Making friendship with stress: Yoga has a promise

It’s a simple fact that stress is a part of life. No one can avoid it. Stress is the natural way we gear up to meet life’s demands; it’s the way we react to all the challenges of our day-to-day existence—mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

 

Imagine a person walking down a path in the woods. Suddenly he sees a lion. His heart starts pounding, hands get sweaty, and breathing gets deeper and louder. All his senses are on alert. If the lion starts to come toward him, he’ll have to be prepared. He’ll need to either run his fastest to get away or, if that option fails, fight his hardest to conquer. To create this fight-or-flight or stress response, his body has to be able to gear up very quickly to do a lot more than it usually has to do. And it has to do so whether the threat is a lion or something far more ordinary, such as a boss who’s yelling at him, or being late for work.

 

Stress has been given a bad rap over the years. The truth is that some stress is actually beneficial, when the threat is actual lion; it provides the driving force to fight-or-flight. It motivates us to get things done and achieve goals. Stress becomes a problem when we to feel paralyzed and overwhelmed by the challenges before us. Then worry sets in, and we feel ‘stressed’. How we experience stress is unique to each of us. Different people are stressed by different things; equally every person expresses their stress in different ways.

 

Here is a list of things that can change the way one deals with stress these approaches will help to better manage in an immediately stressful situation and take a longer term perspective with the aim of preventing stress peaking at dysfunctional levels.

 

Yoga

Exercise may indeed be stress-reducing, as multiple studies have concluded, but the self-observation necessary to recognize and stop the deleterious effects of the stress response before it spirals out of control is the key. A daily Yoga practice provides the time and space to experience the sensations of the body and to interpret them. Is the breath short, are the muscles tense? The heart of Yoga practice resides in self-awareness, so it is appropriate that we turn to it for behavior modification. In this way Yoga may provide a framework to address the chronic stress response. It gives us techniques with which to analyze our own thought processes and finally to lay bear our true human identity. The promise of Yoga is not the easy arithmetic of “do this and that will happen.” The promise is that Yoga offers a path to self-discovery.

 

Relaxation

In order to change the stress response it is necessary to become familiar with relaxation. Shava-asana (corpse pose) provides the perfect training ground for relaxation. Here is an area where Yoga clearly differs from a simple exercise prescription for stress relief. Training the body to respond to the request for relaxation on a muscular level and breathing deeply create a habit of relaxation that can be very helpful in turning off the stress response.

 

Meditation

Anyone can practice meditation. It is simple and inexpensive and, does not require any special equipment. The best part is that one can meditate anywhere – whether one is out for walk, riding bus, waiting at airport departure lounge or even before difficult business meeting. Meditation is sort of generic term for the many ways to reach a relaxed state of being. There many types of meditation, all of which share the same goal of achieving inner peace e.g. simply breathing techniques, focusing on an object, guided meditation, mantra meditation, mindfulness meditation and engage in prayer etc.

 

In addition to above, other stress relievers can also make us healthier and even more attractive for example, sound sleep eating right, spend time with family, keeping our emotions in check and making us more resilient to stress.

Win “Battle of Bulge” with sword of Homoeopathy…

 

Till about two decades ago, the issue of overweight was emerging as a public health concern primarily in children of developed western countries. However, Asian countries such as India have also caught up with this phenomenon. India is now being considered a fast weight gaining nation, ironically, at the same time it is also struggling with malnutrition. According to various studies, the current prevalence of childhood overweight in India could range from 4% to 22%. Obesity is mainly observed in urban children as young as three years up to 12 years. Out of every 10 urban children, at least three are obese and overweight. Most of these over-fed children belong to well-to-do upper and upper-middle class families.

