World Down Syndrome Day: 5 yoga asanas and mudras to improve quality of life

Published on: 21 March 2022, 09:45 am IST

The incidence of Down Syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. An expert tells you how yoga can help.

down syndrome
March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

On World Down Syndrome Day 2022, observed annually by the United Nations, is aimed to empower people globally to be aware about this genetic disorder. While this condition ca cause intellectual and physical disability, and associated medical issues, certain yoga poses can help improve the quality of life among people battling it.

What is Down Syndrome?

Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused due to abnormal cell division. The anomaly in the cell division is that it results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. Due to this extra genetic material, there are developmental changes and physical features that characterize Down syndrome.

down syndromePeople battling Down Syndrome need care and support. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Down syndrome causes lifelong intellectual disability and delays in development. This common genetic disorder varies in severity among individuals and leads to learning disabilities in children.

Can yoga help people with Down Syndrome?

Practices like yoga that build mindfulness and other gentle techniques like breathing etc can vastly improve the quality of life for children both boys and girls suffering from this disorder to live fulfilling lives.

Symptoms

Children and adults with Down syndrome can exhibit distinct facial features. Although not everyone with Down Syndrome will have the same features, some common features are as follows:

* Flattened face
* Small head
* Short neck
* Protruding tongue
* Unusually shaped or small ears
* Poor muscle tone
* Short fingers and small hands and feet
* Excessively flexible
* Short in height

Yoga poses to deal with Down Syndrome

1. Murcha Pranayam

Method

* Sit in a comfortable pose. Choose from Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana, Vajrasana etc.
* Keep your back straightened and close your eyes
* Palms to be on knees facing up (in Prapthi Mudra)
* Drop your head down to reach your chin towards your chest
* Inhale through your nose and fill your lungs with air
* Lift your head up, and rest your head on your shoulders
* Open your mouth without breathing out
* Hold your breath for as long as possible
* After you have held the breath for a while, close your mouth, bend your head forward, reach your chin towards your chest and breathe out

Duration: Do not repeat more than 3 times in one go.

Benefits

* It can prevent genetic diseases from occurring by altering the structure of the DNA.
* Provides the practitioner with subtle sensations of euphoria.
* Increases the mental energy of the practitioner.

Also Read: Study suggests that children with Down syndrome are at a higher risk of leukaemia

surya namaskarSurya Namaskar. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Gyan Mudra

Steps

* Sit in a comfortable pose. Choose from Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana, Vajrasana etc.
* You can even practice it standing in Mountain pose if unable to sit down.
* Hold your back, chest, and head straight.
* Relax your whole body and place your hands on your knees in an upward direction.
* Now fold the index finger of both hands to the thumb joining the tip of your index finger with the tip of the thumb. Leave the remaining three fingers extended.
* Maintain this arrangement of fingers
* Put your hands on your knees facing in the upward direction.
* Relax and close your eyes softly
* Concentrate on your breath.
* Breathe deeply to attain a sense of lightness in your Chitta (or consciousness).

3. Dhyan Mudra

* Sit in a comfortable pose. Choose from Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana, Vajrasana etc.
* You can even practice it standing in Mountain pose if unable to sit down.
* Hold your back, chest, and head straight.
* Relax your whole body and place your hands on your knees in an upward direction.
* Now put together your hands in your lap. Put your right hand inside of your left hand with your palms facing up.
* Shape the bowl of the hands.
* Both thumbs should be touching each other, forming a triangle.
* The fingers are extended.
* Your hands are to be placed at the level of the stomach or the thighs.
* Removing all thoughts from the mind has to focus the mind only on OM.

vajrasanaBreathing exercises can help. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Surya Namaskar

Surya Namaskar has a total number of 8 asanas flowing into a sequence with 12 steps for each of the sides – Right and Left. Remember that when you begin the Surya Namaskar, you must always initiate it from the Right side first. This is because the energy of the sun is represented symbolically through this side. A complete cycle covers both the sides, and is made of 24 counts.

5. Chandra Namaskar

Chandra Namaskar has a total number of 9 asanas flowing into a sequence with 14 steps for each of the sides – Right and Left. Remember that when you begin the Chandra Namaskar, you must always initiate it from the Left side first. This is because the energy of the moon is represented symbolically through this side. A complete cycle covers both the sides, and is made of 28 counts.

Himalayan Siddha Akshar Himalayan Siddha Akshar

Himalayan Siddha Akshar is an internationally acclaimed Spiritual yogic master. He is the founder, chairman and course director of Akshar Yoga and president of World Yoga Organisation. He is also the President of the International Siddha Foundation.

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