Anemia makes pregnancy tough and winter bitter

Don’t shiver! Beware of anemia

Growing fatigue, giddiness, breathlessness, palpitation, loss of appetite, paleness or whiteness (in severe cases) of certain body parts, pricking sensation on the fingers and toes indicate weaker health due to Anemia. Lack of resistance so caused by anemia makes winter bitter for anemic people. You may be a student, sportsman, factory worker, an executive, house wife or a farmer; anemia reduces your level of performance in all walks of life. You even fail to enjoy your life at its full.

Anemia is a matter of real concern for all and especially for women during pregnancy. In India 60 to 70% of pregnant ladies suffer from anemia. It is a condition where hemoglobin levels in the blood fall below normal levels. As we know that the capacity of heart to pump the blood is increased during pregnancy. As a result the normal hemoglobin level drops down resulting in anemia. Some pregnant women have too little iron in their blood. Anemia can occur because the baby in womb takes iron from the mother's bloodstream to make its own red blood cells.

Anemia in pregnant ladies may lead to premature delivery. Such ladies usually give birth to low weight babies and have greater risks of catching infections of uterus, kidneys and the urinary tract which creates bigger complications in pregnancy. Severe anemia can even lead to death particularly during delivery.

Surprisingly, winter is the best season to recover the loss and come out of the alarming threat of Anemia. It is Yoga combined with wonderful gift of nature in form of available iron rich diets that can make Anemia a matter of past.

Precautions

  • Anemic people need special care even while beginning a yoga workout. They are advised to wear proper warm clothing to accommodate themselves with the weather.
  • Better to practice yog sadhna in an airy room instead of open air. In winter Yoga should be practiced on a fourfold blanket.
  • Anemic people ought to begin with a comfortably moderate yogic schedule so that they do not feel fatigued while performing yogabhyas. They should keep in mind that Yogabhyas is a joy and never a punishment.
  • Yoga for anemic people is a blessing but at the same time rigorous exercise proves a curse some time so better to undergo yoga training under expert guidance only.
  • Just to boost up for better performance such yog sadhaks may take a spoon of honey before beginning their everyday yogabhyas.

Yoga therapy for anemia

Sarvangasana

  • Lie on with back on your yoga mat. Keep the head and spine aligned with straight legs and feet put together. Palms firm on floor besides your thighs.
  • Inhale deep and raise the legs to vertical position with the support of arms.
  • Press the palms and arms on the floor to roll the buttocks and spine quite smoothly off the floor.
  • Raise the trunk also to a vertical position. Support your back with palms placed behind the ribs. Push the chest gently forward till it presses firmly on the chin.
  • Maintain the elbows shoulder width apart. Ensure that the body is vertical with feet together and in a straight line with the trunk, supported by the shoulders, neck and back of the skull.
  • See that the arms continue to balance, the feet are relaxed and the chest rests against your chin.
  • Continue to look at the top of your toes. Hold the final position for a few seconds only in the beginning and increase the time gradually to 3 to 5 minutes.
  • On your way back maintain your legs straight at knees and bring feet towards your head. Remove the hands from your back slowly and bring them besides your thighs with palms down.
Breathing

Retain breath inside while lifting your legs & rolling the buttocks and spine and while coming back to starting point. Practice slow, deep and rhythmic abdominal breathing when you reach the final position. Lower each vertebrae of the spine gradually to the floor followed by buttocks to resume their vertical position. Hold the knees straight and bring the legs to the floor gently. Relax in lying position on your back till the heartbeat and respiration is normalized.

Repetitions

This asana is practiced once for 3 to 5 minutes, but if the practitioner is not able to hold position in the beginning this asana can be repeated 3 to 4 times.

Precautions

People suffering with spinal disorders, hernia and heart problem are advised to perform it under physical presence of the master.

Modified Hastapadasana

  • Stand with feet together distributing the weight of the body evenly on both legs, spine erect and hands beside the body. Relax yourself.
  • Slowly bend forward, first bending the lower back followed by middle and then upper back. Finally bend your head moving the chin towards chest, relaxing the shoulders forward and letting the arms touch your toes or finally resting the palms on the floor besides your feet.
  • Keep the limbs relaxed and imagine that the body has no bones or muscles while bending forward. Do not strain or force the body. Relax your head, back of the neck and bend it loosely towards the knees.
  • Don’t try to touch the forehead to the knees forcibly.
  • Hold the position, relaxing the whole back.
  • Slowly return to the starting position in the reverse order, first lifting your face, head, upper back, middle and finally lower back.
  • This completes one round. Repeat such 5 rounds. (Slowly and gradually). Practice one round for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Relax in the upright position before continuing the next round.
Breathing

Inhale in the starting position. Exhale while bending forward. Breathe slowly and deeply in the final position keeping the stomach perfectly relaxed.