 

Causes of obesity in children

As everyone already knows that children are becoming heavier, environmental and hereditary factors play the major role in childhood obesity. In only 5 to 10 percent cases endocrine, syndromic or CNS causes are implicated. The causes of childhood obesity may be following:

 

  • More and more children live in cities and suburbs where walking and other physical activities are discouraged by the design and the lifestyle.
  • There’s an increased consumption of fast food, which is high in calories and fat.
  • There’s a decrease in physical activities at school and after school. Children are usually driven to and from school. After school, the time that previous generations spent running around in the outdoors is now used for watching TV, surfing the Internet, and playing video games.
  • Endocrine –Growth Hormone Disorder, hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome
  • Genetic syndromes- Prader-Willi, Laurence-Moon-Biedl, Turner.
  • CNS lesions – infection, surgery, radiation, craniopharyngioma
  • Miscellaneous-steroids, anti-epileptics.

 

Complications associated with obesity:

If proper treatment is not taken this may lead to further complications:

  • Congestive heart failure, hypertension, dyslipidemia, left ventricular hypertrophy.
  • Dyspnoea & fatigue, obstructive sleep apnea, asthma.
  • Stroke, Pseudo tumor cerebri.
  • Degenerative arthritis, low back pain, Blount’s disease.
  • Type 2DM, PCOS, Infertility.
  • GERD, Reflux oesophagitis.
  • Bipolar disorder, Depression/ Low self –esteem, Behaviour abnormalities.

 

Homeopathic treatment of childhood obesity

Homoeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat childhood obesity but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. Dealing with obesity has to be directed to achieving two goals:

 

  1. Prevention: Homoeopathy can be an important part of these efforts. By eliminating the need to take conventional medications that are known to cause weight gain, such as hormones and antipsychotic medications, homoeopathy helps to significantly decrease the number of obese children.
  2. Treatment: Some children who are seemingly healthy still have a tendency to eat more than they need to and to become overweight. Constitutional treatment of these children addresses their core issues and ultimately helps resolve this problem, too.

 

Homeopathy treatment for obesity

As causatives are different, each person is not alike; homoeopathy treats with its individualistic approach. Constitutionally there are remedies that help with basic constitutional types that often have tendency to be overweight like, Antim Crud, Calcaria Carbonicum, Graphitis, Lycopodium, Natrum muriaticum, Nux Vomica, Phytolacca and many more. Homeopathic remedies for weight loss help in reducing weight by balancing the hormones and regulating the metabolic processes. The best part is that it is safe in all ages, non- harming, gives long lasting effects. Rational eating habits and exercise can make children strong and fit no matter what their innate structure and size are.

Yoga Therapy for Weight Loss

Obesity is defined as an excess accumulation of fat due to positive energy balance, resulting from energy intake that exceeds the energy expenditure, it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to many health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, certain types of cancer and osteoarthritis.

 

People with BMI in the range between 25 and 30 are considered overweight while those with BMI above 30 are considered obese. Obesity is mainly due to intake of excessive food energy and sedentary life style. It can also be hereditary. However, in some cases it is caused by genes, endocrine disorders, some medication or psychiatric illness. Nowadays stress also plays a vital role in causing obesity. Psychological disturbances propel a person to seek comfort in food -such a person may consume excess food. Children suffering from such disturbances, tend to become obese.

 

One of the most challenging aspects of combating obesity is incorporating physical activity into the lifestyles of individuals who struggle with limited mobility as a result of their increased weight. In this circumstances yoga therapy can play a vital role in shedding excessive fat.

 

Why Yoga Therapy?

In yoga therapy, asanas are not practiced for the sake of burning extra calories, but to develop body awareness, to understand the language of body, the way it works, and what suits it best. Even though the aim of yoga is not just for weight loss, this is bound to happen as an outcome of our increased self-awareness. However, one must remember 3 D’s i.e. Discipline, Determination & Dedication in reducing weight naturally and allow his or her awareness to develop in a positive and constructive manner.

 

Asanas for losing weight quickly and easily

There are many yoga postures or asanas that can help with weight reduction. Suitably modified poses can be performed from a sitting or prone position as yoga is easily adaptable to fit a person with limited mobility. Pawanmuktasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Gomukasana, Vajrasana, Paschimottanasana, Trikonasana, Pada Hastasana, Yoga Mudrasana, etc. are few to name. In fact, most yogic postures will help to bring the body to perfect shape and to reduce unwanted fat around the body.

