By Shilpa Dubey
If you’re frequently feeling tired, overwhelmed, and emotionally drained, you may be suffering from mental fatigue. When left unchecked, persistent stress like this can result in burnout. And we want to avoid that stage. Because not only would our motivation levels, productivity, and performance decrease; even our symptoms would take a more physical nature, such as headaches, nausea, or digestive issues.
Therefore, eating a healthy diet, better time management, regular breaks, regular exercise, and Yoga are all critical for our mental fitness. Specifically, Yoga provides the perfect counterbalance for all the activities that put us in a state of fatigue. Since mental exhaustion is often a result of too much going on in our lives, this could mean too many responsibilities, calls, meetings, distractions, interruptions, demands, and so on. The keyword here is ‘too much.’ A to-do list that never ends is certainly a fast-track to a breakdown. And almost all yoga practices help us do that one thing that we need the most – they help us mindfully slow down—a much-desired treat for the frazzled nervous system.
Here are a few yoga techniques by Namita Piparaiya, Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist, Founder – Yoganama that you can easily include in your everyday life to manage stress and be mentally fit.
This is a guided meditation practice that you do in Shavasana. In this practice, you do not sleep, but you maintain your awareness of the state between being awake and asleep. Therefore, Yoga Nidra is like sleeping with just a pinch of awareness. You’re neither fully awake nor fully asleep. It is a meditative practice, but you can also practice at bedtime to enjoy a more restful and deep sleep.
Moderately paced Yoga, practiced with breath awareness, has a very balancing effect on the nervous system. To truly use Yoga to counter our everyday stresses, we must practice with a non-competitive spirit. The intention is to stay connected with our breath as we move through the postures of varying intensity.
Our breath directly links to our nervous system. By breathing in specific ways, we can create different reactions in the body. For instance, exhalation has a very calming effect as it activates the relaxation response in our brain. It works like a switch that tells the brain to go into ‘rest and recovery’ mode. This is great because most of the time, our body is in the exact opposite state of high stress and overdrive. Therefore, work on pranayama practices that involve increasing the length of your exhalation. These are Nadhi Shuddhi (Alternate Nostril Breathing) and Vishama Vritti Pranayama (Unequal breathing). Other breathing practices, like Box Breathing or 4-7-8 breathing, are also beneficial.
This form of meditation is simple, accessible, and highly effective. Inspired by Buddhist practices, in this meditation, the intention is to hold your attention in the present moment. To neither think about the past or the future, but be aware of the here and now. One of the best ways to do that is to focus on the flow of our breath. By observing the process of breathing, we can enjoy a few moments of being completely mindful in the present moment.
In our world of high expectations, we’re continually pushing ourselves to do better and better. Yoga teaches us to slow down and return to the present, not strive, but to observe. It’s the one missing ingredient for most of us. That’s why it is essential to actively include stress management practices like Yoga to replenish our energy reserves and maintain a balanced lifestyle. Only then can we sustainably pursue our everyday endeavours.