HOW CAN YOGA STOP THE MILLENNIALS FROM SINKING INTO DEPRESSION?

 

Millennials or as we call the young adults are the future of our nation. The young people with a great mindset, open thoughts, logical thinking, and practical viewpoint are smarter than the previous generations and much more advanced. All thanks to the technology, Smartphones, and the internet that has changed the face of the present generation.

 

But as smart as they may seem to be, we cannot deny the fact that the terms depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicide, stress, etc. are also associated most with the millennials.

 

Causes of Depression, Anxiety and Stress among young adults

 

Every other person in this young generation is either suffering from some physical or mental problem which takes a toll on their health and personal life. We can attribute these growing problems to the sedentary lifestyle, junk eating habits and growing stress and worries to succeed in every sphere and be the best.

 

The world lives on the rule of ‘Survival of the fittest,’ and therefore there has to be something which can solve all these problems and enable this young generation to stay happy, calm and peaceful so that they can spread joy around them.

 

“Yoga is the perfect way to deal with depression, stress and anxiety”

 

Those days are gone when yoga was just for the old, sick or obese people. With specific yoga poses for  depression, stress and anxiety along with breathing techniques, you can explore the subtle energies of life and align your body, mind, and soul to experience great joy, health, and positivity.

 

Here I would like to throw some light on a true incident which happened in the life of one of my yoga students Shivani Bhatt from Vadodara. Back in 2012 she was really stressed and depressed about her condition as she was suffering from thyroid, anxiety and hormonal imbalance but with the help of yoga, she transformed her health conditions completely and apart from that she learned self-care, love and compassion which has made her a happier person who can now contribute better in her family and at her workplace.

 

Yoga is not meant to shape your body but to shape your mind and it makes you a better and more confident person each day. By practicing yoga for depression and meditation for stress, you can tackle these problems in the most natural and harmless way.  It helps you excel in every sphere of life be it personal or professional.

 

Yoga fills you up with great joy and optimism so that you can become the best version of yourself. So, if you want to become fearless, confident, independent, healthy and joyful then trust your intuition and make yoga a part of your daily life.

 

Once in your life try to practice yoga for depression and meditation for stress and you will be amazed to see and feel the ecstatic benefits.

 

Any day or any time is appropriate to enter new dimensions of health and happiness with “Health First” and transform your health naturally by performing Yoga for Depression, Anxiety & Stress.

 

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Prenatal Yoga-How to Expect BEST When You Expect

 

Throughout pregnancy, your body and your mind will undergo immense changes. Prenatal Yoga is one of the best ways of managing the additional demands put upon your body, of easing discomfort and of coping with the ups and downs of your emotional state. Knowing that you have yoga at your disposal to alleviate the symptoms of pregnancy-related ailments will feel incredibly empowering.

 

Looking after Yourself

 

Pregnancy should be about being in a state of health, and not about suffering. The notion of a woman eating for two and becoming increasingly immobile and awkward as her baby grows has become outdated. This does not mean you should put yourself under pressure to be a “supermum” and place unrealistic demands on yourself. It is important to find the right balance of activity and rest and to nourish you without over-indulging. Yoga brings equilibrium in both mind and body. The yoga postures, breathing and meditation not only help to relieve pregnancy-related symptoms, but they also work on the brain to balance your emotional state.

 

Let me first give the emotional and physical symptoms and the cause thereof majority women experience during the pregnancy period.

 

Mood Swings

 

Hormonal shifts affect mood during pregnancy, as most women, especially those who suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), already know. Women experience most dramatic hormonal fluctuations in her lifetime, so it’s no surprise that emotional ups and downs are commonplace.  In addition to this biochemical mix the normal anxieties that any sane expectant mother has about whether the baby will be healthy and whether she will be a good mother, and then you have created plenty of fuel to produce good, classical mood swings.

 

You are not alone. Take moodiness as a normal part of pregnancy. You are not the first or only woman to experience it, so don’t blame yourself. Rest assured, your family and friends will understand.

