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Shy? Try yoga

Most people are unaware that the balancing poses in yoga are used therapeutically to help overcome extreme shyness and social phobia.

In fact, they are also recommended for other related issues such as stuttering, anxiety, neuroses and hyperactivity amongst children.

Shameem Akthar, a certified yoga acharya with the internationally acclaimed Sivananda Yoga Centre, Kerala (the centre has its headquarters in Canada) guides you through five yoga poses that help you overcome shyness and social awkwardness.

Those suffering from anger issues and stress can greatly benefit from these poses.

What is even better is that there is a scientific basis for all of this. The part of the brain called the cerebellum (also referred to as the `little brain') is involved in maintaining our physical balance. It was recently established that the cerebellum also has much to do with an individual's social balance -- it plays an active role in the expression of our social selves.

Sensory functions that we take for granted are the work of the cerebellum. Some of the functions are:

  • Co-ordinating floods of sensory data and interpreting them accurately.
  • The ability to pay attention and focus on a particular task at hand.
  • A prominent say in cognitive ability (problem-solving skills).

    Recent research also shows that chemical imbalances in the cerebellum could well be linked to social problems we face, such as an inability to maintain a meaningful conversation, or failure at sustaining relationships with others.

    Importantly, since balancing poses also require you to work out both sides of your body equally, they harmonise the left and right hemispheres of our brain. These represent the logical and the creative sides of our personality respectively.

    When these two sides are in harmony, we are able to see the holistic picture. This, in turn, defines and strengthens our psycho-socio profiles.

    Points to note

    Balancing poses may be tough to practice at first. Take some support, from say a wall or strong furniture, to give yourself confidence. Slowly increase stamina so you are able to hold each pose for longer periods of time -- from 15 seconds to one minute, for more impact.

    Text: Shameem Akthar
    Photographs: Saisuresh Sivaswamy
    Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and information regarding her upcoming workshops at

    Also read: Control tummy disorders with these steps


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