Dubai - Poses help people relax and give their bodies a good workout without tiring themselves during Ramadan
Staying alert and stress-free while fasting and working in Ramadan can be tricky, especially for workers who labour in difficult environments.
A UAE-based yoga expert believes the most vital tip that can quickly help de-stress just about anyone, is to simply breathe. "Yoga teaches you to tune in to what your body is telling you and to act accordingly," said Sasha Edwards, a Kundalini yoga teacher at Sasha Edwards Yoga and Fitness.
She said simple breathing techniques can truly help maintain a good mood and relieve stress during fasting hours. The yoga teacher explained that holistic wellness is the key to learning how to feel calm, relaxed and stress-free, no matter how daunting the environment is.
Although yoga was only introduced to the West in the 19th and early 20th century, the origins of the 'sport' dates back more than 2500 years.
Ancient techniques of yoga that date back to around the fifth and sixth centuries BC, are recognised for their drive in creating discipline and strength, not just physically, but mentally - which is why historical techniques are still used today.
Edwards said the effectiveness of yoga can certainly help lighten a person's mood, but not only that, making the techniques a habit can help develop a more positive and healthier outlook on life in general, not just in the office space.
"An approach to turning stress inside out is mindfulness-based stress reduction. This technique teaches you to gain perspective and become more accepting of your thoughts."
She said breathing techniques can be easily done just about anywhere and at any time, including a hectic work environment. "Find a comfortable seated position, then close your eyes and become aware of your breath, paying attention to it for a few minutes as it enters and leaves your body."
"You can start with five minutes a day, then increase it to longer periods as you feel more comfortable."
Edwards noted that once a person becomes aware of his or her thoughts, rather than reacting to them, a sense of freedom and relief could be immediately felt.
She also said it is important to incorporate abdominal breathing into a daily routine.
"While either sitting or lying down on your back, breathe in slowly expanding your abdomen and feel your diaphragm pushing down. Slowly breathe out through your nose pulling the abdominal muscles in, and pressing the air out of the depths of your lungs."
This technique not only helps de-stress, but also helps improve concentration, increase lung capacity and improves sleep quality.
She said people can also try three energetic yoga poses to help de-stress, relax and give their bodies a good workout without tiring themselves during Ramadan. Some of the poses can be done at home prior to going to work.
"Come into a variation of 'downward-facing dog' with your thumbs touching and fingers angled slightly out."
"Keep your feet hip-distance apart. Engage the core to draw the hips up and back and lift weight out of the shoulders. Take long, deep breaths for three minutes."
"This pose, essentially an inversion, allows energy to flow toward the brain, helps calm the mind, relieve stress and energises the body."
She also recommended the 'cobra pose,' or the 'Bhujangasna.' "Come to lying on your belly and place your hands under your shoulders, fingers spread wide, grounding down through your pelvis and the tops of your feet, firm your legs and reach your tailbone toward your heels.
"Inhale and lift the chest, keeping a slight bend in the elbows, the chest open and the shoulders relaxed. Hold for two minutes, taking deep breaths."
She said the pose draws energy toward the spine and opens the chest, thus helping invigorate the heart and elevate the mood. "With practice, this awareness will spread into other areas of your life, including your work."