Stress in all its forms physical, mental and emotional is a part of daily life. Employees in every sectors are severely overworked in today’s world. An industry where this problem is predominant is the garments.
Several studies have been conducted regarding the working conditions of garment workers across the world as well as in India: Long working hours, a short lunch break in between. Even toilet breaks are a matter of luxury for them.
It is imperative that the garment workers go through severe physical and mental stress which can finally lead to permanent ailments. Practicing yoga is highly recommended for them. Yoga will give them the kind of physical and mental relaxation they need and help them keep major ailments at bay.
Since time is a luxury for them, an elaborate yoga routine is not ideal. Thankfully, yoga can be practiced anywhere, anytime and hence, even with limited time, garment workers can engage in yoga practice.
Let us now look at some of the exercises that garment workers can practice, which will help them stretch, relax and stay fit.
“Rotate your head as much as you can clockwise as well as anticlockwise. Keep your head at a moderate level while rotating – don’t bend it too much. Bending too much can cause sprains.”
Long hours of sitting or standing can cause stiffness in the muscles of neck. Neck rotation is an exercise which will help relax those muscles while maintaining their flexibility. This is acts as a warm-up, which will prepare the the body for intense asanas.
The good thing about the neck rotation is that it can be done at any place, even when one is in front of a sewing machine.
“Stand straight with your legs together. Then raise both arms over the head so that your palms meet. Now bend your upper body slightly backwards and stretch backwards till you feel a complete stretch in your abdomen muscles. Take a long breath while you stretch backwards, hold for a few seconds and then return to original position.”
Sitting or standing for hours can also lead to stiffness of muscles in the back. This is one of the asanas from Surya Namaskar. It warms up the body and expands the chest and rib cage which results in full intake of air. Regular practice of Hasta Uthanasana improves digestion, stretches and tones the abdomen muscles.
“Sit with your legs straight and joined together. Now reach forward and hold your big toes or the side of your feet. Maintain this position, you will feel a stretch in your entire back. As you exhale, move your head closer to your knees while folding your hand. The target is to touch your knees with your head. Relax your neck in the position and start breathing normally.”
This asana is meant to stretch a person’s hamstrings. When practiced correctly, one can feel a stretch in the muscles from the hip down to the heels, since garment workers have to sit or stand for long hours which can put a lot of burden on the back muscles and spine, this asana will stretch the entire body from heels to the head. It helps in the opening of hips and calms the mind.
“Sit with your leg straight out in front of you. Pull your heels towards your pelvis by bending your knees. And exhale all the while. Then drop your knees towards your sides all the way down to the floor. Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as possible by grabbing the big toes of each foot and pulling them. Gently release after some time.”
This asana helps stretch your inner thighs, groin and knees as well as stimulates your internal organs. It also helps soothe menstrual discomfort. Regular practice will help reduce fatigue as well.
Pranayama is a yogic breathing technique that has been practiced for centuries. Although pranayama is mostly thought of as a mere breathing exercise, it is much more than that. Pranayama utilizes the breathing to pump energy into the different parts of the body. Though there are several ways of practising Pranayama, one of the most common is Anulom-Vilom.
“Sit cross legged, let your hands rest on your knees, and close your eyes. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale slowly through the left, now close the left nostril with the little finger of your right hand, release the thumb and exhale through the right. Repeat the same closing your left nostril with your left thumb.”
One should feel refreshed and energized after having completed the above-mentioned asanas. With regular practice a world of difference could be felt in the body.
“The best gift we can give ourselves is looking after our body and mind. Yoga has benefited thousands over the years , it will be good for you too.”