Do you get a cold every winter or battle bouts of insomnia every now and then? Yoga has an asana for practically any ailment under the sun. If you want a solution that will eliminate the root of the issue, try out these five yoga poses for common ailments:
1. Cold or Flu: Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) is one of the best yoga poses for cold and flu as it will help alleviate them faster. In addition, this pose will help clear congestion. Plus, it is excellent for helping to cultivate a calm mind, even when you’re down with the flu and help you recover faster.
To do this pose, sit up tall and comfortably. Take your right hand and curl down the index finger and the middle finger into the palm. Press your ring finger over the left nostril and inhale for four counts. Close the right nostril with the thumb so that both nostrils are closed. Keep the air in for four counts. Then release the ring finger let out all the air from the left nostril for four counts. Repeat this pattern of breathing for three to five minutes.
2. Insomnia: Natrajasana (Lying-down Pose) is one of the best poses of yoga for insomnia and anxiety. Sometimes, a simple twist lying down can do wonders to release any pent up tension in the mind and spine that may be interfering with being able to sleep well. This can also be done when you are in bed.
To do this pose, lie down on your back and bring the right knee to the left knee. Next, twist the right leg towards the left side. Relax the arms and stretch them out towards the sides. Remain here for 10 breaths before repeating on the other side.
3. Back Pain: Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) is a lower back bend that will release excess tightness in the lumbar spine using the weight of the head. This is a simple asana that’s part of yoga for back pain relief. It will also increase flexibility in the hamstrings which are down the back of the leg, as tight hamstrings can lead to lower back problems.
To start off, stand with your feet at a hip-width’s distance and bend forward, hinging at the hip. Maintain a soft bend in the knees to avoid straining your lower back. Aim to keep your hands on the floor, but go only as far as feels comfortable. Allow the arms and head to hang above. Breathe in deeply and slowly through the nose for not more than 10 breaths; then come up slowly, raising the head and shoulders last. Loosen your stretched muscles by moving around a bit, and repeat again.
4. Indigestion: Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Twist) is excellent for indigestion as twists will gently massage the internal organs. This is yoga for better digestion. The compression that occurs by twisting, when followed by a release, stimulates the digestive organs.
To do this, sit on the floor, keeping your right leg extended out in front of you and maintain your spine long. Place the left foot outside the right knee and keep the sole on the floor. Tuck the left knee in the crook of the right elbow and hug your knee. Keep the left fingertips on the floor behind you and slowly twist the torso to look over the left shoulder. With each inhale, elongate the spine upwards. With every exhale, deepen the twist further. Hold this for five breaths, then turn back to face ahead. Repeat with the opposite side.
5. Headaches and Migraines: Sirsasana (Headstand Pose) is one of the most effective yoga poses for headache relief. While you need not go into a full headstand, you can attempt a half headstand posture by keeping your legs straight, thus forming a triangle shape.
Sit on your heels, keeping your shoulders above the hips. Loosely interlock the fingers and place on the ground. Keep the top of the head on the ground and allow the fingers to cradle the back of the head. Stay in this position for a few breaths to become comfortable in the position. Once you become comfortable, tuck in your toes and make your legs straight. Remain here for 10 breaths.