Journey Of The Mind, Body, And Soul | The Alarm Calls
Our overall health is like an alarm clock, ticking away in the background while we are busy with the hum-drum of life. It is only when the alarm rings do we wake up and lace up!
Of course, this does not apply to everyone out there, but according to a survey by HT Youth Survey, almost 70% of us don’t follow any fitness regime. Another outcome of the survey showed that almost a whopping 80.1% of people did not believe in India's ancient tradition of Yoga. However, there are numerous yoga centers like Akshar Yoga, Total Yoga, 1000 Yoga and fitness brands like Deivee, Patanjali, Prayog and more who, via their efforts are trying to introduce yoga into our lives.
Premila Shetty, now a yoga practitioner and teacher, started her yoga journey in 2008. She started doing yoga as she wanted to have an active lifestyle. Initially, like a lot of beginners, she only knew the physical aspects of this ancient science, and not how it touches and enhances one's soul.
Hatha yoga is a form of yoga which is popular to help prepare the body for a deeper spiritual practice. For Premila, it helped her heal and strengthen herself, not only physically but from within. The soul of yoga was finally found! In 2014, she took up the teachers training program with the intent of understanding yoga. Once she mastered Hatha Yoga, she felt the need to spread the virtues of it and turned to teaching.At that time, Premila was working as a hair specialist which demanded long hours of standing on her feet and body posture was least considered. On most days, she would have to stand for almost 8-9 hours which was taking a toll on her body and she soon developed acute spondylitis and tendonitis. After taking a break from work and resting for about 6 months, she went back to yoga, this time with a fuller purpose.
Hatha yoga translates to a practice that brings the union of opposite pairs. It focuses on the third and fourth limb of yoga which teaches perfection of the physical posture coupled with right breathing. Hatha yoga asanas are in a pattern that aligns the body in a certain way and facilitates various energy channels in the body so that it can flow freely. Regular practice of hatha yoga creates a path to explore the next limbs of yoga: Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption or balance).
Premila says, "Even though yoga takes years of practice, the manifestation of the transformation is really beautiful and fulfilling. Hatha yoga is challenging in some ways in today's world, where we are mindlessly running from one point to another, these practices help us slow down. Holding postures for a long duration, observing yourself, being aware of your breath, understanding what it does to you; all these get us into a mode of doing things more mindfully, not just on the mat but even off it! Personally, I like this form because it starts with your body, which probably is easier to work with and then moves towards the overall wellbeing."
Yoga brings about a lot of positive changes from eating habits, to enhancing body's strength, mobility, confidence and posture to name a few. Premila explains her experience; "From being a foodie to eating only two meals a day my eating habits have only improved. The confidence I feel in my stance which was on the lower side earlier and the biggest change is of accepting challenges. Every pose or sequence is initially a challenge and you learn to master it with time, in parallel, this works even in your unconscious state of mind."
Premila's personal experience throws light on the warning signs to look out for, that could arise due to lack of proper physical activity. Issues like; lower back pain, stiffness in the neck, repetitive strain injuries and radiating pain in the arms and shoulders is a clear indication that you need to take action. If neglected, degeneration of the body parts kick in early and it might be too late to reverse it. Yoga specifically works opposite and delays degeneration of the body.
Her advice to women who are contemplating a fit and active lifestyle is; "Rise early, practice yoga, eat right, breath well and sleep early, everything else will fall into place!"