Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Lola - Padahastasan - Drives away constipation

The Asana that is variedly called Lola-Padahasta is highly beneficial for many cmplications of abdomen, excess weight, indigestion and constipation. It helps improve the blood circulation, the spine to be supple and tones up the spinal nerves.

For this practice, in the first step stand erect, keep your spine erect, look straight and relax. Now slowly raise both your hands up and join together. Both your palms should touch each other straight above your head. Bend forward to reach the middle of both your toes. One can take slight swing of the trunk down from the hips allowing the arms and head to swing through the legs.

As for breathing, inhale in the standing position and begin to xhale in the bent posture both through the mouth and nose. This facilitates the stagnant air to be expelled from the lower lungs. While bending forward one has to try to contract the abdomen for this effect.

The awareness is mostly physical on the pelvic region and concentration should be on the synchronisation of breath with physical movement of the waist and hands.

People with slipped disc should not practice this, even as those who are suffering from vertigo and high blood pressure. This practice is beneficial further for stretching the hamstrings, back muscles, loosening the hips and massaging the visceral organs. It enhances the lymphatic flow in the major ducts.

YOGA - A System of Physical excercise and Natural Healing

Yoga as a system of physical exercise has been in existence in India since very ancient times. According ot our ancient sages, there are eight stages of Yoga, namely Yama (Social Discipline), Niyama (Individual Discipline), Asana (Postures), Pranayama (Breath Control), Pratyahara (Mental Discipline), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation) and Samadhi (Self-realization). If an aspirant, after observing the disciplines of Yama and Niyama, practises Yogic exercises, his tubular channels are cleansed, he achieves excellent health and his mind becomes alert. This enables him to experience mental ecstasy.

Man has made tremendous progress in almost every walk of life. Objects once considered impossible to be achieved have now been achieved by us. What we have achieved and accomplished today could not have been imagined in their dreams by our past generations. Modern scientists and researchers have absolutely changed our life-style. Science has beenincessantly pouring on us new materials and devices to make our physical life more happy and comfortable.
However, pollution of air, water, body and mind is also the result of science. We witness despair and disappointment on the faces of our young generation. Signs of restlessness are apparently visible in the dry and dull eyes of our young men and women. Sloping shoulders, flat chests and bulging stomachs have become their characteristics. Why?

Today, we can claim that we are moderna nd civilized but cannot claim that we are genuinely happy. We, today, use tranquillizers for sleep, pills for purgative and tonics for vigour. Tranquillizers and sedatives are in vogue in our modern society. Charmed by and then, addicted to intoxicative drugs, our youth is led to the path of disgrace and self-destruction.
Longing for material wealth has hardened our heart. Human values are declining. Work to time, competition and commotion have made us suffer from stress and strain. Mental tension or strain produces undesirable consequences. Stress and strain are the causes of physical as well as psychological diseases such as diabetes, cancer, acidity, ulcer, migraine and hypertension.
How can we prevent ourselves from being strained and degenerated? Should we return to the cave-life and live as the aborigines lived?
As a matter of fact, to do this is neither practical nor necessary. Yoga has the surest remedies for man's physical as well as psychological ailments. Yoga makes the organs of the body active in their functioning and has good effect on internal functioning of the human body. Yoga changes for good man's views on, and attitude to, life.
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning to bind the yoke. It is the true union of our will with the will of God.
Our ancient sages have suggested eight stages of Yoga to secure purity of body, mind and sould and final communion with God. These eight stages are known as Ashtangayoga.
The eight stages of Yoga are as follows :
1. Yama (Social Discipline): Yama means restraint or abstention. It contains five moral practices. They are:
Non-violence (Ahimsa), Truthfulness (Satya), Non-stealing (Asteya), Celibacy (Brahmacharya) and Non-acquisitiveness (Aparigraha).
2. Niyama (Individual Discipline): Rules of conduct towards oneself consist of certain disciplines which are both physical and mental. These are five in number:
Cleanliness (Shaucha), Contentment (Santosha), Austerity (Tapas), Self-Study (Svadhyaya) and Surrender to God (Ishvara Pranidhana)
3. Asana (Postures): Asana means holding the body in a particular posture to bring stability to the body and poise to the mind. The practice of asana brings purity in tubular channels, firmness to the body and vitality to the body and the mind. There are many asanas, but keeping in view a comman's health, 65 asanas have been in practice and will be soon available at this website.
4. Pranayama (Breath Control): The literal meaning of Pranayama is Breath Control. The aim of practising Pranayama is to stimulate, regulate and harmonize vital energy of the body. Just as a bath is required for purifying the body, so also Pranayama is required for purifying the body. Just as a bath is required to purifying the body, so also Pranayama is required for purifying the mind.
5. Pratyahara (Discipline of the Senses): The extroversion of the sense organs due to their hankering after worldly objects has to be restrained and directed inwards towards the source of all existence. This process of drawing the sense inwards is Pratyahara or putting the sense under restraint.
6. Dharana (Concentration): Dharana means focusing the pure mind on one's personal deity or on the individual self. The practice of Dharana helps the mind to concentrate on a particular object.
7. Dhyana (Meditation): When one sustains and maintains the focus of attention through Dharana unbound by time and space, it becomes Dhyana (Meditation). Deep concentration destroys the Rajas and Tamas Gunas of mind and develops the Satvika Gunas (qualities).
8. Samadhi (Self-Realisation): The eight and final stage of Yoga is Samadhi. At this stage, one's identity becomes both externally and internally immersed in meditation. The meditator, the act of meditation and the object meditated upon, all the three shed their individual characteristics and merge with one single vision of the entire cosmos. Supreme happiness, fee from pleasure, pain or misery, is experienced. Samadhi is the climax of Dhyana.
The group of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi is called "Samyama" (the internal Yoga) in the Science of Yoga. The first five stages - yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara - Constitute the External Yoga. If all these five stages are practised and followed in life, virtues like morality, morally sound conduct and good character are develope3d in man. Besides, there is all-round progress in human life, physically, intellectually and spiritually and man attains physical fitness and mental equanimity.
Thus, asanas are only one of the stages of Yoga. Most of the aspirants practising Yoga practise, in fact, these asanas. However, all the eight stages of Yoga are of importance. the practice fo al the stages together and Pranayama bring a good deal of permanent benefits.

