Among the busy and hectic schedules of our daily lives, stress can seem inevitable. Thus, a conscious investment in designing a healthy body and mind for yourself is very necessary. Yoga and Meditation are two benign activities which are believed to be extremely beneficial. When these two powerful techniques are practiced together, a strong spiritual connection between the two beneficiaries, namely the mind and the body, is reinforced thereby bettering health and wellbeing. As opposed to the traditional yoga practice, the focus in Mindful yoga lies in achieving a state of body-mind awareness and amplify senses spiritually.
The Mindful Yogic Drill:
1. Savasana or Corpse Yoga Pose
It is one of the major meditative yoga poses usually done at the end of the yogic practice. Surrendering your full weight to gravitational forces is intended to provide the mind and body with some restorative time to the body and mind after an exercise or Yoga session. As opposed to the physical action involved in the pose, it is considered one of the most difficult poses. The reason being that it takes a conscious effort to take a break from all the rushing thoughts and be present in the moment with the body.
How to do the Savasana or Corpse Yoga Pose:
Lie down on your back on a yoga mat or anywhere you feel comfortable. Spread your arms out with palms facing up and your feet 12-15 inches apart. Slowly, bring all your awareness to your breathing. It might seem difficult at first to make the active thinking of your mind come to a stop. Simply acknowledge the existence of thoughts in your mind passing by. Do not address them. Concentrate on the movement of your breath, inside and outside. Take notice of how your body responds to it. When the mind digresses, slowly bring it back to your breathing.
Here's a video guide to help.
Health Benefits from doing the Savasana or Corpse Yoga Pose:
Savasana Yoga has numerous health and wellness benefits. For the body, it helps in calming the nerves of the body and stimulates the digestive and immune system. It is known to curtail headaches and helps in rejuvenating the body, drying it of any fatigue and lethargy. On a psychological level, Savasana pacifies your mind and keeps stress levels by keeping blood pressure in check. It creates a sense of spiritual awareness and makes you feel connected with yourself on a higher level of consciousness.
2. Chakravakasana or Cat-Cow Yoga Pose
You don’t necessarily have to be a cow to display and feel peace in your eyes or be a cat to be indifferent to worries! The Cat-Cow pose is an integration of the Cat pose and the Cow pose in the Yogic practice. Indulging in it mindfully, your body and mind are filled with a sense of freedom and contentment within no time. The physical action looks easy yet the pose has significantly powerful impact on the mind. Synchronizing the bodily movements with breathing has deep spiritual influence.
How to do the Chakravakasana or Cat-Cow Yoga Pose:
Start by coming on your and hands, gently aligning them with your shoulders and hips. Slowly inhale a deep breath and expand your abdomen towards the floor and your spine softly bending with your bust like a backbend. Raise your head and your tailbone upwards facing the ceiling. On exhaling, shape your back round and your tailbone dipped between your legs, without putting pressure on your chin to touch the bust. The body and breath movement in coordination may witness some diversion of the mind. Consciously bring your attention back to you breath to keep it connected with your body throughout.
Here's a video guide to help.
Health Benefits from doing the Chakravakasana or Cat-Cow Yoga Pose:
The main benefits reaped from this Yoga pose is the improvement in posture. It helps in bringing a balance to the body and therefore reduces back pain to a great extent. It strengthens the adrenal glands and internal abdomen. The muscles are thoroughly stretched and any tension built up in them is released. The pose also helps greatly in relaxing menstrual cramps. The Cat-Cow pose instils coordination and conscious focus in your mind. This renders a higher stability of mind. Aligning the breath with the spine is extremely beneficial in relieving stress and feel the inner-self fulfilled with content and joy.
3. Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Yoga Pose
The Ardha Matsayendrasana is somewhat intricate to perform. However, it is justified with the long list of benefits it entails. The ancient yogic texts have described it is so strong a pose in terms of its gains that they say it has the power to kill many a life threatening diseases. The pose cleanses the internal body and helps in instilling a feeling of activeness and brings the presence of mind back into the moment.
