“Daivathinte Kunjadukal” (God’s Little Lambs)

The sky above was like this when I was lying down on the terrace for my yoga session.

‘Daivathinte Kunjadukal’ is what we called it in childhood. The clusters of white clouds resembling sheep and it’s God’s Own when it’s on deep blue sky.

That was a good way to begin yoga and workout, with something reminiscence, rekindling the innocence of childhood.

Moreover, the best motivation for a strenuous but welcome workout is to be happy about it. What’s better for it than some sweet memories!

“Daivathinte Kunjadukal” (God’s Little Lambs)

Lockdown Fitness!

I am now stuck in Bangalore during the lockdown and travel restrictions. Of course the Bangalore trip was planned and we have a complete set up here. Almost!

One item missing is a weighing scale. Of course, the focus of intermittent fasting is not weight loss, but the other numerous benefits including immunity booster; But I enjoyed getting on the scale everyday and see the weight. And it gives happiness when the weight is going down.

The situation is different now. When I came to Bangalore, I was thinking about the luxury access to Olympic size 50 meters swimming pool which we don’t have in Kochi. And the gym, though second only to the Kochi one, is still very good.

With swimming and gymming closed and with restrictions on walking, the only solitude is yoga.

Here of course, we have three yoga mats but I brought only one yoga track suit. The intention was to use one of the two swimming trunks I brought with me on other days.

Though the weighing scale is not there, the readings will climb if I am not careful. So it’s yoga on one mat, Pranayama and breathing exercises on the second and the third for some stretching workout or even Tik Tok! Why not.

The underlining principle is that ‘weight, once goes up, doesn’t come down’.

Yo Newton!

Lockdown Fitness!

Wellness Series- Yoga, An Attempted Interpretation.

It’s not only fashionable, but very healthy to practice yoga everyday. There are several ways of treating this ancient wonder, which is now a worldwide health initiative.

Some of us do it as a stretching exercise, some add correct breathing regimen to it and for the experts it’s Hatha Yoga which is a forceful form centred on the mastery over the body.

We all need a fair amount of stretching exercise particularly as we grow older so that we can get that needed flexibility to carry on with daily chores.

Almost all the yoga positions involve a fair amount of stretching. And if we add a systematic and guided breathing into these positions, we can say we do yoga.

Clearly these coordinations will require expert intervention and training under a qualified yoga Master and it is the best way to get a hang of it.

Making yoga part of our daily schedule is a very healthy way of life. We will start seeing the benefits almost immediately on the adoption of this form of exercise.

Ideally we should learn and practice the following and more.

– Suryanamaskar

– Sarvangasana

– Matsyasana

– Tree Position (Vrksasana)

– Pranayama

– And some of the Mudras

Shavasana, (Corpse Pose, or Mrtasana) in between yoga positions will usher in harmony.

Those who are seeking further benefits may learn and practice Hatha Yoga under qualified masters.

Achieving at least a regular practice of the middle stage of ‘yoga’ is a valuable step towards wellness.

Yoga is ancient, gives certain amount of control over body, it’s relevant and ready to be embraced by everybody.

Wellness Series- Yoga, An Attempted Interpretation.

Wellness Series- Suryanamaskar

I am covering Suryanamaskar as an important item in the wellness series, not because I am an expert in it, but it’s the one and swimming giving me maximum satisfaction.

Another reason for sharing this is that I am rather a very late starter to this wonderful program, but I am able to do it reasonably okay. And that my story could be a motivating one for the readers.

I don’t claim that I can do it perfectly well, in fact the chakra mudras (steps 3 and 10) are beyond me, and I do bend the knee to complete them.

For those who are new to suryanamaskar or yoga, you need a teacher, a yoga master to show how it’s done correctly. Once the basics are done, it’s just practice that improves the stages.

In Suryanamaskar one set consists of two rounds of 12 steps each as shown in the diagram.

A round indicates it’s done with one leg backwards as in step 4. That’s one set is two rounds of 12 steps each and one round with right leg and the second on left.

It’s important to do the correct breathing (inhale or exhale) during the steps as shown in diagram. In step 5 the breath is held.

The trick I use for remembering the right or left leg to use is to keep counting one set of 12 as one. Use right leg for odd numbers and left leg for even. That means I count 24 for the 12 sets.

I now do 12 sets every morning and feel having done something good.

Here’s what I got from net search as benefits of Suryanamaskar:

1. One of the primary Surya Namaskar benefits is that it strengthens the entire body.

2. Relieves constipation and promotes healthy digestion.

3. Stimulates the nervous system including the brain, lower plexus, spinal cord, etc. Surya Namaskar Yoga strongly aids in preventing memory loss, builds focus and concentration, improves the functioning of the brain. Activates Brain cells in the body.

4. It is a well known remedy to cure blood pressure and strengthens heart muscles. It also cures irregular heart beat.

5. Improves the capacity of the lungs, stimulates oxygen supply and regulates it to all the vital organs in the body.

6. Highly beneficial for improving blood circulation. Provides beautiful glow to the skin.

7. Promotes weight loss and activates basal metabolic rate of a person’s body.

8. Is a famous remedy for managing menstrual cramps and, also helpful in managing menopause stage. Due to its empowering effects on the uterus of a woman, Surya Namaskar Yoga also helps in making child birth comparatively easier.

9. Improves sexual functions of the body. Eradicates any internal flaws related to malfunctioning of sexual glands. Also, promotes healthy sexual appetite in a person.

