July 2015 By Saraswati Vasudevan A few simple breathing techniques coupled with yoga, can flush out tiredness and infuse new energy into the body, says Saraswati Vasudevan Tiredness is of the mind, not the body,” a colleague once told me. That’s quite true – even without physical exertion, we could get tired just by thinking! Negative thoughts are heavy, compulsive and pervasive, leading to weak memory, poor decision-making skills, and lack of enthusiasm. Our vital energy (prana) gets trapped in our conflicting belief and emotional patterns, and the more the prana gets stuck, the less we have at our disposal. How can yoga help release the stuck energy and overcome this kind of exhaustion? Such negative thoughts/emotional patterns could precipitate illnesses in due course, if not dealt with appropriately. Try this next time you are feeling really tired (lying or seated position): As your mind begins to chant, “I am so… tired/exhausted/burnt out”, take notice. Without trying to verbalise the sensations, can you observe what is happening in the body? Spend a couple of minutes on this. On a subjective scale of 0-10, make a note of how tired you are feeling. Observe your breath: Is the inhalation short? How deep is the exhalation? Are you holding the breath a lot? Where are you feeling the breath in the body? Allow this tiredness to take over completely. Mentally tell yourself, “It is okay, I fully allow myself to feel this exhaustion”. If you are sitting, place your palms and feet down so that you can completely ground yourself and transfer this heaviness to the earth. If you are lying down, surrender your weight to the earth completely, letting go… Is the mind still busy? See each thought like a wave in the ocean of the body and allow that wave to sink into and merge with the bottom of the ocean. Exhale deeply and completely, releasing all thoughts and sensations. Hold your breath a few seconds after each exhalation. Observe the stillness – feel the complete, total surrender to the moment. Now focus on the inhalation, breathing into the abdomen (allowing the upper abdomen to expand) and continue to exhale slowly and completely. With each inhalation, you are inviting fresh prana to enter and fill the body. You may also hold your breath for a few seconds after inhalation to consolidate your energy resource. Go back to your subjective scale and check the level of tiredness now. Has it shifted, even by a few points? Jathara Parivrtti This simple lying twist helps release heaviness and fatigue from the neck, upper back and lower extremities. Lie down on the mat with your legs bent, feet close to the hips, slightly apart. Spread your arms open to the shoulder level. Inhale, and as you exhale, begin to draw the lower abdomen in and up, relaxing the chest as you slowly lower the knees down to one side, turning the head to the opposite side. Inhale as you bring the knees and head to the neutral position and exhale as you twist to the opposite side. Stay in the twisted position for a few slow deep breaths, on either side and back to the neutral position. This posture activates the digestive fire (jathara agni), improves circulation and cleanses the abdominal organs by its squeezing action. It relaxes the hips, legs and spine till the neck. It facilitates prana sancharam (movement of prana) and prana shodhanam (purification of prana). Bio: Saraswathi Vasudevan is a yoga therapist trainer in the tradition of Sri T Krishnamacharya. She specializes in adapting yoga to the individual. (www.yogavahini.com).
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