Yoga for Everyday Ailments
Recently, my wrists have been paining me. It hurts so much and I really need to fix the pain because I have to type all day. Do you have any suggestions?
-Nisha R., age 32, Baluwatar
Wrist pains? You aren’t the only one. Long hours spent typing at your desk or lap-top computer will ensure a variety of aches and pains that may arise almost out of nowhere. Don’t worry. From now on, while you’re at your office and while you’re away at home or elsewhere, take a few minutes to do one simple exercise.
Lift both your arms, forming a T shape with your entire body. Keep your arms super straight and engaged, spread your finger tips wide. Slowly, as you inhale, lift your palms so it looks like they’re facing an imaginary wall. Keep your arms engaged; as you slowly exhale, rotate your palms facing downward. Inhale, repeat the motion with your palms facing the walls beside you and exhale; again, bring your palms facing downward once more. Repeat this exercise for a total of 10 times. Always inhale on the up and exhale on the down. Enjoy the relief you are sure to feel once you do this daily!
Dashain is around the corner and I have a problem controlling myself with sweets. Every year I gain 2-3 kg within the week of festivals, but it takes the whole year to lose the weight. This year I want to be armed with a solution before a problem begins!
-Deepti A., age 29, Chapagaun
Sugar seems to be the glue that bonds us Nepalis together during the Dashain festivals. This year alone, the government has reportedly made preparations to import over 20,000 tonnes of sugar for the holidays. Surely, as the demand increases, so will the prices. If the hike in cost is not enough to deter you from indulging in sweets this Dashain, try a simple breathing technique called Anulom Vilom. Technically, it’s simply alternate breathing, but scientifically speaking, it is a great exercise to help curb your cravings, whether it’s for sel or khasi ko masu.
Sitting in a cross-legged position, place the thumb of your right hand over your right nostril. Inhale a deep breath in through your left nostril. Retain your breath for a moment, then press the ring finger of your right hand on your left nostril and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, press your right thumb over your right nostril, retain your breath and releasing your ring finger from your left nostril, exhale. This completes one round. For the most effective outcome, aim for a total of 10 rounds. Anulom Viloma helps take your mind off cravings, oxygenates your mind to calm your nerves and best of all, you can do this exercise on a full or empty stomach!
I have trouble falling asleep. For two weeks now, I have been wide awake for hours and feel irritable during the day. Is there any yoga exercise for insomniacs like me?
-Vijay K., age 39, Naxal
Yes, you are definitely in luck! There is an entire practice of Yoga called Yog Nidra which encourages a state of resting that allows you to eventually relax into a deep sleep. Before we get into the details of Yog Nidra, make sure you have unplugged your TV or iPad, laptop or radio prior to your bedtime. Our bodies are hard-wired to follow the circadian rhythm which means we must follow the same routine as our ancestors who had no electricity. If there is any light—artificial or sunlight—in our rooms when we try to sleep, our minds are tricked into thinking it’s still daytime and will try their best to stay alert and awake. Keep your room dark and set your bedtime at the same time daily—we are creatures of habit that need routine even for rest.
Okay, so you’ve unplugged, you’re unwinding and you still can’t fall asleep? Maybe you have thoughts about your job, your family, money concerns, whatever it is that’s running through your mind. Remember this: it’s your mind and yours to control. Practicing Yog Nidra is very simple. Lie on your bed with your arms beside your hips and close your eyes. Relax your palms so your fingers gently curl upward. Relax your legs, neck and face. Breathing deeply, mentally scan every single part of your body.
Begin with the right side. Send a wave of relaxation through your right toes, foot, ankle, shin, knee, thigh and continue—mentally—spreading that sense of relaxation down your left leg and foot. Do the same for your entire body and before you reach the crown of your head you’ll find yourself fast asleep!?