Keep your mental health in check with yoga and meditation!

Quieting the mental chatter is no easy ask during the time of a global health crisis. The uncertainty and unpredictability of the pandemic bring along a thousand unpleasant thoughts as we contemplate the outcome of it all – and it’s important to take a break from them. Which is where yoga and meditation come in.

It’s no secret that yoga is known to boost both your mood and physical well-being. Yoga postures help relieve the tension accumulated in the body due to stress and anxiety, while the right breathing techniques and being in control of your thoughts through meditation help reduce the anxiety that triggers it in the first place.

Tips for an at-home yoga routine

Here are some tips to keep in mind before you start:

1. The place where you practise yoga is very important, so choose a separate, clutter-free, silent area for it. This will help you focus, be calm and enjoy the routines.

2. Yoga must be practiced on an empty stomach or at least three hours after food.

3. It can’t be a one-time exercise. Make it a daily practice – or at least three times a week is recommended.

4. Attire is another important point of effective practice. Your body must be able to move effectively to do the asanas. So junk your jeans and opt for a loose fitting pair of pants. Your attire should allow you to sit comfortably – so not too tight and not too loose.

5. Yoga is about being steady and comfortable, and working according to your limits. You don’t have to arch your back as much as the person next to you, particularly if you are practising at home without expert supervision. Do not overdo or stretch beyond what you can safely do.

6. Keeping your mind calm while practising is important, so prepare yourself before you start to help keep runaway thoughts at bay.

7. Remember, yoga is not just an exercise pattern, it is a lifestyle, so gain knowledge about it along with practising it. Seek a reputed teacher.

Tips for a meditation routine

Overthinking is often a main cause of anxiety, which can be countered with meditation, helping you find inner peace.

1. Finding the right place to practise meditation is an important step – calm, no clutter, cosy.

2. Avoid all electronic devices, including the watch. Don’t wear one, or sit in a room with a clock. Setting a time limit means you’ll be clock watching regularly, and that won’t allow for deep meditation.

3. Have a background of some soothing music or chants.

4. Ensure dim lighting.

5. Find the pose you are most comfortable to sit in, or use a chair.

6. Sit on a mat, don’t forget pranayama and breath control, and use one focal point. Think about your favourite colour. Develop focus, feel the colour. If other thoughts come, let them be, but keep repeating your favourite colour in your mind. As each day goes by, you’ll find less of the other thoughts and more of the colour, which means you’re progressing.

7. Every day, try to meditate at the same place and the same time. Regular practice of guided meditation will lead you to a deep level of Dhyanam, where you forget about your body – in short, a withdrawal of all senses.