Triyak Kati Chakra and Muscle Coordination - For your Spine

KATI Chakrasan ensures reduction of waistline and belly, removal of gas and toxins from the body besides improving digestion and circultion of blood in the middle part of the body. Among different Kati Chakrasan postures, Tiyak Kati Chakra is much more effective for the body.

Stand erect with the feet apart, inhale and raise the arems over the head and rotate the hands. bend the trunk forward so that the back forms a right angle between the legs. Hold the breath at this position. For relaxation, raise the waist and lower the hands, and breathe normally. This practice should go on for at least 5-6 times.

People who complain of lower back pain and stiffness of spine can benefit from this. By rotating the hands, oxygen is supplied evenly to all parts of the body. Muscles around the abdominal and spinal regional are benefitted by attaining more flexibility through this exercise. Apart from these parts, the legs are also strengthened.

Concentrate on breathing so that you are not distracted. This asan, if started early, will help you keep your tummy trim and fit.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Party with Care - Hangover blues

Party Goers are already working over time on plans to usher in 2005. If New Year's Eve is for the energetic party-goer, New Year's day is designed for the hangover. The day after the big night is all about recovering. Follow these steps and get back to your best:

  • Drink water as soon as you get up in the morning to rehydrate yourself. The electrolytes and nutrients in a sports drink is good to replenish your body's depleted reserves.
  • Drink more wter if you plan to have coffee. caffeine can contribute to dehydration. But black strong coffee works the best.
  • Drinks that are excessively hot or cold will be even more of a shock to your struggling stomach.
  • Take medicines to get rid off the pounding headache or body aches.
  • Eat easily digestible foods when you're ready. Fresh fruit, toast and water-based soups are all easy on the stomach. Harder-to-digest foods such as eggs and milk can cause stomach problems.

TIPS: Take preventive measures beforehand. Drink responsibly and in moderation. If you've drunk in excess and suspect you'll be hung over the next morning, drink a few glasses of water right before you go to bed.
Rehydrate yourself with liquids that are at room temperature. Drinks that are excessively hot or cold will make your struggling stomach work even more.
Warning: Do not take an acetaminophen-based painkiller to relieve symptoms. Combining acetaminophen and alcohol can damage your lier. If you are an excessive drinker, beware when taking any over-the counter painkillers.
Its Celebration time which should'nt be spent whining or nursing a hangover. Take these tips, go ahead and pamper yourself on your big day.

Monday, December 20, 2004

All in a Gooseberry - Story of C

The amla has been found to be the most abundant source of Vitamin C in the plant kingdom

---containing as much as 20 times that of an orange. What makes this even more extraordinary is that unlike many other natural sources, the vitamin C content in amla does not diminish with cooking. It was used successfully in the treatment of scurvy during teh Hissar (Haryana) famine of 1939-40.

