Yoga and the mind

Yoga for stress relief?

Q: Please advise on yoga/exercises for back pain and on eliminating tensions from life. Also, what is the right way to meditate?

— Naveen Pachaury via email

A: There are several asanas in yoga that strengthen the back and relieve back pain. Some asanas like Marjarasana, Tadasana, Uttanasana, Shalabhasana, Matsyasana, Virabhadrasana, Chakrasana and Dhanurasana specifically benefit the upper/lower back. Bad posture is the commonest cause of back pain. So, always maintain correct posture and avoid slouching.

Any yoga pose involves the mind; that’s what separates yoga from other forms of physical exercise. While doing any asana, focus your attention on your breath. This helps quieten the mind and release tensions. Also, remember to always conclude your yoga practice with a relaxation pose and OM chanting.

Whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed with emotions, be silent and focus on your breathing. Feel the sensation of air entering and leaving your nostrils. This simple technique will instantly help you relax and be in the present moment. For more tips on how to use yoga to help you meditate and relieve stress, check out:

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