 

Your moodiness may be especially pronounced during the first trimester because your body is adjusting to its new condition. You may find yourself overreacting to little things. A silly, mushy television commercial, for example, may leave you in tears. Misplacing your doctor’s file may send you into a tizzy. A grocery store waiting may draw you into a teeth-clenching rage. Take a few deep breaths, go out for a walk, or just close your eyes and take a short break. Do not worry, you are just pregnant. These feelings often pass as quickly as they arise.

 

Fatigue

 

Can’t lift your head off the pillow each morning? Dragging your feet all day? Can’t wait to lay into bed as soon as you arrive home at night? If it seems like your get-up-and-go has left the building—and doesn’t seem to have plans to return anytime soon—it’s not surprising. After all, you’re pregnant. And even though there might not be any evidence on the outside that you’re bus¬ily building a baby, plenty of exhausting work is going on inside. In some ways, your pregnant body is working harder when you’re resting (even when you’re sleeping!) than a non-pregnant body is when running a marathon—only you’re not aware of the exertion.

 

So what exactly is your body up to? For one very significant thing, it’s manufacturing your baby’s life-support system, the placenta—a massive project that won’t be completed until the end of the first trimester. For another, your body’s hormone levels have increased sig¬nificantly, you’re producing more blood, your heart rate is up, your blood sugar is down, your metabolism is burning energy over time (even when you’re lying in the bed), and you’re using up more nutrients and water. And if that’s not enough to wear you out, just toss into the draining equa¬tion all the other physical and emotional demands of pregnancy that your body is adjusting to. Add it all up, and it’s no wonder you feel as if you’re competing in a triathlon each day—and coming in dead last (or at least, dead tired).

 

Happily, there is some relief headed your way—eventually. Once the hercu¬lean task of manufacturing the placenta is complete (around the 4th month) and your body has adjusted to the hormonal and emotional changes pregnancy brings, you’ll feel a little peppier.

 

In the meantime, keep in mind that fatigue is a sensible signal from your body that you need to take it easier these days. So listen up, and get the rest your body needs.

 

Back Pain

 

Back pain during pregnancy is a common symptom that many women experience. They typically occur in the latter part of pregnancy, although they can occur earlier.

 

Shifting in your centre of gravity can be one cause, another can be the change in the curvature of your spine as the baby grows and the uterus enlarges. The health of your spine is crucial to your overall health as it holds all the pathways of energy to the rest of your body.

 

Breathlessness

 

You may experience breathlessness during pregnancy as your uterus grows and pushes against the diaphragm and other internal organs.

 

It can also be caused by a high level of progesterone, which tells the brain to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood. This results in faster and deeper breathing to exhale more CO2. Breathlessness can be a symptom of iron deficiency (especially when coupled with fatigue).

 

Morning Sickness and Nausea

 

Pregnancy sickness sometimes known as NVP (nausea and vomiting during pregnancy) is generally believed to be caused by an increase in hormones passing through the liver. It is usually helped by eating small snacks to keep levels of blood sugar balanced. Vitamin B6 is also thought to be effective as it supports liver metabolism. Ginger is another option for relieving nausea, and many women find acupuncture helpful. For most women, the sickness subsides by 12–16 weeks, but unfortunately, a small percentage of women feel sick throughout pregnancy.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 

Normally associated with people whose jobs involve repetitive hand movements, such as keyboard operators or factory machinists, carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy is also common. This is because fluid retention builds up pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. This nerve supplies feeling and movement to the hand and when restricted can cause numbness, tingling and in some cases intense pain. The symptoms generally subside after childbirth as fluid levels return to normal. During pregnancy, there are various ways of relieving the discomfort, such as wearing a wrist splint or practising the following exercise.

 

Groin Pain and Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

 

Groin pain is fairly common in pregnancy and can be severe. It is often caused by the hormone relaxing softening the ligaments, tendons and muscles that support the joints, and it usually occurs any time from the middle of pregnancy onward.

