Stay young for long

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Stay young for long

By Bharat Thakur Published: May 16, 2008, 23:39 GULF NEWS

Everyone would like to remain young forever. However, the laws of nature dictate that each of us gradually ages.

In today’s times, people are much concerned about how they look as they age.

Hence, we find many people turning to Botox and other cosmetic treatments such as facelifts.

Unfortunately, these invasive treatments have a detrimental effect on the individual’s health.

Before we look into ageing, we must understand what health is.

In layman’s terms, health can be defined as a feeling of wellbeing, with the individual possessing physical and mental competence. As we age, the body’s functioning deteriorates.

Spinal flexibility

Yoga, more than any other therapy in the world, helps those who practise it to “age gracefully”.

The first thing to understand is the importance of spinal flexibility. Yogic wisdom shows us that the flexibility of the spine is directly linked to the ageing process.

As one’s spine gets more rigid, the muscles of the neck also stiffen and the blood supply to the face, scalp and brain is restricted.

This speeds up the wrinkling and hair-greying process. Yoga helps loosen the muscles of the back, spine and neck so that the face and head receive regular nourishment through blood supply.

Apart from the spine, yoga helps in firming up the skin, enhancing our immune system and improving our posture and tone of the muscles. It also helps maintain regular blood pressure levels.

Those who wish to invest in their health from a young age and want to retard the ageing process must give special importance to their lifestyle.

Inverted poses beneficial

You must practise some yogic stretches for the body. Yogic inverted poses are especially beneficial as they redirect blood supply to the head and face.

Apart from slowing down greying of hair and wrinkling, these postures help enhance and maintain mental faculties such as memory and concentration.

To stay young we also need to get adequate sleep. Sleep is the time when the body’s cells rejuvenate, allowing you to cope with daily life.

Nutrition also plays a big role. Important foods that help in ageing well are apples (rich in antioxidants), berries (vitamin C), garlic (detoxfies the liver) and broccoli.

Finally, the best deterrent to ageing is to practise pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. It has positive effects on the physiology as well as the mental make-up.

Meditating will help you deal with ageing and understand that change is the law of nature and you cannot hold on to your youth.

Vipareet karni mudra

* Lie flat on your back.
* Raise your legs to form a 90° angle with the torso, and support your hip with your hands as you raise it off the ground.
* Maintain this posture and close your eyes.
* Hold for as long as is comfortable (not exceeding 30 seconds to one minute).
* Slowly, bring the back down to touch the floor. Lie flat on the back for about 1 minute.

Halasana

* Lie flat on your back.
* Raise your legs to form a 90° angle with the torso, and support your hip with your hands.
* Now, begin to bend your legs further and try to touch the toes to the floor.
* Maintain this posture for as long as is comfortable and close your eyes.
* Slowly, return to the first step. Lie on your back for about one minute.

Maha bandha

* Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on the floor, or on a chair. (If you sit on a chair, keep your legs apart).
* Place palms on your knees.l Inhale deeply. Exhale completely.
* First, contract the anal region of the body (this is called mool bandha.).
* Second, contract and pull the stomach inwards (uddiyaan bandha.).
* Third, drop and press the chin to the jugular notch on the chin (jalandhar bandha.).
* Hold for 5-10 seconds.
* Then, slowly release the chin, the stomach and finally the anal locks.
* Breathe in and slowly exhale.
* Repeat this practise. Maha bandha can only be done thrice, as further practise will cause an imbalance in the hormonal level.

Caution: People suffering from high BP should avoid holding their breath in the practise. They may hold their breath in the final step for no more than 3 seconds.

Shavasana

* Lie on your back.
* Keep your legs slightly apart and your hands beside the hips with the palms facing the ceiling.
* Begin to practise deep abdominal breathing.
* Count your breaths from 11 down, till 1.

This is a highly relaxing exercise and can be done everyday before going to sleep.

— Bharat Thakur is the founder of Bharat Thakur’s Artistic Yoga. For questions on yoga, write to dubai.artisticyoga@gmail.com. For more information, log on to http://www.bharatthakur.com

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