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Women are often trapped in the middle of taking care of families and jobs, and end up neglecting themselves. Here is an introduction to the world of Yoga, and how it can help women lead healthier, happier lives.
I was suffering from migraine headaches for more than fifteen years. I had visited several doctors and specialists over the years and tried several medicines but, at best, could find only temporary relief. Slowly, the stress of a competitive work culture in office, guilt of not devoting time for my family, and lack of any physical exercise or mental relaxation pushed me to a breakdown.
My doctor advised me to relax. I took two weeks off but was now feeling guilty of putting pressure on my colleagues to handle additional work. I just could not relax. I was back in office within a week. As I pushed myself further I had an additional problem – frozen shoulder – I just could not move my right hand. After two weeks of physiotherapy and heavy dose of medicines, I found no improvement. I was scared that I would not be able to use my right hand.
I thank my cousin who recommended learning yoga and took me to a reputed yoga institute. The ambience was so peaceful that I joined immediately. The teachers were so compassionate and guided me through the asanas. In just two weeks, I found great relief and within a month, the pain was gone. As I continued to practice yoga daily for six months, I felt relaxed, healthy and happy.
It was then that I wondered why I did not learn yoga earlier, instead of getting frustrated with heavy dose of medicines. I had always thought that I would learn yoga when I find time. How many women were suffering in silence like me? I enrolled for the teachers’ training course so that I could teach Yoga to women and help them regain their health and happiness.
I conducted a survey of 50 women for my project. Working women in all age groups complained of being exhausted in the evening while all the women above the age of forty were suffering from some ailment – back ache, neck ache, and head ache, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol.
The World Health Organisation defines health as not just the absence of disease but physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being.
In modern society, more and more women play a dual role of taking care of the family and pursuing their career. This takes a toll on our physical and mental health and adds to our stress. We need to find ways to replenish our energy to stay healthy, fit and productive.
Women at home are also under stress as we place our family first, ignore our health, and suppress our emotions. The body and mind which are subject to stress, overuse, and misuse start showing signs of maladjustment. Women also have different biological needs and problems that affect health, but not all problems can be cured by medicines.
Yoga is not just exercise or meditation or breathing, as many people imagine.
Sage Pathanjali, who has given us the science of yoga in 195 sutras defines it as: “Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhaha” (Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, with awareness.)
The mind is always full of thoughts of the past and present. The mind is responsible for all the stress we go through leading to psychosomatic diseases.
We have heard the story of a doctor advising a patient not to think of a monkey while taking the medicine. The patient could think of nothing but the monkey whenever he tried to take the medicine. It is very difficult to suppress or control the mind. Yoga helps to establish the mind in the “here and now”.
Yoga is a science that has been practiced for thousands of years in India. Many texts like “Hathapradeepika” explain how yoga improves our health and happiness.
There are different types of yoga being taught now. It is always better to learn Yoga from a reputed institute or teacher rather than from books so that you learn the techniques correctly.
Sage Pathanjali has specified eight angas (parts) of Ashtanga Yoga.
My mother aged 76 years, started learning yoga last year and has found great benefits. There is no age limit for learning yoga.
Health depends upon nourishment, activities and rest. Mental Health depends upon the ability of the mind to adjust with various situations in life. Yoga helps in harmonious integration of the total personality of the woman – physical, mental, emotional, moral, social, and spiritual.
Yoga helps us slow down; focus our awareness on our breathing and our body. Yoga relaxes our muscles and nerves, improves digestion and blood circulation, and regulates the hormone secretion. Regular practice of yoga improves neuro-muscular coordination, tone of the vital organs, integrated functioning of the systems and rejuvenation of the mind.
Yoga can help us women find our space, connect with ourselves, prevent various diseases and lead a healthy and happy life. A healthy body and strong mind can empower us to contribute with enthusiasm to our family and society.
So dear friends, please don’t wait to get some free time to learn Yoga. The time to learn and practice yoga is NOW.
Pic credit: Joelevya (Used under a CC license)
Author of book, Hello Banker.
Founder, Trainer at Banxzu training and development solutions.
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