Yoga for holistic health: Tackle obesity, depression and other mental health issues with yoga and meditation – sex and relationships


Yoga can play an important role in restoring health in a holistic manner and promoting better physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It is unfortunately a misunderstanding that since yoga is a passive fitness activity, it may not bring about desired weight loss results. In reality, even though yoga doesn’t involve rigorous exercise like a HIIT session or fast-paced aerobic activities, it can still help your body burn fat fast.

Yoga is a one-size-fits-all solution to stress and also helps alleviate other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Following a diet and eating in the right proportions can also aid in controlling blood pressure levels.

Yoga improves the functioning of your organs, strengthens your immunity, uplifts your mood and brings a plethora of additional benefits. To support a healthy lifestyle, you can adopt a healthy diet, cut down on your salt intake, and get quality sleep in order to feel refreshed and energetic each morning, says yoga expert Grand Master Akhsar.

If you are on a weight loss journey, there is nothing more effective than yoga for overall health benefits. “The evidence of its effectiveness is in yogis who have been lean and healthy for centuries. In fact, the weight loss yoga trends like hot yoga and hath yoga are all based on the traditional form of yoga,” says Dr Partap Chauhan, director Jiva Ayurveda. Apart from regular practice of yoga, one must also follow mitahara (measured eating), which is not the same as dieting. “To follow mitahara, one must eat as a form of devotion to the temple that is our body,” he adds.

In a fast-paced and results-driven world such as ours, we suffer from severe imbalance in work-life routines, and also desk-bound sedentary lifestyle giving rise to lifestyle disorders such as hypertension, hypotension, diabetes, PCOS, obesity, mental health issues and more. Hypertension is caused by stress, excess alcohol consumption, excess weight and excess salt/sugar within the diet and dehydration etc. High blood pressure can lead to life-threatening conditions like heart attacks, strokes, renal disorder and vascular dementia.

Weekly sessions of yoga with each session lasting between 20 and 90 minutes over a period of around 2.5 months, on average may help ease depressive symptoms in people with other mental health issues, proves a systematic review and meta-analysis of existing research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 340 million people. And depressive symptoms often go hand in hand with other mental health issues, such as generalised anxiety and psychotic disorders, say the researchers.

Yoga practice involved a mixture of movement, breathing exercises, and/or mindfulness, but with the movement component comprising more than half of each session.

Regular yoga practice through asanas, pranayama and meditation can put you on the path to holistic well-being. Follow these asanas to alleviate the hypertension conditions and keep your mind and body calm.

Tadasana or Mountain pose

Stand tall with your feet together

Keep your spine aligned and posture erect

Relax your shoulders

Interlock your fingers, inhale and come on your toes

Exhale and bring your heels down

Try to repeat 3 sets of every posture and hold each asana for up to 30 seconds.

Vajrasana or Thunderbolt pose

Drop your knees down on your mat

Place your pelvis on your heels and point your toes outward

Here, your thighs should press your calf muscles

Keep your heels close to each other, and big toes together

Place your palms on your knees facing upward

Straighten your back and look forward

Note: This is the only pose that can be done on a full stomach, for all others a gap of atleast 4 hours between meals must be maintained.

Padamasana or Lotus Pose

Sit in Ardha Padmasana with your right foot over your left thigh

Lift your left foot and place it on your right thigh facing up

Pull your feet closer to your hips

Drop your knees to the floor

Place your palms on your knees facing up

Hold the asana for a while

Repeat with the other leg

Try to repeat 3 sets of every posture and hold each asana for up to 30 seconds.

Steps to curtail obesity and related ailments during lockdown

Proper nutrition and hydration are vital: Those who consume a well-balanced diet are healthier and are able to build stronger immune system. A healthy diet limits the risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. It is recommended to eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to accomplish the body’s requirement of necessary vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, proteins and antioxidants.

Consume whole grains and legumes: This also reduces the risk of Diabetes

Drink plenty water: At least 5 liters per day

Avoid sugar, fat and salt and do not consume sugar-sweetened beverages or oily food to significantly lower your risk of being overweight, and obese

Avoid sitting or slouching all the time: Even though we’re confined to our homes, it is important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible. Every 20 minutes, move around for 3-5 minutes; walk or stretch-this will help reduce the strain on a muscle, relieve any form of mental tension and will help circulate blood to the body

In current times focusing on good health, food habits and maintaining some level of physical activity will go a long way in warding off obesity and related ailments.

(Recommendations by Dr Sharad Sharma, Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, Mumbai)

— with IANS, ANI inputs

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