In recent times, there have been a few research reports that dispute the presence of vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid in amla and state that these are other acids mistaken for vitamin C. However, what is important is this. Even the reports disputing the presence of vitamin C in amla say that its antioxidant effect --- whether it'sjust due to the presence of polyphenols or a combination of them and vitamin C -- is so powerfu that it is significantly greater than that of vitamin C!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Eat Mushrooms, Stay HEALTHY

Mushrooms are gaining importance as health food and source of valuable medicines. It is estimated that there are 100,000 different kinds of mushrooms, of which 700 can be used as food.

They are rich in minerals, vitamin D (ergosterol), thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), dietary fibre as well as all the essential amino acids and are low in fat and calories.

Approximately 200 species appear to have medicinal value, each with its own unique chemistry.

Extensive research on medicinal mushrooms has been going on since the past 20 years in many countries. There are many plants that act as adaptogens (also known as biological response modifiers) to assist the body in adapting to environmental and psychological stress. All the important systems of the body including the nervrous, endocrine, adrenal, and immune systems benefit from adaptogens by increasing or decreasing their function as needed.

Studies suggest that mushrooms are pro-biotic. They keep our body healthy and ward off diseases by maintaining physiological homeostasis. The compounds they contain have been classified as Host Defence Potentiators (HDP), which enhances the immune system. Researches also show that there are thousands of semi essential, non-vitamin factors in mushrooms that protect the body against many diseases including cancer.

Medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake enhances immune function by stimulating cell-mediated immunity. Such mushrooms seem to turn on cells in the immune system called T-cells that appear to have significant cancer-fighting properties. Three different anticancer drugs extracted from mushrooms have been approved by the Japanese Health and Welfare Ministry. They are Lentinan, derived from Shiitake, Schizophyllan, derived from Suehirotake and PSK, derived from Kawaratake. PSK sold in Europe and Japan, is the best-selling cancer drug in the world. In Japan, only 30 percent of cancer treatment includes radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is a mushroom highly regarded in Japan for its medicinal and culinary properties. The studies show that the extracts from Maitake protect against hepatitis, tumours, and are effective in regulating blood presure, blood sugar, cholesterol and obesity. A polysaccharide known as beta-glucan, which activates immune cells, is believed to be largely responsible for Maitake's anti-tumour effects. Japanese physicians are using a Maitake extract for tumour inhibition, potentiating shark cartilage supplements, inhibition of cancer metastasis (cancer spreading), cancer prevention, and reversing HIV positive status to HIV negative. Cancer Treatment Centres of America, with hospitals in Chicago, Los Angeles and Tulsa, Okla, is now undertaking clinical double-blind placebo tests using Maitake D-fraction combined with chemotherapy in patients with advanced colorectal cancer. Data collected from 250 cancer patients indicate that side effects from chemotherapy, such as nausea and hair loss, are significantly reduced by it Maitake is also showing promising results with the HIV virus.

Reishi (ganoderma Lucidium) meets all the qualifications of being both a tonic and an adaptogen. A tonic strengthens and invigorates organs, and an adaptogen helps the body adapt to stress by readjusting to altered body conditions. In China, many pharmacological, chemical and biochemical studies have been conducted with Reishi. Reishi appears to strengthen the immune system and improve overall healthe. Specifically, it improves or prevents a variety of diseases and conditions including viral hepatitis, allergies, insomnia, neurasthenia (fatigue due to exhaustion of the nervous system) as well as some types of cancer. Reishi has also been clinically demonstrated to alleviate high blood pressure in humans. Reishi is rich in active organic compounds such as polysaccharides, amino acids, proteins, triterpenes, ascorbic acid, sterols, lipids, alkaloids, glucose, courmarine glycoside, volatile oil, riboflavin and more. These compounds are being studies for their positive effects on the immune system, including anti-tumor activity. Reishi is used as a daily tonic to maintain and improve good health increasing longevity, in the treatment of cancer and resistance to and recovery from diseases.

The shitake mushroom (Lentinus Edodes) is closely related to Reishi. Shitake is Japan's largest agricultural export and is now the most popular and most cultivated exotic mushroom in teh world. In China, Shitake has a history that dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D). The mushroom was used not only as a food but was taken as a remedy for upper respiratory diseases, poor blood circulation, liver trouble, exhaustion and weakness and to boost chi, or life energy. It was also believed to prevent premature aging.