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Posts tagged ‘India’

Holistic Treatment For Arthritis

There are a great many people who are in the unfortunate position of having to live with painful aches and pains caused by severely damaged or inflamed joints. For some people it is a discomfort, and that is bad enough, but for others arthritis can turn them into a virtual cripples. Arthritis has been something that has affected people throughout history since prehistoric times, but it is only recently that we have begun to understand it.

Arthritis is a join disease that can cause problems in any area of the body where two or more bones intersect. The arthritis itself can affect the join in a number of different ways, targeting different areas such as the synovium, the muscles or tendons or the cartilage. Cartilage is the soft protective material that protects the ends of the joints from rubbing against each other and the entire join is encased in a type of capsule that is lined with the tissue synovium.

Arthritis is a broad term which we use to describe a group of over 100 disease that effect these area of the body. Wherever there is a problem involving inflammation around the joints and associated discomfit in movement we refer to it as arthritis despite the multiple different causes that can lead to this. The other common name that is used in the same broad fashion is rheumatism.

English: Joint Example

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Because it affects so many people arthritis is a very public problem and is discussed openly and frequently. Roughly one in every seven Americans is thought to have arthritis in some form and relieving the pain of Arthritis is a primary concern for all people suffering from it. Some people take medication, but others have found relief from the pain in exercises performed at a gentle pace and intensity. Yoga is the perfect example of this type of exercise.

Yoga is a very old art originating in India up to 4000 years ago. It uses poses or postures along with deeply controlled breathing exercises that lead to benefits to the body mind and spirit. Yoga is a very versatile form of exercise and meditation and it is used, in different forms, to treat a very wide range of medical conditions and injuries including such diverse areas as fibromyalgia, arthritic, migraine headaches, chronic pain, and sports injuries.

The common misconception with using Yoga for arthritis pain is that it will mean contorting and bending the body in unnatural ways in an effort to force the body to accept the pain and develop some level of comfort. The core attributes of a Yoga for Arthritis Program are still going to be breathing and meditation but the exercises are specially catered to the individuals level of movement and comfort. Stretching will still be involved but they are a part of Yoga’s core statement of developing balance and harmony between the body and mind and enhancing the bodies strength and flexibility. Each pose or position assumed during a Yoga workout has a specific purpose and a specific physical benefit. Sometimes the poses will be done in rapid succession to create heat in the body, a style known as Vinyasa Yoga, and sometimes they are performed more slowly to increase the level of stamina, perfection in the pose and core strength through holding the pose. The poses themselves remain the same but how they are entered and approached will vary greatly from discipline to discipline and teacher to teacher.

The Yoga poses can be tailored specially for specific joints or combinations of joints. For instance a common area for arthritis to strike is the hands and knuckles and in this instance there would be a series of poses that straighten and lengthen the fingers, although the level of comfort in the arthritis sufferer always dictates the extent of this. Stretching the hands also feed energy to that area of the body and over time will assist the arthritis in the fingers. The heat generated by these movements is proven to be very beneficial for sufferers of arthritis.

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Popular Yoga Poses

Yoga has been described as a science which seeks to achieve the harmonious and balanced development of the body, mind and soul. It is a system which allows us to bring culture, balance and happiness to ourselves. It works via a need for strong mental discipline and the ancient theories, which it is based on regarding the interconnection between the mind and body, are now being regularly supported by modern scientific theory. Yoga consists of a number of different exercises or poses.

Examples of these poses are the cat and cow poses. Both are connected and begin with you on all fours on the floor. Arching the back upwards like a cornered cat places you in the cat pose and the reverse, lowering the back puts you into the cow pose.

Another common form of exercise is a forward bend that will help in the stretching of the lower back and hamstring muscles. There are a number of other advantages to forward bends: They release tension in the back neck and shoulder as well as increasing the flexibility of the spine. Forward bends can be uncomfortable if you have any injuries in the next or back area, but regularly performing will help assists in the recovery of these injuries and even strengthen the area for the future.

English: Kurmasana or The Tortoise Hatha Yoga ...

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The counterpart of a forward bend is a back bend. These open up the chest, hips and rib cage area. As well as strengthening the arms, they also provide increased strength and flexibility to the shoulders. This type of exercise is fantastic at increasing the stability of the spine, but is also useful for relieving built up tension along the front of the body and the hips. The relationship between back and forward bends is a perfect example of the importance of the bodies balance in Yoga.