 

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is a condition caused by the relaxing of the ligaments supporting the symphysis pubis joint in order to facilitate birth.

 

If the ligaments are too loose, the joint becomes unstable and it will probably feel painful to part your legs or to make asymmetrical movements. A related condition is when the gap in the pubic joint widens too much (diastasis symphysis pubis).

 

Heartburn

 

Heartburn can occur during pregnancy because the muscles of the oesophagus and stomach soften, slowing down digestion and relaxing the valve at the base of the oesophagus. This allows the contents of the stomach to flow back up the oesophagus more easily. As your baby grows bigger the uterus presses against the stomach, making heartburn even more likely.

Sciatica

 

Sciatica can show itself by a shooting pain down the middle of the leg or pain in the centre of the buttocks. In pregnancy, it can be caused by the uterus putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. Gentle stretching often helps this condition.

 

Lower Leg Problems

 

Swollen ankles and feet are very common during pregnancy. Your body retains fluid to supply your need for extra blood and to replenish amniotic fluid. Varicose veins may also occur as the expanding uterus puts pressure on the pelvic veins, making it harder for blood to return to the heart from the legs. With more blood circulating and the effect of progesterone relaxing the blood vessels, these may bulge. Avoid sitting, standing or kneeling for long periods. Support socks or tights may be helpful. Many women also find acupuncture helps.

 

How Prenatal Yoga Helps?

 

 

Yoga can help you to accept and interpret the changes that you are going through. Respecting your body, eating wisely and practising yoga during your pregnancy all help to build awareness so you will notice when you are out of balance and can take remedial action. As you move with the awareness of the breath, you keep prana or energy flowing freely in the channels (nadis) of your body, restoring equilibrium and even helping to prevent common ailments from developing in the first place. Many women who regularly do yoga sail through their pregnancy without any problems. You can follow trimester-wise modified yoga protocol to make your prenatal yoga a life-changing wonderful experience as under:

 

Prenatal Yoga during the First Trimester

 

The first trimester holds a mixed bag for most women. There can be a lot of joy as well as much discomfort too. Consult with an experienced prenatal yoga teacher to find out how to modify your practice as your body changes e.g. substitute Ustrasana (Camel Pose) and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) for Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward-Facing Bow Pose) during your first trimester. Do not do inversions, twists, or jumps in your first trimester. Also, do not imitate YouTube videos uploaded for prenatal yoga. It’s important not to hamper or threaten implantation of the fetus and placenta.

 

Prenatal Yoga during Second Trimester

 

By the second trimester, most women feel comfortable sharing the fact that they are pregnant, the second trimester is the brimming days for prenatal yoga. Now your morning sickness has probably abated (or will do so soon) and while your belly has started growing, it hasn’t yet begun to hamper your ability to move freely. Many prenatal modifications are designed to accommodate a big belly and prevent compression of the uterus.

 

Standing poses (Utthita Trikonasana, Utthita Parsvakonasana, Virabhadrasana I and II, Utkatasana  and balance poses such as Vrksasana, Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose), and Virabhadrasana III are great for building strength in the legs and increasing circulation to prevent swelling in the feet and ankles—but with the wall or with a chair, in case you feel unbalanced. Chest and hip openers such as Gomukhasana, Viprita Namaskar are favourite poses for this trimester.

 

This trimester is a good time to introduce you with pranayama exercises as Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath) and Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate-Nostril breathing). Good practice for breathing techniques that will help you during labour and delivery. Avoid poses that strain or put pressure on the abdominals. By the fifth month, you will be aware of the movement of your baby, now it is the time to connect and establish your bonding with the baby.

 

Prenatal Yoga during Third Trimester

 

Now your body is really changing, the baby’s movement is strong. The sacroiliac joints are loosening, and breathing becomes difficult. The extra weight and your protruding belly will likely to challenge your balance in every posture.  Now the balance is an issue, as is weight, and the presence of a projecting belly makes a lot of poses difficult, thus requiring modifications and props. The Balance postures practised during first and second trimester will make you feel lighter and more aligned. This trimester the focus would be on relaxing and rhythmic breathing techniques.