How to do the Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Yoga Pose:
Start by sitting with your back straight with the legs spread. Put your right leg over your left foot softly sliding the foot under it. Place the sole of your left foot firmly on the ground while using your left arm to hug your right leg. Gently plant your right hand on the ground. Carefully twist your neck, shoulders and waist towards the right, focussing on your base of the spine in a straight motion. Do not put pressure on the neck and slowly breathe in and out. The twisting position may seem uncomfortable but fixating on your breathing motion.
Here's a video guide to help.
Health Benefits from doing the Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Yoga Pose:
Ardhya Matsyasana stretches the spines, muscles and neck thereby improving flexibility. Keeping the spine straight helps in reliving back pain, reliving built up pressure. It also assists in improving digestive system and aids hugely in asthma, if the breath is inhaled and exhaled though the nose. The pose also induces hunger thereby increasing appetite. Psychologically, the breathing techniques along with a slight pressure on the body help in tapping the nerves and relieving mental stress and improving blood circulation. It is extremely beneficial in rejuvenating and refreshing the brain.
4. Vriskshasana or Tree Yoga Pose
One of the most famous yoga poses, the Vrikshasana brings a stillness inside just like that of a tree. The position is known to bring balance and composure in body and mind alike. Focusing on maintaining a steady posture without being affected by external distractions renders a strong meditative aspect to it, inducing a calmness and peace to both body and mind.
How to do the Vriskshasana or Tree Yoga Pose:
Practicing this pose is not as physically challenging as it is mentally. Stand with your back straight. Loosen your arms to the sides and slowly start shifting your body weight to the right foot. Inhale in slow deep breaths while lifting your left leg bending the knee. Gently lift your left hand and using it, place your left foot on your inner thigh. Adjust your position in a way that you are in complete alignment with the centre of your abdomen. Position your hands to your chest, folded in a prayer manner. Look straight and pick a point to fix your concentration at. Gently fixate your eyes onto it and take slow deep breaths. Feel your mind being present in the moment and lose all excessive thoughts. After a while, slowly lift your arms above your hand and join them in a prayer position again, all this while focussing on the breath. You will experience a feeling of light-headedness and calm.
Here's a video guide to help.
Health Benefits from doing the Vriskshasana or Tree Yoga Pose:
Vrikshasana has numerous health benefits in its cap. It helps in achieving a better posture of the body and balancing the state of physical as well as mental being. Standing during the position strengthens the feet ligaments and tones the lower body. The tree pose sync body and mind together which facilitates a better nervous system. The psychological well-being is greatly benefitted as focussing on breathing helps in reducing stress, relieving the mind of pent up pressure and achieving clarity of thoughts.
Why Mindful Yoga?
Yoga and Meditation are two practices that have proven to aid the body and mind in more ways than one can imagine. They do not just help us achieve a healthy body but influence a great deal to our lifestyle. Especially during the pandemic, there is a need to incorporate them now more than ever. Mindful Yoga is one such way of practicing the two together. It is a blend of Yoga with Buddhist style mindfulness practice. It serves dual purpose; by acting as a means of exercise and simultaneously a meditative activity. Consciously making the brain focus on the breathing gives a sense of control over life which helps in living mindfully i.e. in the present moment. The awareness of our body movements establishes an intimate relationship with the inner self, allowing us to experience the freedom and strip off all the negativity and judgement that binds us. It leads down the path of spiritual awakening.
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Muskan Nagpal tries to bring her name to life by working towards spreading smiles whenever she can. She is a focused person and works extremely hard towards anything she sets her mind to. She believes effort and hard work always pay off, in one way or another. She is an adaptive person and adjusts to dynamic changes in the workspace and at the same time grows along with it. The universe is full of positive energy, all it takes is a keen eye to look. She is an ardent believer of giving out to the universe and try to engage and build herself to be capable enough to be able to give out good energy into the universe, through her work or otherwise. She is always up for meaningful conversations, learning new things and gaining insight into different aspects whenever and however she can!