 

Surya Namaskara or the Sun Salutation postures is one of the most favorite ways of burning calories if done briskly. It is a series of 12 postures performed in sequence. It is a sure way to make the body flexible and reduce weight.

 

Many people may not be obese, but still suffer from fat around the belly. This can be reduced by doing asanas like Mayurasana. If one finds Mayurasana difficult to perform, then do Hansasana. Both postures help to put pressure against the abdomen and relieve belly fat.

 

Pranayama to stimulate the metabolism

The pranayama practices stimulate the metabolism which helps to burn excessive fat in the body. These include: Bhastrika, Kapalbhati and Suryabheda, which are performed along with balancing practices like Nadi Shodhan and Ujjayi. Sheetali and Sheetkari are relaxing, cooling practices which influence different hypothalamic centers having control over thirst and the feeling of satisfaction with healthy quantities and qualities of food.

 

Mindful Eating

If the source of obesity is an eating disorder like binging or overeating, yoga’s therapeutic approach may be used to manage harmful food behaviors. As food plays major role in reducing obesity, yoga recommends satvik diet regularly. The ideal yoga diet is a vegetarian one, composed of pure, simple, natural and easily digestible foods that promote health and overall well-being. Raw vegetable, fruits and sprouts should be main meals. Refined and processed food, fast food and non-vegetarian diet should be avoided or reduced as they help in weight gain.

 

One must understand that fast results are generally prone to relapse. Hence, one should not aim at shortcuts but maintain yoga as part the life style under trained eyes, positive results are bound to astonish.

Living with bad posture can be injurious to the health

Posture is basically the position of the body in space, the relationship of the body parts—head, trunk, and limbs—to each other. Changes in posture take place when any part of the body is moved. More so; how one looks and feels is directly related to one’s posture. Despite the importance of having good posture, most of us don’t do anything to improve it. And over time, bad habits lead to fatigue, depression, pain and headaches because we think it’s normal.

Living with bad posture can cost heavily. The muscle and ligament imbalances that result from poor alignment can lead to all sorts of problems viz. Chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain, Foot, knee, hip, and back injuries, Headaches, Stiffness, Fatigue, Muscle atrophy and weakness, Difficulty breathing, Digestion issues, Impingement and nerve compression, Sciatica and Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Poor Posture – How does it happen?

Often, poor posture develops because of accidents or falls. But bad posture can also develop from environmental factors or bad habits. Today, posture-related problems are increasing because we become a society that watches more television than any previous generation and we have become a more electronic society, with more and more people working at sedentary desk jobs or sitting in front of computer terminals.

Tips for keeping good posture lifelong

  1. Keep weight down – excess weight, especially around the middle, pulls on the back, weakening stomach muscles.
  2. Develop a regular program of exercise – regular exercise keeps one flexible and helps tone muscles to support proper posture.
  3. Buy good bedding – a firm mattress will support the spine and help maintain the same shape as a person with good upright posture.
  4. Pay attention to injuries from bumps, falls and jars – injuries in youth may cause growth abnormalities or postural adaptations to the injury or pain that can show up later in life.
  5. Have eyes examined – a vision problem can affect the way one carry oneself as well as cause eyestrain.
  6. Be conscious at working place ergonomics. Invest in an ergonomic chair, keyboard and mouse.
  7. Get up and stretch every half hour or hour, if possible. This will give body a break and allow organs to get the oxygen they need.
  8. Focus on exercises that strengthen core. A strong core will make it much easier for body to remain in an upright position.
  9. Practice yoga.Yoga encourages good posture. A large portion of the poses require keeping shoulders and chest broad, which open the lungs and allows breathing easily.

Posture ranks at the top of the list when we talk about good health. It is as important as eating right, exercising, getting a good night’s sleep and avoiding potentially bad habits. Good posture is a way of doing things with more energy, less stress and fatigue. Without good posture, one cannot really be physically fit.