Our health index does not include mental health as a parameter as the significance of mental health is not given the same amount of attention like that of physical health. Everyone is rushing to get material things, which is a side effect of and a symptom of rapid gratification but we fail to enjoy the journey because we are so preoccupied with the outcome.
Our greatest loss while suffering from poor mental health is the inability to appreciate what we currently have. According to health and fitness experts, Yoga suggests engaging in the certain asanas or poses that can be done early in the morning or in the evening to improve mental health.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle on World Mental Health Day, Himalayan Siddha Akshar, Founder of Akshar Yoga Research and Development Centre, said, “How well-synchronized are your ideas, feelings, bodily sensations, and the environment around you? Your ability to start paying attention in the present moment is a significant step toward enhancing your mental health. The mind is where everything truly begins and ends. Your mental health
determines how you look on the outside, regardless of how well you eat or how well you exercise. Your physical condition reflects how cognitively and physically strong you are.”
He asserted that we must recognise the importance of maintaining our mental health if we are to lead fulfilling lives and insisted that the mind and how we engage it are central to many practises, including Yoga, spirituality, meditation and mindful living. He suggested 5 effective Yoga asanas for improving your mental health:
1. Sukhasana (Happy Pose)
Method: Place your palms on your knees, make the Siddha Mudra, and sit up straight in Dandasana with both legs extended. Fold the left leg and tuck it inside the right thigh. Finally, fold the right leg and tuck it inside the left thigh.
2. Bakasana (Crane Pose)
Method: Starting with Samasthithi, you should position your palms flat slightly in front of but away from your feet. Point your fingers forward and apart. Slightly bend your elbows. Place your knees just below your armpits. Lean forward so that all of your weight is transferred to your arms. Remain balanced and slowly lift both of your feet off the ground. Bring your feet together, keep your arms as straight as you can, concentrate on one spot and hold this pose for a time.
3. Paschimottanasana – Seated forward bend
Method: Begin by assuming Dandasana. Make sure your knees are slightly bent and your legs are stretched out in front of you. Raise your arms upward while keeping your spine straight. With an exhale, bend forward at the hips to place your upper body on your lower body. Grip your big toes with your fingers. Try to touch your knees with your nose. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
4. Chakrasana (Wheel pose)
Method: Lay on your back. Ensure that your feet are firmly planted on the ground and bend your knees. Position your palms upward while bending your arms at the elbows. Put your palms on the floor on either side of your head and rotate your arms at the shoulders. Take a deep breath in, apply pressure to your legs and palms, and raise your entire body in an arch. Allow your head to softly droop behind you as you look back and relax your neck. All four of your limbs should equally bear the weight of your body. Maintain the position for 15 to 20 seconds.
5. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Method: Kneel on the mat and place your heels there. Breathe in and raise your arms above your head. Breathe out and bend your upper body forward. Put your forehead on the floor. Your pelvis should rest on your heels. Watch out for a rounded back.