Let's start the New Year on a healthy note.
Alternative therapies, spas, health professionals, different workout regimes, celebrity trainers, books by celebs, online sites, health portals -- the traffic on the information highway where health is concerned is only getting crowded.
In this flood of information, we seek to give you a different take and tips on how to take on the New Year on a high and healthy note.
Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, shares five tips from her personal experience on how to hit the healthy note this year.
1. Hypnosis work-out
Whether it is dealing with a chronic ailment, a nagging injury that will not heal or struggling to reach weight loss goals, the most important aspect that is often neglected is the mind.
Yes, sure professional hypnotists cost a packet. But these days there are several celebrated meditation healers and leaders in mind control techniques whose transcripts are readily available either free or for a fraction of a cost of a visit to your local hypnotist.
Similarly books, with CDs, are also often available on specific hypnosis transcripts and goals -- whether it is to shed fat or unhealthy addictions like smoking or alcohol.
Unless the mind is roped into the strategy, most of your health goal plans are likely to flop.
This is because our goals are set by the rational mind, which is governed by the cerebral cortex, the relatively youngest in the evolutionary history of our nervous system.
The saboteur is usually our subconscious mind, governed by the older limbic system that is very emotional and reflexive.
It does not speak the rational language of the cortex, but speaks the language of emotions.
It needs to be fed goals in a language it understands, which means a visualization that anticipates a goal.
So, here’s what to do -- fix your goal, then just go to the nearest bookshop to browse for a do-it-yourself hypnosis guide.
2. It’s in the core
Most problems -- whether it is acidity, neck problem, self-esteem, or lower back issues, malabsorption, bad metabolism -- can be tracked back to a weak core.
While any or each of these problems must be treated locally, you have to simultaneously begin to connect your health to a terrific and strong core.
Doing 100 push-ups is not how it is reached. It is not in the numbers, but in the technique.
Doing less, but with more awareness, and with the right structural integrity to your abdomen work-out will work miracles, and in just a few days.
- Lie on your back. Place arms alongside the body.
- Lift legs, so they are at right angles to the floor.
- Cross the legs at the ankles.
- Tighten your hips, and press your arms into the floor, as a lever, and lift your hips off the ground.
- Drop them back. Do ten times.
- Then cross the legs again, to repeat 10 more times.
3. Brace that back
Back problems, already rampant, is going to reach epidemic proportions soon.
That comes from the sedentary lifestyle we lead. And hence quite often our work-outs, instead of helping us often shock our system, if done erratically or without the right technique.
And there are various degrees to this problem that is going to afflict a majority of us at some point in our life, be it compression of the spine, disc collapse, muscular tension or tears.
Prevention is the best intervention. One of the best cure-all preventive exercise (which is also part of physiotherapy in healing, and yoga) is the pelvic tilt.
Try this simple one:
- Lie on your back, with legs folded at the knees, feet close to hips.
- Keep arms alongside the body.
- Press the curve of the back into the floor.
- Hold your breath, stomach tightly, then release and relax the body.
Do this five to 10 times.
A modified version of this may be done seated, with the curve of the back being pushed into a wall or a chair back (instead of the floor).
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, do it three to five times over a day.
4. Protect your peripheral vision
Since we are a gadget generation, we have started limiting the movement of our eyeballs.
Unlike earlier where being out in the open, playing outdoor games, or even reading a book meant extending our peripheral vision considerably.
Staring continuously at computer at smartphone screens also causes dry eyes or ee strain.
Again, with less blinking than normal, we reduce the movement of the eye muscles.
It has been found that progressive vision loss (which is normally accepted as part of aging) actually happens due to this limited range of eye muscle movement.
Here’s how you can prevent too much damage to your eyes.
Get out, and play a good ball game. This is one of the best eye exercises there is. Also, it improves the hand-eye-brain co-ordination, which is a biological marker for youthfulness.
If you are too stodgy to do this, then you can try to do this eye exercise:
Move your eyes gently, as if reading a clock-face, in a circular fashion.
Shut your eyes, repeat the eye circle in an anticlockwise direction.
Rub your palms gently, to generate warmth, cup this warmth over your closed eyelids. Hold for half a minute. Repeat the eye circles.
You can do this a few times over the day, to help maintain the integrity of the eye muscles and vision.
5. Hum that song
Yes, hum along any popular tune and be healthy!
Though yoga has a few breathing exercises based on this, you can do a modified version by humming a song several times during the day and remain healthy.
Research has found that humming improves the nitric oxide levels inside your nostrils. This is turn improves oxygen absorption at the nostrils.
Nitric oxide also has an aphrodisiac effect, which means it is a very potent mood elevator. And humming improves the overall feel-good factor.
And significantly, it has been found that humming can facilitate healing inside faster.
So, yes, go ahead, and hum a song. It is an easy way to be happy. And healthy!
Lead image used for representational purposes only. Photograph: Irina Patrascu/Creative Commons