It is the occasion of International Yoga Day, the one day in the year when many of us bring out those yoga mats and gym tights, brushing up our asanas with the promise of being more consistent and disciplined this time around! But once the hype dies down on our social media feed, we very casually scroll past our resolutions too.
Incredible Goa Team in conversation with Vrinda Kanani, a dancing supermom from Vasconda Gama is a fitness instructor specialized and certified internationally in Yoga, Zumba, and Piloxing among others. On the occasion of International Yoga Day, she shares with us some unmissable benefits of Yoga that might motivate you to stick with your routine!
Improve your balance, flexibility and build strength
Yoga is not just great for weight loss and fat loss but is also known to improve endurance and fitness in the long run. Many people notice an instant improvement in their flexibility. It is also known to give the practitioners better posture with time! The “Tree pose” is a popular one to try, if you want to work on this aspect.
Yoga helps with aches and pains
Whether it is a migraine or back pain, Yoga can bring you relief from all of them. Vrinda says, “I always encourage people to practice simple asanas for pain relief instead of relying excessively on medicines. Do you have a migraine? Do the hastapadasana or shishuasana. Experiencing neck pain? Do some basic low-intensity stretches.
Yoga relieves arthritis
That’s right! Arthritis is one of those difficult conditions that necessitate regular exercise to maintain bone health but also makes any rigorous training very painful. In this case, Yoga is the happy medium! Gentle yoga has been shown to ease some of the discomforts of tender, swollen joints for people with arthritis, according to a Johns Hopkins review of 11 recent studies.
Yoga benefits Heart Health
Regular yoga practice may reduce levels of stress and body-wide inflammation, contributing to healthier hearts. Additionally, it also is a great way to manage conditions such as hypertension, blood pressure, and excessive weight gain which act as contributors to heart disease.
Yoga helps with relaxation and better sleep
Yoga can be very helpful in relieving stress and feel lighter, or as Vrinda prefers to say, “Inhale peace with every breath and exhale your stress and tension,” she adds, “in these times of the pandemic when stress, fear, and work pressure is all around us, it is very important to create a safe, positive and mindful space in our homes, which one can do by practicing yoga,” she said.
Apart from pranayam, anulom-vilom or chanting, scientific evidence shows that yoga poses such as the Shavasana (corpse pose) and bridge pose, support stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss, and quality sleep.
Yoga is for everyone!
Yoga is one exercise that is very inclusive, there is no severe rigidity here. All asanas can be done by people and children of all ages with varying intensity to reap the desired benefits. Although men mostly prefer heavy gymming and weights, in more recent times, several male celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar have shared their experiences with Yoga in order to encourage more men to try it out. Jennifer Aniston, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Adam Levine, David Beckham and Lady Gaga are other stars who have always sworn by Yoga.
Yoga connects you with a supportive community
That’s right, with over 300 million Yoga practitioners around the world, Yoga has massive appeal among the people. Being more attached to the community which works out and stays healthy in the same ways as you do, is an easy way to remain committed to your discipline!
There are a number of Yoga retreats that happen and still are happening online, despite the pandemic! So you can enroll yourself in any of these to kick-start your journey with Yoga. Vrinda Kanani herself has been organizing free Yoga sessions for women each year, this being her second time in a row. These sessions are a great way to find a community of individuals who share the same fitness goals and challenges as you, and to achieve those together, while having some fun in the process!
Sharing with us some tips on starting off with Yoga, Vrinda says that one should be very particular about the warm ups and the stretches. They are essential to ensure a safe workout, free from sprains and cramps.
Irrespective of whether you are a beginner or a pro, Surya Namaskars are a great exercise. They work the whole body and are therefore a complete workout in itself. “At a slow speed it acts as a warm-up, at a moderate speed it is your quintessential flexibility and weight management set, and when performed vigorously, it works as cardio for you. This way, it is a very versatile exercise, and doing merely 21 a day will also be enough,” Vrinda adds, “it can be difficult to exercise for a very long time which is why, to begin with, 15-20 minute bursts are also great.”
Over the years, Yoga has been proven to cure and manage a number of conditions that are mostly a gift of the modern sedentary lifestyle such as obesity, hormonal imbalance, stress with its physiological symptoms, and heart disease. “As a practicing nutritionist, I have been getting many cases of obesity among children nowadays due to a mainly indoor lifestyle and diet that comprises junk,” Vrinda says.
Among young girls and women, PCOS, hormonal imbalance and weight gain, excessively painful periods, are all very common problems today. For women in their menopause, joint pains and low bone density are leading problems. There are safer, natural cures to this in various Yoga poses and a general Yogic lifestyle that are far better than any allopathy which often proves counterproductive with multiple side effects in these cases.
It is essential for people, especially parents, to understand that health begins within the family. Not bringing junk food home and encouraging children to have a more active lifestyle is very important in the given scenario. In view of this, practicing yoga together as a family in fact comes off as an ingenious way to spend some quality time together too.
Yoga requires minimum space and almost no equipment- your own body is all you need! That makes it perfect for the pandemic times when we are all locked up at our homes. So don’t let lockdowns be your excuse to turn your back on fitness and healthy living! Lastly, she says, “Yoga is a discipline that has its roots in India. Therefore, we should practice it as much as possible so that this part of our heritage and culture is always preserved.”
As the world observes International Yoga Day today, on 21st June, UN’s website enlists the theme for this year’s Yoga Day as ‘Yoga for Well-Being’ and how the practice of Yoga can promote the holistic health of every individual, and further explores the physical and psychological impact of Covid-19 pandemic on people.
A healthy mind can indeed reside only in a healthy body. “You cannot be happy and keep others around you happy unless you are feeling absolutely healthy, fit, and strong in your mind and body. This is something we should all try to work towards every day given that the situations in the world today are by and large grim,” quoted Vrinda.