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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

Dr. S Sriman Narayanan

Presented at TDU Heritage Amruth (Issue 17, Vol 2)







 

Yoga for Stress Relief and Management


Hymn


Laye Sambhodaye Chittam



Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah

— Vidya Lakshmi Vinod


 

Mudra

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.

 

Uttarabodhi Mudra


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.


 

Gyan Mudra



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.


Breathing exercise

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.


Hand-in-and-out Breathing


 

Hand-Stretch Breathing


 

Forward-and-Backward Bending


— Ranjan Byre Gowda and Team

 

Loosening Exercises

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

 

Pranayama

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

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.

Benefits

  • 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

 

Kriya

Kapalbhati

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.


— Ranjan Byre Gowda and Team

 

Meditation

Nadhanusundhana

It comes under Laya pranayama — a combination of pranayama and meditation. In this state, one experiences surface awareness to three-dimensional awareness and then to all-pervasive awareness. Sound vibration along with Pranayama is used to further grow awareness.

Different sounds like A, U, M & AUM are produced loudly so that they generate a fine resonance all over the body using different Mudras. These resonant sounds act as stimulations and the post resonance silence deepens the awareness and releases even very subtle tensions.

— Ranjan Byre Gowda and Team

 

Ayurveda and Nutrition when Stressed


Ayurveda shines in its capacity to distill a host of complex maladies (ailment) into an elegantly simple collection of qualitative patterns, which help to illuminate a clear path toward healing for each individual. The Ayurvedic approach to managing stress is a beautiful example of this.


Nutritional Needs when under stress:

When under stress, some people are always hungry and tend to binge on food, while others have to force themselves to eat. Because stress interferes with digestion, it is better to eat four to six small meals spaced throughout the day instead of the traditional three large ones.


Carbohydrate-rich meals can increase the levels of serotonin, which is a brain chemical that is known to induce a feeling of calm. Studies have shown that stress-prone individuals who eat a diet higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein had less stress-induced depression. (Stress Exposure, Food Intake, and Emotional State)


Tips for eating when under stress:

Good nutrition is especially important during periods of stress. Food provides energy, vitamins, and minerals for dealing with stress and helps to counter the negative effects on the body’s immune system. Citrus fruit, capsicums, and potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which helps your body increase resistance against infection under stress. People who consume 1000mg of vitamin C every day have milder increases in blood pressure and lower levels of stress hormones. (The role of vitamin C in stress-related disorders). Foods high in zinc such as seafood, meat, poultry, milk, eggs, whole grains, and nuts also help to keep your immune system healthy.


Some steps to help you eat during stressful times are:

  • Eat breakfast — If you are running on an empty tank, stress can be more difficult to handle.

  • Eat slow — Eating quickly is often associated with digestive upset and this coupled with stress can make your food difficult to digest.

  • Do not diet — changing eating habits induces more stress during stressful times.

  • Limit caffeine and alcohol — They can affect your mood and sleep patterns. Alcohol can also increase depression.

  • Listen to your body — avoid foods that cause you discomfort or digestive disorders.


Comfort Foods:

Almost everyone has a favorite food that provides comfort during stressful times. For some, it is a food that harks back to childhood. Others crave chocolate or sweets — which increase the production of serotonin (a brain chemical that has a calming effect). Soups are also common choices, as well as childhood favorites like rice pudding, custards, yogurt, and omelets. Reflect within to explore what works best for you.


Chocolate

Sweet combats Pitta (fire energy) and Vata (air energy), which are the forces behind stress and fatigue. Chocolate satiates both body and mind and releases ‘feel-good factors’ like endorphins in the body.


Nuts

Cashew, walnuts, and almonds are rich in 'good fat' and linoleic acid which helps in reducing mental stress.


Milk

Warm milk soothes our systems and is very satisfying due to its complete nutritional supplements. (Dr. Prasanna Kakunje)


Coconut Water

Calming, satisfying, soothing, and nourishing — coconut water also supplements potassium in the body and helps in combating muscular stress as well.


