Yoga for a Healthy Mind & Body

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
yoga for a healthy mind & body

As India advances, life, especially in metros, has become exceptionally fast-paced. From sleeping late to waking up early; eating at odd hours - or sometimes, not at all – meeting deadlines, traveling for work, taking care of the family… the average Indian has a lot on his plate. And it is taking a toll on our health.

It comes as no surprise to see a rise in NCDs among Indians, even the youth. Heart disease is known to be the leading cause of death, killing as many as 1.7 million Indians as per a 2016 report. The number of diabetics in India is on the rise too, with the number of patients likely to more than double in the next decade from the current 70 million. Obesity, a growing condition among Indians, was recently found to be a silent killer as obese people are at almost a 28% increased risk of developing heart disease.

But it’s not just physical health that’s deteriorating. Mental health issues among Indians are also coming to light too, with as many as 56 million Indians suffering from depression and another 38 million suffering from anxiety disorders.

These figures are a definite cry for help for India to shape up. The only way to achieve that is through establishing a holistic wellness lifestyle that includes proper diet and exercise.

Fighting fit with Yoga

Rooted in Indian philosophy, yoga is an ancient method of relaxation and regarded by many as a spiritual experience. However, yoga has found enthusiasts outside of spirituality seekers among people who wish to increase strength and endurance. In fact, today many fitness experts recognize yoga as a valuable part of functional training, and it is being practiced by both athletes as well as recreational exercisers.

Yoga can be a great way of positive physical and mental transformation, which is why it is being taught to young children in Indian schools. Regular practice of yoga can improve one’s health and even combat various diseases, as yoga asanas have a direct relation with the nervous system. If you plan to begin your journey towards total fitness, here’s how Yoga can help:

•    Pranayama: A way of controlling breathing, Pranayama helps to control the mind, making it calm and also helps conserve energy. Regular yoga practice will not only help achieve physical flexibility, health, and agility but can also help control the endocrines system, resulting in a balanced autonomic nervous system. This means achieving a balanced heart rate, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, respiration, digestion and sleep. And those who pursue higher levels of yoga can get in touch with their super-conscious state and experience peace.

•    Surya Namaskar: The sun salutation is a sequence of 12 powerful yoga poses that besides giving a cardiovascular workout, has an immensely positive impact on the body and mind. Best done early morning on an empty stomach, these 12 poses are repeated twice, followed by a round of Yoga Nidra for complete peace. It is important, however, to practice these poses under the supervision of a trained Yoga teacher. You can opt for a group class or a one-to-one session with a .

•    Savasana: Also known as the corpse pose, it is a foolproof way to achieve mental peace and total physical relaxation. While it is the easiest pose to perform, it is often the most difficult to master. That’s because while the asana requires less physical strength and flexibility, it challenges the mind and body in many different ways. It emphasizes awareness and curiosity of the body’s natural breathing pattern, Savasana is a great place to practice engaging in mindful awareness without effort or exertion.

Yoga isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice, and there are different types of yoga for different types of people. A 20-year-old and a 70-year-old may not have the same health requirements. There are many styles of Yoga that one can experiment with today, such as Ashtanga (power yoga), Kundalini, Kripalu or Bikram (hot yoga), opening up several options for beginners to explore. These have contributed to yoga’s growing popularity, with many fitness centres and independent studios offering classes on all its disciplines. Kids too should be introduced to the benefits of yoga at an early age so the next generation grows up to be healthier and more wellness-oriented.


--The Writer is CEO, Gympik, a leading fitness discovery platform. Views expressed are personal.

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