Precautions

People with spondylosis, lumbar pain and disc slip are advised to undergo expert guidance before making an attempt to perform this asana.

Paschimottanasana

  • Sit with legs spread and stretched forward, feet together and palms on the knees.
  • Bend forward slowly from the hips, sliding the hands down to the legs.
  • Grasp the big toes with the fingers and thumbs if possible, otherwise hold heels, ankles or any part of the legs comfortably.
  • Try to bend a little more but without putting any extra force or any jerk.
  • Keep the legs straight at knees and try to bend the elbows and bring the trunk down towards the legs while exhaling and try to touch the knees with your forehead.
Breathing

Hold gentle rhythmic breathing for comfortable duration in this final position and then return to starting position while inhaling and relax.

Precautions

People suffering sciatica and slipped disc are advised to practice the postures under expert guidance only. Such people may be suggested some alternate asanas.

Agnisar Kriya

  • Just kneel down and bring your toes together with heels wide open.
  • Rest your buttocks in between the heels and sit comfortably with your back straight.
  • Hold your spine, neck and head in straight line. Relax the joints and back but still keep your back straight.
  • Inhale gently and exhale perfectly. Pull your stomach inside such as that your navel touches the back. Hold this ‘Uddiyan Bandha’ for comfortable duration. Inhale gently when you feel that you can not hold it any more. Repeat it for 5 times.
  • Perform same Uddiyan Bandha again but instead of holding give a moderate bowel movement to your stomach by expanding and contracting it.
  • Inhale again gently. Have normal breathing and follow the same process again repeating it at least ten times. It will tone up the digestive and respiratory system besides strengthening the liver. It will cure the constipation also.
Precautions

People suffering from heart and lungs related problem will avoid holding Uddiyan Bandha. They will go straightway to bowl movements in comfortable exhaled position.

Shavasana

  • Lie flat on the back with the arms about 15 cm away from the body, palms facing sky and feet kept apart.
  • A thin pillow or folded cloth may be placed behind the head to prevent discomfort. Let the fingers curl up slightly.
  • The head and spine should be in a straight line.
  • Make sure that the head does not fall on one side or the other.
  • Relax the whole body and stop all physical movement.
  • Become aware of the natural breath and allow it to become rhythmic and relaxed.
  • Begin to count the breaths from no 27 backwards to 0.
  • If the mind wanders and the next number is forgotten, bring it back to the counting and start again at 27.
  • Relaxing the whole body, hold your spiritual awareness should be on slowing process of breath. The more you relax the more your breathing will go slower and rhythmic.
Duration

In general this asana should be practiced for 10 to 20 minutes a day. But pregnant ladies may practice it twice or thrice a day just to refresh and regain for better working.

Precaution

Never perform Shavasana immediately after the meals.

Pranayama

Modified Nadi shodhan (anulom vilom)

Sit in any comfortable cross legged position with back bone straight. Control the flow of breath with Angushtha (thumb) and Anamika (ring finger) of right hand by alternately pressing on the nostrils. Index, middle and little finger will remain relaxed and comfortably folded while performing Pranayam.

Procedure for Anulom-Vilom.
  • Relax mentally and close the right nostril with right thumb.
  • Inhale gently through left nostril with complete awareness.
  • Now Close the left nostril with right ring finger and remove the thumb from right nostril.
  • Now exhale through the right nostril in same gentle way.
  • Similarly repeat the process by inhaling through right nostril and exhaling through the left.
  • This completes one round. Repeat the procedure 11 to 21 times. Make sure that there is no sound of air passing while performing this pranayam. Avoid forced breathing or rapid counts.

Modifications in the diet

Anemia is caused mainly due to inadequate diet. Let us learn how to eliminate this disease completely and easily with the help of certain modifications in our diet.

Take ample amount of proteins through milk and milk products, germinated wheat, pulses, green leafy vegetables, nuts and oilseeds. Minerals also play very important role in curing anaemia. Iron is the other big constituent of the haemoglobin. Bengal gram leaves (Chana saag in hindi) parsley, turnip greens, mustard leaves, colocasia leaves, mint leaves and some other vegetables like lotus stem are also very rich sources of iron. Lotus stem (kamal kakdi in hindi), in particular has the highest content of iron i.e. 60.6 mg per 100 gm. Let us prefer iron and calcium rich Gur & Shakkar to Sugar in our daily consumption. It will strengthen you as well as growing baby in the womb.

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Swami Bharat Bhushan Ji

Padmashri award honored | Two times Life time Achievement award honored | D. Lit (Doctor of Letters) honored

Mokshayatan International Yogashram, Saharanpur

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