Yoga nowadays is an in-fashion thing. We listen about it everywhere-be it is teenager's chitchat or it is gossip by housewives; even aged people discuss it. People are becoming more aware of their health and seeking ways to fitness out of which Yoga has become quite popular.
Medical experts say despite increasing health awareness and medical facilities all over, lifestyle diseases such as obesity, asthma, heart attacks, hypertension are on the rise at an alarming rate. Exact reasons are not known but sedentary life style is thought to be one of them. To combat that, one of the common and essential steps in prevention and management is moderate form of vigorous exercise at least five days a week.
Can yoga be adopted by everyone as a measure to maintain good health? I am a pediatric intensivist working for last 20 years in a corporate hospital. I was extremely busy in shaping my career, settling in life, bringing up the kids, adjusting in family till the early 40s. I never realised that I was not addressing properly the most important friend of mine--my body--till I got introduced to yoga. Just like many of the enthusiasts, I joined yoga for losing belly weight, increasing stamina etc but what I gained after four years of regular yoga practice was not weight loss but many other subtle benefits which are helping me manage my daily life better.
There are certain practical things I have learnt while doing yoga: One is that one must close the eyes while doing yoga. By doing this, you disconnect yourself with the outer world and start listening to your body. Second, you assume a particular posture as your body allows-you are not competing with others. That gives a feeling of relaxation rather than getting hurt. Third, the way of breathing as well as coordinating your breath with the poses are very important.
It is very important that one must practice yoga regularly. If you want to benefit from it, then you have to be regular as well as disciplined. Initially I found it very difficult to get up in the morning and do exercises even on weekends when one really wants to rest and enjoy the morning sleep. But what has happened over the time is that I have started enjoying my yoga time. I in fact started looking for this me-time! I no more cry over my lost sleep; rather I enjoy my morning yoga and the freshness it offers. Duration of sleep is no more a topic of botheration for me.
I must tell you that I joined yoga for losing weight but over a period of four years, I have not lost even a few grams-may be depressing for many readers. But what I achieved is acceptance of the same weight with grace, gaining muscle tone as well as flexibility, reduction of my sleep quota and many other subtle benefits that can only be felt, not described.
After years of practicing yoga, now I crave for morning exercises and enjoy each and every stretch with full awareness of my body. I relish the beauty of sunrise and the music by sparrows. I now manage my career and relations with others in a better way.
(The writer works at Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thiruvananthapuram)...