 

© Health First, Vadodara

Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain with Yoga

 

When a person develops rheumatoid arthritis, her or his world changes, and that world becomes a difficult and frightening place. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disorder that can adversely affect function, quality of life, and longevity. It is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Despite extensive research, we have not identified a cause, and so we do not have a cure. Though with variety of medicines and interventions we help manage the symptoms and help control the disease process.

 

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

 

To most people, arthritis means pain and stiffness in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis. With Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation plays a major role in causing joint problems. Mainly, this inflammation can bring about warmth and swelling in the joints in addition to significant stiffness and pain.

 

It is believed that the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis host other problems, too. People with rheumatoid arthritis often experience fatigue, low-grade fever, decreased appetite, depression, and muscle aches, along with pain and swelling in their joints. In fact, many people with Rheumatoid arthritis say that they just don’t feel overall wellbeing. This overall feeling of illness is common with rheumatoid arthritis because the condition is systemic, meaning that it affects more than one part of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis is also referred to as a chronic illness because it may last for months or years.

 

Mostly functional joints, known as synovial joints commonly involved in rheumatoid arthritis are finger joints, wrists, elbows, shoulders, some joints in the neck, jaw, hips, knees, ankles, and foot and toe joints. Rheumatoid arthritis most often affects the body symmetrically, meaning that arthritis on one side of the body matches that on the other.

 

One condition that is often confused with rheumatoid arthritis by patients is osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease (DJD). Osteoarthritis is quite different from rheumatoid arthritis and is much more common than rheumatoid arthritis.

 

There are lots of researches and studies conducted but little progress has been made to understand the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, the focus of current treatment in rheumatoid arthritis is on reducing the disabling consequences of disease and controlling the symptoms.

 

Inflammation is actually part of the body’s immune system response to the injury or infection, whenever we cut or burn ourselves, for example, inflammation occurs, though amount of inflammation involved is usually proportional to the severity of the injury or infection. However, in rheumatoid arthritis, the body launches a continuous immune response. When no known antigen is present, the body appears to fight against itself. Therefore, rheumatoid arthritis is often called an autoimmune disease meaning immune cells mistakenly react against the body, causing inflammation.

 

How Yoga Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain?   

 

Now people have become much more yoga conscious, and trends in therapeutic yoga practice for people with rheumatoid arthritis reflect this. Worldwide, physicians and others are adding up yoga as a complementary therapy with their treatment and advocating for yoga. Yoga can improve energy and strength, increase joint stability, help prevent joint deformities, decrease pain, and allow you to function better. Yoga affects more than just the symptoms of arthritis; it helps build stronger bones, promotes self-esteem, improves the quality of sleep, and decreases muscle tension and anxiety. A therapeutic yoga program faithfully adhered to will also benefit lungs, heart, and circulation. A person with rheumatoid arthritis can experience following advantages:

 

 

Range of Motion and Flexibility

 

Range of motion refers to the full range of movements that a particular joint can make. Yoga asanas involve moving body joints as far as it can comfortably be moved in all directions. The goal of yoga poses is to decrease stiffness and pain, maintain flexibility, and improve the function of the joints. As we are aware, inflammation and decreased use can impair function in the joints, and these postures are designed to prevent that loss. And in yoga, no weights are used.

 

Muscle strengthening

 

Yoga postures increase your muscle strength and muscle tone, allowing functioning with less muscle fatigue and more joint stability. Thus, muscles that are strengthened through asans practice actually help protect the joints. Strengthening exercises are equally important because muscles that are not used become smaller (become atrophied), and this causes them to become weaker. Also, tendons and ligaments can stretch and loosen in response to swelling in and around the joints, decreasing joint stability; strengthening exercises can help the joints compensate for these changes caused by RA. Isometric yoga poses involve simply tightening, or contracting, muscles (called muscle setting), an activity that helps maintain muscle strength.

