Being a homemaker and a part-time marketing manager for a start-up company established by my husband involves a lot of commitment and self-motivation each day. I believe that only Women have it in them to multitask meticulously. My day kicks off as the alarm rings at 6 AM to push me out of bed to get my morning dose of Vitamin D with my âSurya Namaskarâ practice. Those 12 steps of Sun Salutation does wonders to anybody of any age and keeps you up to date each hour of the day. Yoga, to me, is the secret of my fitness.
At the end of my teens, I gave in to the fact that my immunity is slightly weak. A lot of my friends titled me âSneezing Queenâ because I never stopped in single digits, my sneeze counts were faster than a timer. I always wished for âsneeze-free daysâ at school and college to avoid being mocked. There are always highs and lows in everyoneâs life. On one such high day, I walked up to my mother expressing my immune worries, and she showed me the yoga path. In the beginning, I wasnât too keen on practicing the breathing techniques because my friends did more fun exercises in the Gym and bragged about it all day. Also, I noticed that their muscles were more toned, and I wasnât even sweating it out in Yoga.
My mum turned a deaf ear to my negative comments and kept pushing me to be more regular. She kept saying, âOnly if you believe, you will improve. Donât compare yourself with others and feel disappointed.â Those words are still vivid in my memory. From there on, I started the journey of practicing Yoga more passionately.
Forms of Yoga:
Today, I know four disciplines of Yoga from a broad classification of more than 20 styles of yoga practices. During the classical age, seven traditional forms have evolved and developed into sub-classifications. A beautiful highlight of Yoga practice is that there is no age bar; anyone who is willing to practice and wants to have control over their mind and body consciously can practice this art form. The leading seven styles of yoga practice are Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Gnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Tantra Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. Each one style focuses on a different motto and gives a different experience. Raja Yoga, as the name suggests, is King Yoga. It focuses on oneâs personality, including Intellectual Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ). The main essence of Karma Yoga revolves around being selfless and having no expectations. Gnana Yoga, to me, means the knowledge of our inner self and reflecting our hidden motives. Worshipping the supreme power is considered as Bhakti and paying your respect through yoga practice. Mantra Yoga is more to do with chanting the shlokaâs and meditating to find our inner self along with peace while Tantra Yoga is about channelizing your energies in the right direction.
Last but not least, Hatha form is trending these days as it helps us balance our mental and physical bodies. âHAâ means Sun and âTHAâ means Moon. This form of Yoga includes hand gestures along with the techniques to control breathing. The best results in Yoga can be attained by using props around you to help you edge better.
Everybody is different, and everybody has a different style, flexibility, and goal. Hatha practice encourages practitioners to use props like the wall, belt, yoga brick, yoga wheel to help to be in the posture for a more extended period.
The Fitness Journey:
My only strength is that I was flexible and ready to take up postures that challenge my flexibility. However, I realized that flexibility could be developed over a while with the right breathing techniques for each Asana. Slowly yet steadily, I started understanding that expansion of lung capacity is possible with the proper breathing and also pranayama helps in increasing concentration. My body cooperated with my conscious breathing pattern while performing the Surya Namaskar, helping me complete the 12 step process with the right inhale and exhale procedure. On an average I practice 60 minutes of Yoga per day, starting with the basic warm-ups that include loosening my toes, arms, neck, simple eye moments, etc, moving to 24 Surya Namaskars, some backward bending asanas and concluding the practice with deep relaxation (Shavasana) for relaxing and healing the body along with the chakras.
Benefits of Yoga Practices:
There was no looking back from there on, even today, I practice Yoga regularly and improvise each day by learning new techniques and trends. The aim of having âSneeze Free Daysâ has been achieved, and the best part is that my friends have become curious about my yoga routine and are proud of my achievement through Yoga with the way I overcame my weak immunity.
Not only does yoga help in increasing immunity in individuals, but it also helps in improving concentration. In my case, it helped my respiration too, thus boosting more energy levels. Yoga can be practiced to tone muscles and strengthen them. Some have achieved their target of weight loss with regular practices. There is also a therapeutic yoga practice that cures individuals with low cardio and circulatory health.
(Image: This posture in Yoga helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and relaxes the spinal muscles. Relieves headache and thereby increasing digestion)
Drawbacks of Yoga Practices:
âHealth is Wealth,â and there could be no money that can buy us life. Especially when life is a gift we should take ownership of it and give it the best in all circumstances. I would encourage everyone to understand your bodyâs capabilities and strength before starting your practice. Overstretching can lead to muscle injury. Also, while practicing Hot Yoga, there could be specific individuals who could suffer dehydration due to the heat that may cause a stroke. In case individuals opt to practice Yoga on their own, there could be a risk to their wrist, hamstring if their body is not ready or doesnât have enough strength to perform a particular practice.
How to get started?
Everyone needs a goal to perform any exercise. It could be as simple as having a good nightâs sleep to relieving pain in any area of the body. All this can be attained only by trusting the activity they choose for the same. Since Yoga was evolved in India, several classes in every town take group classes for enthusiasts. Some personal teachers come home and customize the teaching process as per your bodyâs strengths and weaknesses. Yoga retreats are happening every three months in the metro cities to guide practitioners to practice on their own, also encouraging them to become teachers. Many information regarding yoga classes, retreats, teachers in the town are freely available on Google; also, Instagram has dedicated pages sharing information on camps.
The only criteria to become a practitioner is to have passion and trust in what youâre practicing. With regular practice, you will be able to progress slowly towards your goal. The best way to assess it is to take pictures of yourselves in poses and postures on day 1 and continue to work towards improving and taking a photo on day 30. You would be surprised to see your progress.
The golden rule of any form of exercise is to understand your body before getting into a routine, and here SWOT analysis will help you determine your strength and boost your knowledge about your body. Only you know your bodyâs limits, so always try to be conscious about what youâre performing and have control over your body and mind.
For me, I was competing with myself and always trying to get better than yesterday. Most importantly, it was for me that I was so passionate and motivated. Since I wasnât comparing myself with anyone, I was never demotivated or jealous. Hence, I would encourage you to be your hero and always be self-motivated.