Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fasting compliments yoga

Keep healthy and stay energized during Ramadan by taking up light activities such as walking or a yoga routine which has been designed simply to build strength, flexibility and also promote ’weight loss’. Of course one has to remember that because of the lengthy gap between suhoor(pre dawn meal) and iftar(evening meal), fewer calories are consumed and the energy in the body becomes limited and as a result the blood pressure is lowered. Therefore all care has to be taken to practice the right way and choose the right style which is less dynamic and less physically challenging.

“Yoga practice compliments fast” As the body releases toxins quite rapidly during the fast, it results in a detoxification process in an empty stomach. During the fast, the intestines don’t stop functioning, therefore as there is nothing to digest it starts eliminating toxins present in the body. This process of elimination of toxins is accelerated with the right yoga postures and breathing exercises, which may otherwise remain longer in the system resulting in side effects such as headaches, lethargy and fatigue. Yoga also re energizes the body and aids in the detoxification process so that the body remains fit. More detoxifying makes the energy channels more clear, hence less disease conditions.
 The combination of gentle moving, stretching and twisting together with deep breathing, speeds up the detoxification process.

  • Forward bending poses such as,

       Paschimottanasana / Seated forward bend


Janushirasana /  One Legged Forward Bend


Mahamudra / Great Mudra (apply the three bandhas)



    Mandukasana / Frog Pose

     Balasana / Child Pose


Upavistaknosana / Wide Angle Forward Bend

These will provide relaxation as there is pressure in the fore brain, as the position of the heart is parallel with other body parts which decreases blood pumping rates.

  • Backward bending poses such as,

Ushtrasana / Camel Pose

         Dhanurasana / Bow Pose

 Bhujangasana / Cobrra

       Setubandhasana / Bridge Pose

Matsyasana / Fish Pose

These raise the chest bone up so the heart will pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. The pressure in the stomach will improve the power of the organs in the stomach

  • Twisting poses

 Jathara Parivartanasana / stomach turning Pose 

Ardha Matsyendrasana / Spinal Twist

Parivritta Trikonasana / Reverse Triangle

These give a deep cleaning massage to the digestive track, 

namely: the stomach, intestines, pancreas, liver, and the gall 


The above integrated with Sun salutations, will help balance and restore the body’s natural system.
A little of cardio and ab work also aids the weight loss process, but remember to be gentle, slow and not exert oneself.
"Yoga's breathing exercises are also important and a very beneficial aspect for those who are fasting. Breathing exercises increase the oxygen in the body's cells and balance hormone production. The result is a stabilized, relaxed and fresh energetic body."I CHristianto
Fasting and yoga makes you feel psychologically uplifted, and the mind is strengthened to carry on...
All this done under the guidance of an instructor helps keep injuries at bay!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fiber and weight reduction

The general funda of WEIGHT REDUCTION is “Eat less and exercise more, beginning immediately and continuing over the span of a lifetime.”  But, what if the stomach has been conditioned to eat more and does not feel full with less intake of food. It is in this area that fiber can yield lasting benefits through several mechanisms. Fiber is a bulky food, a type of a carbohydrate which is more difficult to digest than fatty foods, fried foods, and candies. Once consumed, fiber enhances satiety and prolongs satiation after a meal through dilating the stomach and by prolonging retention of gastric contents. Fiber promotes secretion of both saliva and gastric acids both of which distend the stomach. The rate of absorption of nutrients is also decreased because of this prolonged retention of gastric and hence hunger does not return rapidly. So therefore eat more(fiber), weigh less and feel better. Persons eating less fiber tend to eat more of high energy food such as fats. Because, the bulk that fiber adds to the diet makes it impossible to eat the same quantity of high-energy foods. Research bears this out. If a patient adds 14 g of fiber to the diet, high-energy foods intake will be reduced by approximately 10%.
Cavemen ate 100-150 grams of fiber each day. Modern man eats just 15 grams. You should aim for 30-50 grams daily, ideally with a sizeable dose for breakfast.

