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May 2012

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Demystifying the Sirsasana (Headstand)…

May 24, 2012

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been practicing the headstand and decided to blog about the step by step procedure of how to do it.

1. Hold your hands out and grasp your upper arms with the opposite hands.

2. Next place your elbows on the floor making sure your arms make a straight line.

3. Leaving your elbows where you’ve placed them clasp your hands together in front of you so that your arms make an upside down V.  This is your base.  Focus on making it strong and steady.

4. Next place the crown of your head on the floor in front of your interlocked fingers.  Ensure that the back of your head is supported by your hands.

5. Once you have your head stable on the floor, lift your knees up off of the floor so that your body now makes an upside down V.  There should be no strain on your neck and shoulders.  Your body weight should be divided equally between your arms and head.  Then start walking your legs as close as possible to your face.

6.  Once you’ve reached as far as you can walk practice kicking one leg in the air and get used to the feeling of staying in the air.  Once you’re comfortable with having one leg up try using your core strength to hold both legs up.  You will need to rely on the balance provided by your base and your core strength.

7. Slowly raise your legs up…

8. Once in the final position lots of thoughts go on in your head.  Particularly that of, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m actually doing the headstand.”  Remain calm and steady and focused.

 

Note: Come out of the Sirsasana slowly and with control.  Lower your legs down first and then rest in Child’s Pose for a minute before you get up.  Blood rushes to your head during the Sirsasana and you want it to slowly get up so that you don’t feel lightheaded and your body gets a chance to stabilize.

Leave me your questions!

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A Milestone and Some Tips

May 23, 2012

A few days ago I hit my first milestone.  A friend of mine called me and asked for tips to lose her post-delivery weight.  Though frantic, she was concerned about doing it the right way, and at the same time she had a deadline of the end of June!  Talking to her about health, diet and weightloss made me think that I should share the helpful content of my first consultation with others.

1.  What is the best way to drop a few pounds in a short span of time?  There is no ‘best way’ to lose weight.  Weight loss is an arduous and difficult process.  It’s a commitment that you need to make to yourself.  Also, if done in the right manner, you will be able to shed your weight and keep it off too.  My friend had to tweak her diet a bit.  We didn’t want her to go on a crash diet, but she could eliminate her dinner time carbs (rotis in most cases) and eat her veggies and soups.  Cutting a little bit from her diet would ensure that her body doesn’t go into starvation mode.  And doing this over a prolonged period would definitely show results.

2.  She had hardly exercised during her pregnancy and after it – how should she start again?  Yoga provides the most holistic approach to wellness, and I told her to get back into her yoga routine.  Since her body had been through quite a bit in the last few months, it is necessary that she should not overexert and overstretch.  That will only lead to injuries and her enthusiasm will fizzle out before she has even begun.  So I suggested that she start with a few stretching exercises, perhaps 30 minutes in the morning to begin with.  After the stretching she can do a few surya namaskars.  The sun salutations will stimulate her chakras releasing positive energy, and this will hold her in good stead and keep her motivated.  Also, I suggested doing some light walking on the treadmill in the evening, perhaps 15-30 minutes at a time.

3.  Post delivery her skin and hair had started to become dull.  Flaxseeds!  I’ve mentioned in one of my previous blogs about the wonders of flaxseeds.  I told her to buy a packet and religiously spike her food with it.

4.  All the previous tips sound quite do-able, but she wants to remain focused throughout the day and ensure that she doesn’t deviate.  Is there anything she can do to stay focused?  The best thing would be to plan your meals and really stay involved in the eating process.  Plan the timings as well.  Since my friend cooks at home, she has a lot of flexibility and choice.  So I told her to start her day with a banana.  Post her workout she should have her first meal.  And eat 6 times a day at even intervals, say 1.5 – 2 hours.  This way her dinner time will be early, and her body will have ample time to digest the food.  This will also aid in a good night’s rest, and that in turn will show on her skin!  Wellness is really about all the little steps that you take.

5.  She wanted to do something for her husband as well.  He’s very busy and simply does NOT have the time to eat 6 times a day!  A challenge, but an easy one.  I told her to get one of those lunch dabbas that have 6 compartments.  Fill each compartment with a mini-meal for husband dear.  So food, and that too wholesome home cooked food will be available for him within arm’s reach.  He must of course be reminded that it’s time to eat, but once our bodies get used to food at regular intervals, then we begin to feel hungry at regular intervals.  This is also a good way to rev up your metabolism, so your body is constantly working to burn calories.

6.  Lastly (and most importantly) I told her that fitness is a continuous process.  There are no shortcuts to good health.  It requires effort on a regular basis.  By following the above tips she might not be in the ‘perfect’ shape (whatever that is), but she will feel better and be more energetic.

Listening to my friend made me realize that there are lots of people who have questions about health and yoga and may not have access to a forum where these queries can be addressed.  So I invite all those who happen to read my blog to leave me a question and shall respond!

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All About the Flax…

May 5, 2012

I can’t remember how I came across Flaxseeds.  I think it was when I started a job at my new company and met a girl who was a workout fiend.  The first week we met we bonded and started taking our breaks together.  So she would bring Flaxseeds in a ‘Pass Pass’ box and some green tea bags and we would first munch on the seeds and then drink the tea.  Eventually I also started going to the local ‘Nilgris’ and got my own stash of these wonder seeds.  I keep them in a small container and carry it everywhere with me so that I can pop a coin-sized amount into my mouth even if I’m on the go.

Flaxseeds are also known as linseeds and are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 fatty acids are “good” fats that your body actually needs.  The body needs these fats to (among other things) produce substances which prevent the formation of blood clots and produce flexible cell membranes.

The health benefits of flaxseeds are numerous:

  • Flaxseeds contain Omega 3 fatty acids which help you lose weight and make you feel more energetic.
  • Lubricate muscles and reduce muscle soreness.
  • Alleviates depression.
  • Reduce threat of blood clots.
  • Relieve menopause and PMS symptoms.
  • Help to lower cholestrol and blood pressure.
  • Help to control blood sugar levels.
  • Help to reduce dry skin, eczema and psoriasis.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Natural laxative so keeps your system clean.

In short, munch flaxseeds so that your skin glows, the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines gets delayed, you lose weight and don’t fall sick!

Below is my jar of flaxseeds.  Find one of your own and experience the benefits of the flax….Image