YOGA POSTURES FOR GAINING CLARITY OF MIND AND PEACE
Yoga asanas are known for enhancing the flexibility of the body and in providing adequate strength to the body. But when we hold these postures for a longer duration then they increase the concentration power leading to the clarity of mind and peace. They broaden our mental faculties and spiritual capacities. There are certain postures which relax the mind, erases all tensions and worries, get rid of fear and anger. Some of the postures can help you to attain clarity of mind and peace in this world of chaos.
PADMASANA (LOTUS POSE)
Padmasana or Lotus pose is an ideal posture for doing meditation. The long hours of meditation require calm mind and that tranquillity is provided by Padmasana. The word ‘Padma’ in the Sanskrit language means lotus. The manner in which beautiful lotus arises from the muddy swamp, in a similar way our body attains liberation from all the diseases by doing this asana. This posture is acquired by the practitioner at the beginning and at the end of the yoga session.
For assuming the posture: Straighten out both the legs. Bend your left knee and place your right foot on the left of the inner thigh. Ensure that the heel is close to the abdomen. Now repeat the given step with the other leg. Both the legs are crossed and feet are placed on top of the opposite inner thighs. Lengthen your spine, remember your back shouldn’t get round. Place your hands in Chin Mudra on the knees. Open your chest and breathe deeply. Maintain the soft gaze or close your eyes, look inwards and focus towards Ajna Chakra (Third Eye). Retain and enjoy the posture as long as you can. This posture is best suited for breathing exercises (Pranayama). In case beginners are not able to fold their both legs then they can sit in Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose) according to which one can place anyone leg on the opposite of the inner thigh. Gradually with practice, they would be able to gain mastery over this asana and enjoy the benefits of this dynamic asana. Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara) stretches also prepare the body for this asana.
An advanced practitioner can bring his hands behind the back and firmly hold his right and left toes with right and left hand respectively in order to gain perfection in this posture. This posture stimulates and tones all the digestive organs and enhances the digestive fire. It is one of the best hip-opening asanas. It gives flexibility to the joints and the ligaments a good stretch to the ankles and knees and relieves the sciatica pain. It stimulates the gallbladder, spleen, kidneys, liver, and bowel. This asana enhances memory, intellectual capacity and improves concentration. If you meditate in Lotus position for half an hour daily, you will be able to face the challenges of life with peace and spiritual strength.
Uttanasana(STANDING FORWARD BEND)
Uttanasana is one of the standing postures. It provides great flexibility to the spine and limbs. It regulates the breathing and focuses the mind. It relieves the body from the stress and fills the mind with peace. Its name is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Ut’ means intense, ‘Tan’ means stretch and ‘asana’ means posture.
For assuming the posture- Stand erect with feet together. Inhale and raise the arms over the head, keep them straight and next to the ears. Exhale slowly as you stretch the body downwards, bending from the hips and ensure that knees shouldn’t bend. Catch hold of the back of the legs and bring the forehead in as close to the knees as possible. Try to lengthen the upper torso with each inhalation. Place your palms on the floor beside your feet or hold your hands at the back of your ankles. Beginners can initially try to touch their feet and try to retain the posture at least for five seconds. Advanced practitioners should increase their time and retain the posture at least for three minutes. Make sure that the weight of the body relies on the balls of the feet. Feel the hips stretching upwards and knees are straight. For coming out of the posture, inhale and stretch up until you have returned to the original standing position with arms stretched over the head. This asana makes the spine supple and elastic, mobilizes the joints and invigorates the entire nervous system. The hamstrings and other muscles on the back of the legs and lower body are stretched. Head receives the good blood supply to the brain as a result mind gets rejuvenated. It helps in reducing the unwanted fat accumulated on the abdomen and develops good posture. It improves body balance and coordination. It rectifies shortening of the legs owing to fracture of the leg or thighbones. The body feels light and rejuvenated as this asana enables the body to eliminate the toxins. This asana improves digestion, activates abdominal muscles and stimulates kidney, liver, and spleen. It activates the nervous and endocrine system. It combats several ailments such as insomnia, asthma, depression and reduces high blood pressure. Uttanasana stimulates and balances Muladhara Chakra. As you stretch the back of your hamstring muscles, you will experience calmness and patience which will energize your Muladhara Chakra. This posture expels your fears and prevails the sense of security, confidence, and commitment which is very essential for the clarity of mind and peace.
SAVASANA (CORPSE POSE)
Savasana is believed to be the easiest one but if it is not done properly then we can’t reap its benefits. This asana has the potential to provide instant relaxation and rejuvenation to the body and mind. But if we have a long day at the workplace or our mind is busy with irrelevant thoughts then we won’t be able to do this asana. The moment we will try either we will doze off due to tiredness or feel tension and stiffness in certain muscles. It’s important to understand the relevant nuances related to this dynamic asana. Always focus on the breath while doing this asana, it should be longer and deeper, so by observing the breath, it’s easier to disengage our mind from the trivial issues which distract us and spoil our concentration. Try to maintain the steadiness in your postures as this asana affects the deeper and subtle parts of our body. The endocrine system comprising of glands and hormones get rejuvenated and helps to balance the emotion and improves the wellbeing of our mind. This practice will put our mind in a meditative state and then it will become easier for the body to go in for the deep relaxation. The concentration which we build up while doing this asanas continues till the end which enables us to do savasana with complete awareness which eventually relieves the tension and relax us. As we develop the skill with study and practice we can do it any time of the day. Still, we should go through the procedure for once.
For assuming the posture: Lie flat on the back with feet half a meter apart and arms should be placed at the angle of 45 degrees, palms are facing upward direction. Gently close your eyes and focus the mind on your breath. While doing inhalation abdomen should expand and during exhalation, the abdomen should contract. After few yogic breaths restore back to normal breathing, shift your concentration to the body and try to feel every organ mentally. Send the message of relaxation fist to the tired muscles and then to the internal organs of the body. This autosuggestion should begin with the toes and end with the head. Through this asana, muscular and skeletal tension is consciously relaxed. Most important is that sensory stimulation and external distractions are ultimately minimized and the body is at ease and peace. Imagine that body is submerging in the reservoir of calmness. Then concentrate inwards and bring your attention to Ajna chakra or third eye.
While doing Savasana it’s important to induce the conscious relaxation in the body. Remember the troubleshooter is uneven breathing pattern or emotions and vagaries of the mind. This asana calms the mind, relieves tension, lowers the blood pressure and improves sleep. It cures several mental problems like insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression and nervous weakness. It improves concentration, increases the ability to focus and makes memory strong. In today’s hectic lifestyle it can bring instant relief to the office goers, students or people working in a stressful environment.