There are 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid. You'll find it in foods like:

- Oat bran
- Dried beans and peas
- Nuts
- Barley
- Chia & flax seeds
- Fruits such as oranges and apples
- Vegetables such as carrots
- Psyllium husk

Insoluble fiber does NOT gel and instead passes through your intestines intact. Here's where you find it:

- Vegetables (like green beans and dark green leafy vegetables)
- Fruit skins and root vegetable skins
- Corn bran
- Seeds & Nuts

As a ‘yogi’, here are the important things to remember.

SOLUBLE FIBER slows down digestion and regulates hunger (this is good). It also helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. A diet high in soluble fiber can help reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and helps you lose weight.

INSOLUBLE FIBER  is the type that helps prevent constipation, colon problems and other digestive diseases.
Some tips for increasing fiber intake:
·         Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
·         Break the fast with fruits(try to add a fruit/ raw vegetable to your breakfast everyday
·         Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.
·         Choose whole grain cereals for breakfast.
·         Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips, crackers, or chocolate bars.
·         Substitute legumes for meat two to three times per week in chili and soups.

·         Check the label for fiber-filled whole grains
·         Eat more beans, which is a good source of fiber, proteins and carbs and many other important nutrients.

Eat an healthy diet rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits and you will get most of the fiber you need, which means that you will start your journey to weight and health management and will also be lowering the risks of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and constipation.
Not a bad package deal!!!!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Amla or the Indian gooseberry is one of the main sources of vitamin C(with as much as 20 times an orange) for the body. Aside from Vitamin C, amla’s mineral and vitamin contents include calcium, phosphorous, iron, carotene, thiamine(vitamin B1) and riboflavin(vitamin B2). It is a rich source of fibre and very little carbohydrate content. It also has a wide content of water. Amla has been identified to have potent antioxidant(chemical compounds that prevent the free radicals produced by the body through normal metabolism from damaging the healthy cells), immunomodulatory(regulates the immune system) and anti-stress properties.
The regular consumption of Amla Ras prevents bad effects of ageing, lack of energy and prevailing general body weakness, weakening of bones and weakening of vision, is a boon for blood pressure and diabetes, gastritis, cough, indigestion, obesity and weight management and is an excellent blood purifier.
Apart from its medicinal use it is widely used in traditional hair and skin care formulations It takes care of all skin diseases and checks the unwanted graying and falling of hair, prevents dandruff and works wonders for damaged, lifeless and dull hair.

The Shudh ras of this little fruit has myriad health benefits:
It gives the extra energy in pre and post delivery periods (Especially in lactation period)
Increases the haemoglobin percentage in the blood
Controls hyperacidity and useful for all stomach disorders
Prevents tooth decay
Prevents and treats acne and pimples
Excellent remedy for cold and cough
As it is a good antioxidant it reduces the risk of cancerous growth in the body
Amla helps counteract the harmful side-effects of anti-cancer drugs.
Amla may counteract the dangerous side-effects of conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy
Recently, Indian researchers from the Natural Remedies Research Centre, in Bangalore, found that a herbal remedy containing amla was effective against hay fever which causes inflammation and irritation of the delicate linings of the nose and eyes. 
It is believed that what GOLD is to the MINERALS, AMLA is to the HERBS. These reasons should be sufficient for anyone to start consuming an amla a day and keep their doctor away.