10. Reduces strained joints problems. Lubricates sore muscles and joints and promotes their healthy functioning. Highly beneficial in managing arthritis, sciatica, other joint related ailments etc.

11. Improves mental and physical balance of the person’s body. Develops patience and builds stamina by increasing the mental capacity of the brain and the body.

12. Improves flexibility of the body and releases stiffness.

Most of all, it fills you up with magnanimous positive energy. You feel rejuvenated and alive.

Please don’t ignore it as difficult or time consuming. It takes just 15 minutes for the 12 sets. And if I can do it, you certainly can.

Wellness Series- Suryanamaskar

The Power Of Routine In Strong Discipline!

We would naturally assume that the mundane and routine chores are boring.

But there’s at least one area where a repetitive routine is a better way to be vividly positive and strongly disciplined.

This one is from experience. For a healthy workout to supplement Intermittent fasting, I do yoga and suryanamaskar during the fasting window.

Yoga is generally practiced in groups and under the guidance of a Yoga Master, who in turn brings in variations to keep up the participant interest.

But I want to do yoga which I learnt, at my convenient time.

This is where the routine comes in. A disciplined completion is better facilitated by following the same routine. It’s like learning it by heart.

And I manage to complete all the steps systematically and in the same order. The only change is that of the increase periodically of the number of repetitions.

Experts say one should have variations. Perhaps it’s better. But my way is sure way of doing it alone regularly.

The Power Of Routine In Strong Discipline!

Hot Or Cold! Isn’t The Other Side Greener!

I like it where I am, the hot humid Kerala. And right now we are in the pleasant hill station Coonoor, wearing a jumper to escape the cold breeze.

I like it in Kochi, where the 12 sets of suryanamaskars make me sweating profusely on to the Yoga mat in the morning. And I feel healthy.

I like the pleasant breeze across the backwaters gushing into our home through the cross ventilation.

I like the swim in the pool in the evening in the warm and welcome pool.

I like the air conditioning in the car when I drive and in the room when we sleep.

I like the wellness trip through intermittent fasting when I am in Kochi and don’t have that much will power to follow it when I travel.

And here I am in Coonoor, where I don’t have the luxury of the things I do in Kochi, except perhaps the Yoga bit, which is given a pass as some basic infrastructure is to be managed.

The good thing about it is that the other side is not green, at least for me.

Well then, do we have more people migrating to cold weather than to hot climate, for holidays! Is sun better than snow!

Judgement or excuse, something to ponder 🤔

Hot Or Cold! Isn’t The Other Side Greener!

Sarvagasana, The Mother of All Asanas

This has always been a challenge in my Yoga session. My Yoga teacher used to help in lifting the legs to get me in the position.

Now I can do it myself, and I am very happy about it. Of course I am not so straight up as in the picture, but I ensure that the weight is balanced on the shoulder which is a big requirement.

This asana must be practiced either first thing in the morning or at least four to six hours after a meal. The stomach and bowels must be empty when you practice this asana. The food ingested must be digested. As such it compliments well with intermittent fasting.

These are some amazing benefits of shoulder stand yoga pose. (Adopted from an article)

1 It helps calm the brain, cures mild depression, and relieves stress.

2 It helps stimulate the prostate glands, the thyroid glands, and the abdominal organs.

3 The neck and shoulders get a good stretch.

4 The buttocks and legs get toned.

5 Digestion is improved, and metabolism is regulated.

6 This asana relieves the symptoms of menopause.

7 Fatigue and insomnia are reduced.

8 This asana helps cure sinusitis, asthma, and infertility.

My Yoga teacher insists that ‘Matsyasana’ should follow immediately after ‘Sarvangasana’. Also please get expert help if you’re starting it new.

Sarvagasana, The Mother of All Asanas

Pranayama and Plank

Are two of the most desirable workout disciplines we should include in our exercise regimen.

I must admit that I am guilty here on both counts. That’s after learning both and recognising both as simple and doable anytime, anywhere.

As such, by posting this blog, I am urging myself and my friends here to make an earnest effort to incorporate both in our lifestyles.

Of course, plank is strenuous, requires some stamina but we don’t have to do 120 seconds till we are comfortable with it. Let’s start with 30 seconds and progress. Let’s do it once or preferably in a few sets for about 5 days a week.

But Pranayama is simple. We don’t have to do it by assuming a yogic legs on thighs posture. We can do it while sitting on a chair and relaxed. Just that we follow the correct breathing and holding steps.

I am returning to them. Let’s do the usual mutual support.

Pranayama and Plank

On Intermittent Fasting Again

I am still on it, religiously on the 16.8 schedule seven days a week.

Not very easy, to go starving from dinner to next day lunch, but discipline is something I am accused of!

The good thing about this dinner to lunch is that you don’t make other people inconvenienced. That’s, people don’t generally join or call you for breakfast; but they do for lunch and dinner.

And as part of discipline, I do 12 Surya Namaskars with 45 minuets of Yoga in the morning and alternate on half hour swimming and strength training in the evening, six days of the week.

But the weight stays constant after an initial 5 pounds loss. Of course, I started to look at the mirror again as it has started looking better.

Then the idea of sharing experiences and learning from there and a friend suggested Facebook group.

Went there to join. The best and most popular one has Just one restriction ‘women only’.

Instead of crying discrimination, let me bask in the knowledge that I am in good company.

On Intermittent Fasting Again