Liver health: yoga asanas and meditation techniques that can help people with hepatitis
Liver Health: Yoga Asanas and Meditation Techniques That May Help People With Hepatitis Photo credit: iStock images
New Delhi: Hepatitis is a disease of the liver where cells are swollen and inflamed due to a viral infection that affects this organ. Hepatitis viruses can be classified into types A, B, C, D, and E. Non-viral hepatitis can be the result of an unhealthy lifestyle. Some of the causes of hepatitis include drinking contaminated water, smoking, consuming large amounts of fried foods, irregular sleeping hours and infected blood, etc.
Of all the types of hepatitis virus, hepatitis B is the extremely fatal one. Also known as the silent killer, hepatitis B can be managed through yoga and naturopathy.
Yoga is a holistic practice and is not just for building strength, flexibility, and toning muscles. Yoga is to offer a therapeutic approach that is also very beneficial to relieve the stress associated with a diagnosis of hepatitis. While yoga is not a cure for hepatitis or any other chronic illness, it can have a positive effect on disease management and recovery.
Shalabasana (Locust position)
- Lie face down with your palms placed under your thighs
- Breathe in completely (Purak), hold your breath (Kumbakh) then lift the legs together
- Make sure your knees stay straight and your feet are together
- Place your chin or forehead on the floor
- Hold the posture for 10 seconds, slowly lower your legs then exhale (Rechak) – This breathing technique is therapeutic.
Half-fish pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
• Start at Dandasana
• Bend the left leg and place the left foot on the ground on the right knee.
• Bend the right leg and bend it so that it rests on the floor with the right heel near the left pelvis.
• Bring the right hand to the left leg and grab the big toe of the left foot
• In this position, there is a strong twist on the spine and abdomen.
- Urdhva Mukhi Marjari Asana
- Get on your knees, place palms below shoulders and knees below hips
- Inhale, curl your spine to seek
Adho Mukhi Marjari Asana
- Exhale, curl your spine to form a back arch and let your neck drop
- Focus your gaze on your chest
In Sanskrit, “Kapal” means skull and “bhati” means “to shine / illuminate”. Hence, this Kapalbhati Pranayam is also known as the Breathing Skull Breathing Technique.
- Sit in any comfortable pose (such as Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan, or Padmasana)
- Straighten your back and close your eyes
- Place your palms on your knees up (in Prapthi Mudra)
- Breathe in normally and focus on the exhale with a short, rhythmic and powerful breath
- You can use your stomach to forcefully expel all the air from the diaphragm and lungs by compressing it
- Inhalation should happen automatically as you decompress your stomach.
- Find a place that you do not frequent, preferably a natural environment for this technique.
- Sit in any comfortable position such as Sukhasana.
- Look ahead for 5 seconds, behind you for another five seconds, and to the right and left sides for five seconds each.
- Now close your eyes and remember as many details as you have observed as possible.
You can also practice the technique of Beej Dhyan. Bheej means “seed” or “origin” and this method is also known as Aarambh Dhyan or seed meditation. It is a technique that lays the foundation for your meditation practice. This technique gives the practitioner the meditative energies which help him to develop a meditative quality for the body.
The practice of yoga can be beneficial for patients with hepatitis because the postures and breathing techniques impact the liver and digestive system. Asanas and Pranayama stimulate, strengthen and de-stress these vital organs. Yoga is widely regarded as a safe and gentle workout. However, it is important that you consult your doctor before starting your practice. Be sure to practice under the guided supervision of an expert yoga instructor.
Grand Master Akshar is a guest contributor. The opinions expressed are personal.