Hatha Yoga poses were developed in India during the fifteenth century. They are designed as an aid to relaxation and healing and usually introduced with a concept of “the contemplation of one reality”. The result of using these exercises properly and in conjunction with suitable breathing exercises and meditation is an increase in vitality, physical health and a stronger mental health. Hatha Yoga exercises have become a part of numerous different Yoga disciplines over the years and it’s quite common to see exercises such as the half moon posture, the bow posture of the salutation posture even if it is not Hatha Yoga you are practising. This is because the principles of Yoga and the movements and balances required are fairly consistent from one discipline to another.

Another simple Yoga exercise is doing the twist. Twists will strengthen and stretch your back or abdominal muscles and help to increase the flexibility of your spine. They also aid in increasing your bodies circulation that brings oxygen supplies to your cells. This fresh blood and oxygen supply that is released as you twist will improve the functioning of your bodies internal organs.

A yoga session will often begin with a standing pose. These are a very good low impact, low stress starting point for a Yoga session. Standing poses benefit the legs and hips and help provide a sense of centring, balance and of course strength to the legs themselves. The end of a Yoga session is usually marked by a group of poses known as Relation and Restorative Poses. This group of exercises is designed to give the positive energies and forces released by the Yoga session to move throughout your body and benefit you completely.

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Is Yoga The Perfect Exercise?

Is Yoga the perfect form of exercise and relaxation? Let’s make a list of what our ideal type of exercise would do. Firstly it would be simple enough that anyone could do it, but have enough variations and different methods that it would maintain the interest of someone who had been practicing it for years. It would need to be easy to learn so that people could pick up the basics quickly and stat seeing the benefits as soon as possible. To be a perfect form of exercise it would need to be capable of keep our body in good shape all by itself. It would help with weight loss, circulation and increasing the strength of the muscles. It would stimulate the lymphatic system as well as the blood flow and help the body dispose of waste products, improving the overall immune response system. It would also have benefits that went beyond health – the sharpening of the mind and an increased sense of well being and contentment. Ideally it would be an exercise form that required no expensive equipment and that could be practiced practically anywhere, alone or in a group.

This is quite a demanding set of prerequisites for a perfect form of exercise. Let’s see if Yoga measures up to these standards.

YOGA! July challenge

YOGA! July challenge (Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

Yoga is a discipline that has it’s routes in India. The documents that modern Yoga is based on are hundreds of years old, and the principles behind these documents were practiced long before that. It is a low impact form of exercise that has been tweaked and customized by literally thousands of different teachers and enthusiasts. The are numerous resulting ‘styles’ of Yoga, but they all have the same core background and beliefs. What we refer to as Yoga in the West is usually the physical component of an entire life philosophy that has it’s own beliefs and code of ethics built in.

The physical focus of Yoga is on poses and slow movements that are low impact and usually use nothing more than our own body. Sometimes props and supports are used to assist the body in achieving and holding a particular pose. The poses can vary greatly in their degree of difficulty and even the same pose can have many different stages or levels. The perfect example is a simple forward stretch. One person may be able to stretch out past their knees, another may be able to reach their ankles and somebody else may be able to touch the floor. This level of progression allows us to see a physical difference in our flexibility level as we practice Yoga more regularly. And because Yoga does not require any special equipment we are not refined to set class times and can practice Yoga anywhere and any time the fancy takes us. We can even do breathing exercises to clear the mind while sitting at a work desk.

Yoga has some incredible health benefits which stem from controlled breathing and increased blood flow. Our bodies organs simply do not operate at peak efficiency unless they are receiving the oxygen and nutrients that they need. The waste products from our muscles and organs are carried away by the lymphatic system. Both systems can develop chokepoints and blockages that different Yoga poses will address and correct. The result is a better more regular blood pressure, a more efficient immunity system and a optimal digestive process.

Because Yoga movements are slow and simple, the focus on correct breathing has a pronounced mental affect on the body. It provides us with an enhanced ability to focus, and to un-clutter our thoughts. This is a valuable edge in modern life and its importance should not be under estimated.

Finally many regular Yoga enthusiasts will tell you that there is a spiritual side to Yoga, how far this affects an individual will probably depend on their beliefs before they begin practicing Yoga, but it can perhaps be thought of most accurately with a greater comfort and connection with your own body. The increased acceptance of yourself, and comfort with your own being results directly in more happy people.

So, it looks like Yoga does indeed check all the boxes and can be thought of as a perfect exercise form.

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