Perhaps our ancient predecessors were really wise; that they realized the importance of reducing stress and maintaining mental equilibrium. Since the connection between low stress levels and physical well being were well understood at the time, various methods were prescribed for relaxation and enhancing feelings of calm repose in yoga. A yoga class advertisement will often proclaim stress reduction as one of the benefits of yoga; and in fact one of the reasons many join my yoga class in Bandra is to enhance relaxation. Nispand Bhav is one of the ways in which one can achieve relaxation and benefit from lower stress levels.
What is Nispand Bhav?
Yoga has several prescriptions for naturally relieving stress: aasans such as shavasan (corpse pose), dradhasan (firm or side sleeping pose), yog nidra (yogic sleep) and Nispandbhav. Nispandbhav (or Nispand Bhav) is a relaxation technique that helps to reduce stress and improve focus and concentration. It is the way that we learn to become aware of natural sounds in the environment, and to develop the art of really listening and the ability to listen neutrally.
It is thought that practicing this pose either at home or as a part of your yoga class, can help to rejuvenate the mind and body, reduce mental stress and bring the mind and body into harmony with each other. There are also claims that Nispandabhav can help to control certain conditions such as diabetes, PCOS and so on when it is used in conjunction with proper medication and appropriate lifestyle alterations.
When performed in conjunction with various other yoga aasans, this relaxation pose can also help to tackle back pain. This aasan helps to relax the back muscles and trains the body to consciously relax the muscles that remain tense and rigid; leading to back pain. Since back pain is known to have psychological reasons and could also be triggered by mental stressors, performing this aasan may be doubly beneficial for those with back pain.
How to perform Nispandbhav
It is probably one of the most undemanding of aasans physically speaking. The real challenge is the control of the mind and the senses.
This yoga pose requires you to sit against a wall or any good support in a comfortable position; with your upper back being supported (not your lower back). Stretch your legs out and place them at a comfortable distance from each other. Place your hands on your thighs, with palms facing upwards. Shut your eyes. Now focus your senses upon any one sound that you hear around you. Don’t think about what the sound is or try to analyze where it’s coming from. This is something that you should do for about 8 to 10 minutes to gain benefit.
One practical application of Nispandbhav could be – a wife performing this aasan to be able to sleep restfully even with her husband snoring. By practicing Nispandbhav she is able to become neutral to external sounds and hence sleep better.
Nispandbhav performed by itself may not produce all the benefits one is looking for. But in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and other yoga poses that promote mental and physical wellbeing, it can be a very effective relaxation technique indeed!