Friday, May 6, 2011

“Yoga” a complimentary therapy for Diabetes Management

 According to a study by the ‘International Diabetes Federation’ the number of diabetics globally has alarmingly risen from 30 million to 246 million over the past twenty years, the highest number of diabetics are found in the developing world, India and China claiming the maximum sufferers. WHO estimates that more than 180 million people worldwide have diabetes. The estimations are likely to more than double by 2030. One of the most common causes for deaths in the United States is diabetes. On an average, around 18 million Americans suffer from it. Indians are more prone to diabetes the main reason being insulin resistance. The consumption of too many unhealthy or fast/processed carbs(those that are quickly absorbed in the blood stream causing a huge rise in blood sugar or insulin) too much of stress, inactivity and obesity largely causes insulin resistance that develops into type II diabetes.
There are many factors in this explosive increase in the number of diabetics, the main being: Lifestyle and Heredity.
This high tech age gives us more leisure time and lessens our physical activity which leads to weight gain and obesity. This in turn leads to an oversupply of glucose in the blood stream. The body not able to produce adequate amount of insulin to process this oversupply is attacked by the type 2 diabetes also called Diabetes Mellitus. Intense stress is also a major cause to a rise in blood sugar level increasing the chances of developing type 2diabetes and worse if u already have it. Irregular and unhealthy eating habits also leads to the onset of diabetes. Exercise, dietary modifications and proper stress management can all contribute to reducing diabetes risk — something that is simple enough!!!!
A good yogic regimen when prescribed to diabetes patients acts as a complimentary therapy and leads to a near control of sugar levels for them. It is the best mode of physical activity that helps muscle cells use blood glucose for energy by making the cells more sensitive to insulin.
Regular practice of yoga reduces blood pressure, stress levels, weight, and affects the rate of progression of complications and also the severity of the complications as well.
A joint study conducted by a Biochemist, Dr. Robin Monro, the founder of Yoga Biomedical Trust, and  the Indian Yoga Research Org. concluded that 30 minutes of Yoga practice daily is complimentary to the medicines and helps reduces the blood sugar levels significantly. They took a group of diabetics from which a few were given a session of 30 min of yoga 3-4 days a week for 12 weeks. At the end of 12 weeks their blood sugar dropped down appreciably while for the others it remained the same. 
There are a few asanas that help endure this incurable disease, mainly by massaging the pancreas/by flexing the spine to stimulate nerve impulses/by stimulating the thyroid gland/ by circulating healing energies to the pancreatic cells to heal them.
Some of the asanas that have proved beneficial in controlling and reversing type 2 diabetes are briefly described below:
Paschmoottanasana/The Forward Bend: Massages and regulates the functions of the pancreas.

BHUJANGASANA / THE COBRA POSE: rejuvenates the nerves and muscles of the spine by stimulating them. Muscular relaxation, development and improved blood supply to muscles might enhance insulin receptor expression on muscles causing increased glucose uptake by muscles and thus reducing blood sugar.”

DHANURASANA / BOW POSTURE: Regulates pancreas, good for diabetics and also good for weight loss

ARDHA-MATSYENDRASANA/Spinal Twist: Brings abundant amount of exercise to the pancreas and makes individual free from excess of sugar in the blood/urine. Highly recommended for the treatment of diabetes

SARVANGASANA /THE SHOULDER STAND: By chin pressing on the throat, the thyroid gland is massaged and regulated as this asana brings a rich blood supply to the thyroid, so it actively regulates the body's metabolism and thereby sends healing energies to the pancreatic cells.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana/Bridge pose: reduces stress, improves digestion and stimulates thyroid and the abdominals

Halasana/Plough Pose: This Asana has proved very useful for the people suffering from thyroid defects, diabetes and hernia.  All glands in the body are activated.

Shalabhasana/The Locust Pose

: All parts of the abdomen get fully exercised. Pancreas is activated to function well. 

Mandukasana/Frog pose: It activates the pancreas, increases secretion of insulin and hence helps in managing diabetes

Ushtrasana/Camel pose:  Digestive power increases and it empowers all the inner organs of the body.

Balasana/Child pose: Massages the abdominal organs, a calming pose and helps relax the mind and body.
Matsyasna/Fishpose: According to a traditional text, Matsyasana is considered as the destroyer of all diseases. Good for the thyroid glands, useful for all abdominal ailments and boosts the immune system.

Surya Namaskar/The Sun Salutation: The most important yoga exercise for people suffering from diabetes is sun salutation. What it tends to do is that it increases your blood supply to various parts of the body and hence improves the insulin administration in the body. This exercise is so effective that the benefits can be experienced instantly if four rounds are done within a minute. It tones up the whole body & has a unique influence on the endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, nervous, digestive system helping to correct metabolic imbalances that cause and perpetuate obesity

All this followed by Pranayam and morning walk can do wonders in the management of diabetes!!!!
Caution: Please do not attempt any of the asanas on your own unless you have been guided by a yoga guru or certified teacher.