relieves stress and anxiety
Dissipates anger by lowering blood pressure
Supports the healing of bodily tissues that induces sound sleep
— Ranjan Byre Gowda and Team
Kapalbhati means ‘shining forehead’ and ‘Pranayam’ means ‘breathing exercise’ in Sanskrit. Practicing Kapalbhati is said to improve mental health and intellect. It is a yoga technique where one goes through passive inhalation and active exhalation.