Fitness

Sound mind, sound body

When you worry intensely about anything, your thoughts raceand weave around each other. They replay scenarios over and over as if trying to force reality to bend the way you want it to. These thoughts could be about the past or the future, about money, relationships or survival, but the process is almost always futile. There are many who constantly live with this hyperactive mind — in stress and under the stigma of possibly being mentally ill. The body and emotional state also take a beating as the brain cannot distinguish between imagined stress and real stress, and responds by raising adrenaline levels, distorting digestion, and increasing blood pressure and heart rate. The worst thing about this is that without intervention, diseases in the body and mind could multiply, leading to a complete breakdown.

What your mind needs is some training that will allow it to take a step back and relax. Breathing practices are usually the easiest way to give yourself the break that you require. Ujjayi Pranayama is a gentle way to restore the imbalances in your mind-body complex and bring about some sense of mental equilibrium. The body responds to this practice by detoxing , lowering raised blood pressure and soothing the nervous system. The circuits in the brain which were previously devoted to frantic problem solving are now freed up for creative thinking. Though the process will not take effect immediately, regular practice will show results that are inspiring and lasting.

Ujjayi Pranayama (The Victorious Breath)

Named so because it encourages you to expand your chest and diaphragm fully like a victorious warrior would, this breathing practice is usually coupled with a yoga asana practice. Do this once in the morning and whenever you feel overwhelmed by racing thoughts.

Sit comfortably on the ground or a chair with your back straight and chin level to the ground.

Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breathing as a way of centring your concentration.

Inhale and expand your abdomen and chest. Upon exhalation gently contract your glottis (the back of the mouth) to create a gentle 'hhhhh' sound.

From the next inhalation and exhalation onwards, create the same sound giving the same amount of time to both inhalation and exhalation.

Repeat 20 to 50 times.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 5:43:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fitness/sound-mind-sound-body/article6575058.ece

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