Life of man has become very comfortable since the past 50 odd years or so due to modern technology and new inventions. But with a more comfortable life, hectic life styles, mental stress due to more competition and greed have robbed the mental peace.
Result is a person has means of enjoyment and comfort but is unable to enjoy them. Due to the mental stress, many stress related diseases like hypertension, heart diseases, e.t.c. are also on the rise.
Some people tend to take sedatives and tranquilizers to calm the restless mind. These drugs are addictive in the long run and have side effects. Some tend to find solace in addictions which are harmful.
Yoga offers safe, economical simple techniques for mental relaxation which can be done easily by anyone.
While doing exercises for improving mental health, first one is as follows – sit straight with thumb blocking the ears and fingers spread over the forehead. Then taking a deep breath in, utter, “Om” or “amen” (This sound is said to be synchronous with the sound produced due to the vibration of the earth), while exhaling. Due to this sound it is called, “bhramri pranayama”.
This exercise is said to improve mental concentration, memory and also provides mental relaxation. Eyes can be closed for concentration. It should not be done more than 5 times.
Another useful exercise is, “kapalbhati pranayama”. In this, one inhales deeply and then exhales through the stomach. This exercise is useful for improving mental concentration and relaxation.
This can be done for about 5 minutes or up to 10 to 20 times.
“Anulom vilom” or breathing through alternate nostris is a very simple technique. One has to inhale from the right nostril, while keeping the left one closed with a thumb.
Thereafter, one opens the closed left nostril and exhales through it. The same procedure is repeated, by inhaling through the left nostril by keeping the right one closed.
Breath is exhaled through the right nostril. In this way one can breathe from alternate nostrils up to 100 times. By doing this exercise regularly, a person feels fresh all day and can concentrate more on work.
“Shavasana” or adopting a position like a corpse (shav in Sanskrit means a dead body) – is an excellent technique for relaxation.
To do it, a person has to lie down flat on a mat with arms and legs spread flung far from the body and fingers and toes spread open.
In this position the individual has to breathe slowly and focus on the breathing. He or she should let the mind dwell on something positive and beautiful.
Those who practice this regularly, say that after doing so for 10 to 15 minutes, they feel as fresh as after a deep sleep of 8 hours.
All these exercises can be done at home, the only condition being that the stomach should be empty, i.e. in the morning before breakfast or 2 hours after food.
The only thing needed is a blanket or mat to sit on. The ideal position, is cross legged with the back straight but if that is difficult, one can sit with legs spread straight in front or sit on a chair.
It should be started from a small time and then the number and time can be increased slowly. One can do all or one or two of these techniques depending on his interest and time.
These exercises are useful for mental relaxation, improving memory, stabilizing the mind, helping in giving up addictions and keeping one stress free.
They provide other benefits like, removing clots from blood vessels, clearing mucous from the chest and sinuses, improving circulation in the brain and the whole body.
Thus they are useful in case of chronic diseases like hypertension, asthma, e.t.c in many ways.
These benefits have been proved by various studies done in many hospitals world wide. Those interested can start doing it. They will definitely benefit provided they do it regularly.