 

Improving Immunity

 

In RA immune system is already fighting against the body, unhealthy lifestyle, weak muscles, anxiety and stress add fuel to the fire. Medicines do help the body recover from the disease but they don’t help improve the body’s immunity. Yoga, perhaps, is one of the most effective and time-tested natural immunity boosters that can be adopted for a healthier life.

 

Stress Management

 

Breathing and meditation are the simplest techniques that connect the body and mind. Deep breathing techniques have been shown to slow the heart rate, promote relaxation, improve emotional well-being, and enhance vitality. Focused breathing brings celerity into the moment.

*****

Life Never Begins At Sixty

 

Recently, I was invited by a “Navaratna” Central Public Sector Enterprise to deliver a talk for their retiring executives. On our soulful interaction, I found these retiring executives were having following stresses in their mind, which I feel may be true with most of the retiring employees:

 

Life without Purpose

 

Most of the retirees perceive their future life as a purposeless life. The feeling of no longer being useful or productive is very difficult to be accepted. Though professionally educated/ experienced retirees can plan to join some part-time or full-time job, become volunteers, start social work or happen to be devotees of certain sect but based on my experience what majority of them don’t plan is to address the issue of mobility means not being able to drive or commute independently that make it difficult not only for many seniors but for family.

 

Dealing with Loneliness

 

At the time of retirement, you may be financially secure but retirement coincides with the time children move out and get involved in their own families. Being alone is difficult to cope with at any age and even more so in our later part of life.

 

While post-retirement is considered the ideal time to spend with family and friends, they may live far away or not have the time. This results in social isolation leading to depression and causing seniors to withdraw which is detrimental to their physical, mental and emotional well-being.

 

Losing Power

 

Power is of importance to every human being. It is important to self-confidence, to a sense of self-worth and to contentment. Choosing whether to have coffee or tea and what sort of clothes to have is also considered a big power.

 

Being Dependent

 

Loss of the freedom to choose or to decide e.g. to go out, to read, to converse; loss of personal dignity, loss of privacy, loss of status and position can also be a source of acute suffering – very frightening. Waiting to go to the toilet, ringing the bell to get up from bed, especially when the family members are busy, eventually, someone comes, making a bit harassed.

 

The underlying cause of such Stressors:

 

The very idea that life begins at SIXTY stands on a wrong notion. A well-lived Life is lived every day-every moment. Our Life is like Test Cricket where God gives us two innings, how well you have played in your first innings will determine your success in the second inning ultimately leading to winning the match, in life perspective achieving Nirvana.

 

Unfortunately, we tend to take a plunge in the profession, power and progress to the extent that we forget to take care our own health, heart and happiness. We keep on procrastinating on the pretext of “Too Busy to Breath” syndrome.

 

Keep in mind, no price, position or power can compensate your family for your permanent absence or live with a bed-ridden human body. We should also stop blaming the organizations or job conditions for keeping you healthy, it is your responsibility. An organization can foot the bill of your ill-health, but for your wellness, you have to take steps every day.   

 

Master Key to have Successful Second Inning: Staying Physically Active and Healthy

 

As a prerequisite, to engage after retirement with any activity, we need to be healthy both physically and mentally. 

 

As we grow older, leading an active lifestyle becomes even more important to our health. Light exercises can increase muscle strength and even improve balance and coordination which reduces the risk of falls and injuries.

 

Leading an active lifestyle also helps reduce the risk of bone loss which is one of the main causes of fractures among the elderly. However, a sound base of healthy habits starts in your first inning when you are young, productive and able to take care of your mind, body and soul and also ready to get out of sedentary lives.

