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Yoga for inner peace: 10 exercises to tackle anxiety and nurture mental health in New Year 2024

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Dec 29, 2023 05:28 PM IST

Made a resolution for mental well-being in the New Year 2024? Here are 10 Yoga exercises to help you combat anxiety and reach your wellness goals

Yoga experts claim that the ancient fitness practice offers practical tools to manage anxiety, promoting mental well-being and by incorporating certain straightforward Yoga exercises into your workout routine, you can cultivate a proactive approach to managing anxiety. If you, like us, made a resolution for mental well-being in the New Year 2024, we have good news to help you combat anxiety and reach your wellness goals.

Yoga for inner peace: 10 exercises to tackle anxiety and nurture mental health in New Year 2024 (Photo by Надя Кисільова on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, Founder of Akshar Yoga Kendraa, encouraged fitness enthusiasts to embrace the New Year 2024 with a commitment to our mental well-being through the transformative power of Yoga and suggested integrating the following 10 straightforward Yoga practices into your routine -

1. Pranayama and Breath Awareness:

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Begin with simple breath awareness exercises. Sit comfortably, inhale deeply through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Focus on the sensation of breath. This mindful breathing technique helps calm the nervous system, reducing anxiety.

2. Child's Pose (Balasana):

Practice Balasana to release tension. Kneel on the mat, sit back on your heels, and extend your arms forward. Rest your forehead on the mat. This gentle stretch relaxes the spine and promotes a sense of security, alleviating anxiety.

3. Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana):

Engage in Warrior Poses to build strength and resilience. These grounding asanas, like Virabhadrasana I and II, help channel energy positively, reducing stress. Hold these poses, focusing on the strength within.

4. Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani):

Soothe your nervous system with Viparita Karani. Lie on your back, placing your legs against a wall. This restorative pose enhances blood circulation and calms the mind, aiding in anxiety relief.

5. Corpse Pose (Savasana):

Conclude your yoga session with Savasana. Lie on your back, arms by your sides, and legs extended. This relaxation pose promotes deep rest, reducing overall stress levels and contributing to mental well-being.

6. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana):

Release tension in the back and shoulders with Paschimottanasana. Sit with legs extended, hinge at the hips, and reach forward. This forward bend stretches the spine and calms the mind, aiding in anxiety reduction.

7. Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana):

Move through Cat-Cow stretches to enhance flexibility and release tension in the spine. The rhythmic flow of these poses promotes a mind-body connection, fostering a sense of calm.

8. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana):

Strengthen your back and alleviate anxiety with Bridge Pose. Lie on your back, bend your knees, and lift your hips. This asana not only strengthens the spine but also promotes emotional balance.

9. Meditation:

Incorporate a brief meditation practice. Find a quiet space, sit comfortably, and focus on your breath or use a guided meditation. Regular meditation enhances mindfulness, allowing you to manage anxious thoughts more effectively.

10. Healing Walk

Healing walk is a special type of body dynamics wherein we form a structure and then use the structure to walk. It is believed that by following this particular method of practice we will be able to prevent and even eliminate many types of diseases that affect the body which even medical science does not have a cure for yet. Whether a person is suffering from physical issues, emotional, mental, or spiritual, healing walk takes care of all these different aspects of one's being.

Lift your arms up keeping them at shoulder width distance. Now, start walking with your arms raised in this position and your hands can be up in the air for 1-3 minutes. Initially this may not be possible as you will have to train the muscles of your arms and shoulders and strengthen them. Build up to 1-3 minutes gradually by starting of with a minute increase and so on until you are physically capable enough with the strength required to hold your arms up for 1-3 minutes straight. One round practice will require you to perform a minimum of three sets of these walks of minimum 1-3 minutes each.

Take your Yoga practice off the mat with this mindful walking. Focus on each step, grounding yourself in the present moment. This walking meditation can be a powerful tool for managing anxiety throughout your day.

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