When we feel tired, exhausted and stressed, the cure is… 20 minutes a day of yoga. In fact, no more is needed, according to scientists from the All India Institute of Medical Science. The researchers published a few weeks ago in the journal Complementary therapies in clinical practice an article in which they propose a yoga sequence lasting 20 minutes, developed thanks to the collaboration of expert yoga teachers in order to counteract the nervous breakdown that can occur as a consequence of a period of great stress (Upadhyay et al, Complement Ther Clin Pract, 2022).
Yoga and stress
Nervous breakdown is a condition that causes great mental, physical and emotional fatigue with significant repercussions in everyday life. Exhaustion can occur as a result of severe stress. Yoga has been shown to help in case of exhaustion, thus inducing a feeling of calm and relaxation and counteracting anxiety. However, up to now the only interventions proposed, although beneficial, had the defect of lasting too long, from a minimum of 45 minutes to a maximum of a few hours a day. This certainly represents a deterrent for those who want to approach this practice, since hours of yoga exercise are incompatible with a daily life marked by work and family commitments.
It takes 20 minutes of yoga a day
So then the scientists of the study we are talking about today have developed, with the help of 19 expert yoga teachers and based on previous research results, a module that includes yoga, meditation and breathing exercises lasting a total of 20 minutes. The module was validated by the teachers themselves and is intended to counteract nervous breakdown in people subjected to great stress, such as workers in the health sector. Here is the result of the study. Below we propose the various steps that make up the module.
Relaxation exercises, 2 minutes
This begins with a short two-minute session of muscle relaxation and stretching. Stand with your legs slightly apart. Bend the neck forward, then backward, again forward and once again backward. Then, bend the neck to the right, then to the left, again to the right and then to the left. Finally, rotate the neck clockwise, then counterclockwise, repeat one more time. Every time you make the movement with the neck exhale, when you return to position inhale. Then, bring your hands to your shoulders, your right hand to your right shoulder and your left hand to your left shoulder. Rotate your elbows in a large circular motion clockwise and then counterclockwise, repeat once. Then spread your legs. Bring your arms outstretched to the side at shoulder height. Exhale and rotate your body to the left. Place your right hand on your left shoulder and wrap your left arm around your back. Look over the left shoulder. Run on the other side and then repeat one more time. Bring yourself seated, with your legs extended forward. Rotate your feet together clockwise, then counterclockwise, then clockwise again, and finally counterclockwise.
Awareness, 1 minute
Sit in a comfortable position with your shoulders open. Pay attention to the breath, observe the air coming in and out.
Alternate nostril breathing, 5 minutes
Plug the right nostril with the thumb of the right hand and inhale for 4 seconds from the left nostril, then lift the thumb and plug the left nostril with the other fingers, exhale from the right nostril for 6 seconds, inhale for 4 seconds, then detach the fingers and plug the right nostril with the thumb. Continue like this for 5 minutes.
Rest, 1 minute
For one minute relax, with your eyes closed, making all the small stretching movements that your body requires.
Alternating Nostril Breathing
Repeat alternating nostril breathing for another 5 minutes.
Mantra AUM, 2 minutes
For two minutes, sit cross-legged, join the thumb and forefinger of each hand on the knees. Take a deep breath, hold for a few seconds and then say AUM out loud, repeat this sequence three times.
Pranayama, 3 minutes
Cover your ears with your thumbs and place the other fingers on your closed eyes. Inhale, then exhale emitting a buzz, similar to a bee until the lungs are empty. Repeat for 5 times.
Awareness, 1 minute
For a minute remain silent, breathe and feel the sensations that come to mind.