 

Image Coursey 

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Yoga Therapy – an Alternate Way of Looking at ADHD

Millions of school aged children, as well as a large number of adults, are diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. Although estimates vary from 1 percent to 20 percent, most researchers believe that approximately 5-8 percent or more of children have this disorder. Today, the vast majority of these children as well as adults are put on medication as the main feature of their treatment. Given that long-term medications can ameliorate ADHD symptoms but may also have negative side-effects such as sleep disturbances, reduced appetite, and mood disorders, involving physical activity can serve as a low-risk treatment for ADHD symptoms.

Yoga is an age-old discipline developed and practiced in our country and more recently introduced and popularized throughout the World.  Practicing Yoga is considered as physical discipline of breathing and body postures designed to strengthen and cleanse the body as a part of our spiritual philosophy.

Recent researches suggest that Yoga Exercises shows promise as an effective treatment, reporting improvement in measures of interference control, set shifting, consistency in response speed, vigilance and impulsive control among individuals with ADHD.

Therapeutic Yoga has been found to be a feasible school intervention for children with emotional and behavioural disorders and can be effective in ameliorating the symptoms that also pervasively occur in children with ADHD, such as inattention and bad adaptive skills in class. Yoga, being different from normal physical exercise, its practicing steers individuals to master certain breathing techniques, postures, and cognitive control which can help promote self-control, attention, body awareness, and stress management.

Role of Yoga Therapy

Yoga uses body postures and breathing practices to strengthen muscles, improve balance, increase body awareness, allow greater range of joint motion, promote relaxation and emotional regulation. Yoga Therapy uses props and modified practices to allow people with disabilities to experience the same benefits. In essence, the practice of yoga exercise elicits reduced activation of the sympathetic nervous system and increased activation of the parasympathetic nervous system resulting in a sense of equilibrium into the body and mind, and increased emotional self-regulation. Yoga

Strengthening Motor Functioning

Here! yoga works on the child’s fundamental ability to use his nervous system and control his body in a healthy, age-appropriate way. This would include balancing, coordination, movement, integrating left and right body parts, hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and the like. Yoga Therapy sessions incorporate challenges to the muscles in the trunk (hips, tummy, back, sides, neck), upper extremities (shoulders, arms), and weight bearing in the hands during fine motor treatment.

Breathing

Most of us seldom pay any attention to the way we breathe.  In fact, majority of the people are “shallow breathers”.  This means that we are not aware of the tendency to breathe into our chest, filling only the upper portion of the lungs. These short shallow breaths result in respiration which is inefficient because you breathe many more shallow breaths to get adequate oxygen into the circulatory system.  Shallow breathing actually creates the “fight or flight” stress response in the body.  Breathing is one of the few autonomic body systems over which we have control e.g. we can immediately and directly slow down and deepen the breath.  Most of the children are unaware of their breathing pattern. Children with disabilities may be even less aware of their breath. Some children even habitually and unintentionally hold their breath.  Awareness of the breath can be difficult and sometimes confusing for children, especially ADHD/ADD. Thus breathing awareness becomes one of the most challenging lessons in Yoga Therapy Session. For children who struggle with symptoms of emotional regulation, mood swings, anxiety, or lethargy, breathing techniques can help greatly to modulate the body and bring calmness in mind.

Body Awareness

One of greatest benefits of yoga for children with ADHD/ADD is increased body awareness. Coordinating with breathing and movement during asanas practice together becomes the first level of work.  For example, lifting an arm with inhalation and lowering with exhalation not only helps with motor control and planning, and provides an inner sense of rhythm. Performing more complex tasks like learning to flex or tighten a muscle or being able to correctly identify the thigh, ankle, wrist and chin helps kids embody the words they hear used so often, gives students a sense of power and self-esteem.

Though, Yoga is often not thought of as therapy, there is a growing body of practitioners who use the methods and techniques of yoga as a therapeutic tool in various populations, setting, and disabilities.  And Yoga therapy is being recognized as a stand-alone therapeutic tool or combined with another discipline can be of great benefit for those with disabilities and in need of physical rehabilitation.