W.H. Davies rightly said, “What a life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.”
Though written years ago, these lines stand true with regard to the life of most women today. Lost in the hustle and bustle of modern life, today’s woman is a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a consummate professional in her field, with very little time for the much-deserved relaxation. She is on her toes all the time, taking care of her numerous responsibilities, even at the cost of her health. Some of the problems faced by women today due to their hectic lifestyles include mental stress and tension, back pain, hypertension, anemia, fatigue, irregular or heavy menstruation, early menopause, sleep disorders, aches and pains, etc.
Whatever the problem is, relief lies in the continuous practice of yoga. Though all the above-mentioned ailments have different yogic schedules and treatments, keeping in mind the busy modern lifestyle, here are few of the common and instant yoga remedies for women. Yog Sadhna should be performed everyday in fresh air or in an airy room on an empty stomach, wearing comfortable cotton clothes, preferably at dawn.
Stretching: Stretching develops physical and mental balance. The entire spine and muscles are stretched followed by withdrawal and relaxation, helping to clear up congestion of spinal nerves at the points where they emerge from the spinal column, and stretching the abdominal muscles and intestines. It provides deep relaxation after a tiring day; tones up all the systems of the human body; and helps in the proper circulation of blood and oxygen, which adds natural beauty, removes fatigue and aging symptoms, and refreshes the practitioner. It is highly beneficial in cases of back pain and stress. It is also useful during the first six months of pregnancy to keep the abdominal muscles and nerves toned and strong.
Method: Lie flat on the back. Raise the arms over the head while inhaling, and stretch the body. Stretch the whole body from top to bottom, holding the breath and the position for a few seconds. Then slowly bring the hands down while exhaling, and relax the entire body. This is one round. Practice five to ten rounds.
Katichakra: This is a wonderful posture to relieve stress. Stretching the spinal muscles relieves the strain and stiffness caused by prolonged sitting or standing; rectifies disorders of the hip joint; relieves tightness and tiredness in the lower back; and gives an excellent stretch to the abdominal muscles and organs, thereby improving digestion and eliminating constipation.
Method: Lie flat on the back. Bend the knees and place the soles of both feet flat on the ground. Bring the heels closer to the buttocks, keeping the knees and feet together throughout the practice. Interlock the fingers of both hands and place the palms under the back of the head. While inhaling, lower the legs to the right, trying to bring the knees down to the floor turning the head and neck to the left, giving a uniform twisting stretch to the entire spine. The feet should remain in contact with each other, although the left foot will move slightly off the floor. Hold the breath in the final position for a few seconds and then raise both legs to the upright position while exhaling. Shoulders and elbows will remain on the floor throughout the practice. Repeat on the left side to complete one round. Practice five to six rounds.
Sukshma Dhyana: Sukshma Dhyana relaxes the whole psycho-physiological system and provides strength to the practitioner. It helps in gaining confidence, restores natural beauty and peace of mind. It is highly beneficial in cases of sleep disorders, depression, tension, stress and disturbed blood pressure. It improves memory power, mental abilities, and induces powers like telepathy and intuition if practiced regularly.
Method: Sit in any comfortable meditation posture (preferably Padmasana). Keep your eyes closed, back straight (but not stiff ), head, neck and spine in a straight line, and palms in Gyan mudra or Brahmanjali mudra – place the right hand on the top of left, so that the palms of both hands are facing up. Both hands then rest in the lap. Stop all physical movements, relax the whole body, and become aware of the natural flow of the breath with each inhalation and exhalation.
Now take the awareness to the Agya chakra – the central point between the eyebrows, and try to visualize the whole body in the sitting position. Take the awareness from sthool (macro) to sukshma (micro) and visualize only the upper half of the body for a few seconds. Gradually become aware of the face only and visualize the spiritual glow and peace on the face through closed eyes for a few seconds only. Then let the face also fade out and just concentrate on the eyes, filled with confidence and purity. Finally, let the eyes too fadeout and bring the entire awareness to the Agya chakra, the space between the eyebrows, and try to visualize the sun or just a glowing bindu at this point. Hold the awareness for a couple of minutes.
Slowly feel the rays of the sun spreading in the entire body providing strength, stamina and speed; providing power and peace; providing beauty and confidence and above all, proving to be a source of physical, mental and spiritual health. Slowly let the rays fade out; visualize the eyes, then the upper half of the body and finally the entire body. Hold the awareness for some time and slowly open the eyes.