MANO SUHAM (MENTAL WELL-BEING) IN THE TIME OF CORONA
Corona virus. The whole world has come to a screeching halt due to the effects of this dreadful disease. Every news channel is talking about it, and it seems to be the only point of discussion these days. In addition to this, the preventive measures of social distancing and nationwide lockdowns are further isolating individuals from accessing a lot of their regular habits. All these, along with the fear of potentially catching the virus, are adding a huge mental weight on most of us.
Ayurveda has always focused not just on physical wellness but also mental wellness. Mano suham, is one of the aspects of Ayurveda which must be followed to live a healthy and stress-free life. While there are several ayurvedic therapies which aid in lessening anxiety, preventing stress and aiding sleep such as Abhyangam, Shirodhara, Takradhara and more, there are also measures which can be taken right at home which can improve mental health almost immediately and leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed; ready to take on every day with a positive outlook.
Here is some insight on a few such practices which can drastically improve the state of your mind, and thereby allow the body to function harmoniously.
What is pranayama?
Pranayama is a popular ayurvedic practice which involves mindful breathing. Breathing is the most frequent activity done by our body, and is not something we think about often. However, it is most important as it allows the intake of oxygen which purifies our blood and keeps the pH balanced.
Pranayama, allows us to harness the full power of breathing and experience complete relaxation and relief from stress by stimulating the parasympathetic system in the body. Simply by breathing with intent, Ayurveda states that it is possible to drastically alter our mental state from that of anxiety and fatigue to one of happiness and contentment.
How to perform Pranayama?
There are various breathing techniques prescribed in Ayurveda which can target specific problems and assist in relieving them. Instructions for Nadi Pranayama, which promotes calmness and peace of mind is prescribed below.
- Sit in a comfortable position with the spine erect, or lie down on the floor with some padding.
- Close your eyes, or cover your eyes with an eye mask to promote concentration.
- Close your left nostril with your finger and inhale with your right nostril alone, deeply for 4-8 counts. Take care to breathe deeply, into your belly and not your chest.
- Exhale slowly for about 4 counts, all the while keeping the left nostril closed.
- Repeat the same by closing the right nostril and performing inhalation and exhalation using the left nostril. This is one cycle.
- Repeat this 10 times and observe your mental state.
Continue this for about 10 minutes. Practice every day for highly positive results.
What is yoga?
Ayurveda has always promoted yoga as an extremely therapeutic physical practice which not only aids in keeping the body healthy but also makes the mind healthy. There are several asanas or poses which are perfect for mental health enhancement. Yoga also keeps the body functioning without any hassle, and boosts the performance of the digestive system, immune system and respiratory system. Practicing it daily is sure to improve your overall mood and aid in a better night’s rest. This in turn will increase productivity and keep you both mentally and physically fit during this pandemic.
How to do Balasana?
While there are numerous asanas, this is a simple one which can help in stress relief and mental rejuvenation.
- Kneel down and sit on your knees.
- Bend forward and allow your chest to touch your thighs, with your hands stretched out resting comfortably on the sides.
- Hold this pose, and take mindful, deep breaths.
- Allow all worries to melt away and visualize a soft light spreading throughout your whole body and healing it, relaxing it.
- Perform this pose every day to experience relief from anxiety, worry, tension and more.
In addition to these two extremely therapeutic practices, Ayurveda also recommends dinacharya, a regimen for everyday ayurvedic lifestyle and a healthy inclusion of ayurvedic herbs in daily diet. Simple habits like drinking warm water throughout the day, eating mindfully and slowly without distraction and having a regular sleep schedule are all proven to positively impact mental health. Ayush offers consultation with highly skilled Ayurveda practitioners, during this time, who offer the best advice and tips on how to effectively implement Ayurveda into your life.