Fruits

Berries, Bananas, Sweet Orange, Amla (Indian Gooseberry) help to calm down the fire energy (Pitta) and reduce stress by supplementing a good amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 (Dr. Prasanna Kakunje).


“In general, all bland and/or sweet foods are calming and stress-relieving, due to their Vata- (air) and Pitta- (fire) pacifying nature,” Dr. Kakunje says. “Vata and Pitta are the factors [that] are the stimulants and driving forces behind all mental and physical functions, and hence, calming them down helps to reduce that ‘adrenaline rush’ in the body, thereby helping in calming and reducing anxiety.


Herbs and Essential Oils:

Herbs used as essential oils, massage oils, herbal tea, and in food can help the body and mind to combat stress. These herbs improve immune function and reduce fatigue. In Ayurveda, they are considered as Vata-and Pitta-reducing herbs.

  • Chamomile — Calming

  • Pennywort (Brahmi) — Calming, memory booster

  • Ashwagandha — Nerve tonic, stress reliever

  • Mint — Soothing, calming

  • Lavender — Calming


Sesame and Coconut Oil

Calming oils work when they are applied to the skin, but you can also use sesame or coconut oil in food for a similar effect, says Chef Rout. Apart from calming the mind, these oils also benefit your heart and metabolism.



Foods to Avoid:

Because stress can play havoc with normal digestion, foods that normally are well tolerated may trigger indigestion and heartburn when you are going through stress.

Fatty foods, which are digested slowly, should be avoided as much as possible. Some may also find that hot or spicy foods cause them problems during times of stress.

Avoid caffeinated drinks, which can contribute to jittery, anxious feelings. Instead, substitute your coffee for herbal teas such as — chamomile and peppermint, which have a calming effect. You can also choose to switch out your coffee with low-fat milk or fruit juice. If you must drink coffee, choose decaffeinated.


Remember to eat and sleep well — you can handle whatever life throws at you much better when you have a full belly and are well-rested!


— Anupama Ashok

 

Testimonials



Ramya Vasanth

Certified Yoga Teacher (YIC) from Maruthi Yoga Kendra; Yoga practitioner for 9 years.



Vidya Lakshmi

Certified Yoga Teacher (YIC) from

Maruthi Yoga Kendra and Dance Instructor



 

Classes and Workshops


All classes are held Monday to Friday at Indian Standard Time (IST). Practitioners around the world are welcome to join us. For more information on the classes and how to join, please feel free to contact us.

In addition to regular yoga classes, we conduct workshops on the weekend for — stress management, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, depression, and back pain. Please feel free to contact us for further information.

 

Congratulations to YIC 2021 (6th Batch)!

We are excited to watch you grow in your future endeavors!

 

What can you do with a Yoga Instructors Course (YIC) Certification?

  • B.Sc in Yoga

  • B.Sc in Yoga Education

  • M.Sc in Yoga

  • M.Sc in Yoga Education

  • Ph.D. in Yoga

  • Post Graduation Diploma in Yoga Therapy (PGDYT)

  • PGDYT Masters in Business Administration (MBA)

  • PGDYT for Doctors (PGDYTD)

  • Certification in Yoga

To speak with folks who have completed one or more of the aforementioned degrees or to explore a path that may work for you, please feel free to contact us.

 

About Yoga Varishta

In 2020, at the beginning of COVID-19, our Yoga Instructor Certificate (YIC) course of 300 hrs moved from in-person to online. During this time, we noticed a lack of resources so our team began gathering information and educating YIC participants. As the year went on, students became invested in researching their own resources and sharing them with their peers. A year later, we accumulated an abundance of knowledge and information and decided to share it with everyone to make it more accessible in the yoga community.


Mission

Our mission is to share the knowledge of yoga with our practitioners across the globe and overcome the current barriers through the use of technology.


Vision

Our magazine will be a tool to increase accessibility and visibility in the South Asian Yoga Community and make it available on a global platform to allow practitioners around the world to learn more about the roots and growth of Yoga.


Value

Yoga Varishta has been created with the following values

  • Knowledge and Implementation of Knowledge

  • Creativity and Innovation

  • Confidence, Clarity, and Continuity

  • Honesty, Integrity & Service