WHO Study: 85% Teenage Girls Don’t Get Adequate Physical Exercise: An International Yoga Day Special

Everyone can and needs to work out. And yoga is not so much about that perfect pose as it is about getting a balance and peace.

According to research, only thirty-six percent of Indians participate in any sport or physical activity, despite numbers showing that nearly seventy-five percent of people think it is essential in their daily life. Among them, merely twenty-nice percent of women and forty-two percent of males participate in sports.

Thirty percent of the Indians polled felt that women are inferior to men in terms of sports.

Women are perceived as innately “reserved” and “fragile,” whereas males are seen as “powerful” and “assertive”

Due to social and cultural ideologies, women have historically had low participation rates in sports. Did you know 241 (ALL male) competitors from fourteen nations assembled in Greece for the modern Olympics twelve centuries ago? Throughout the last hundred years, males have “guarded” billions of women worldwide by preventing them from participating in some activities that they deem to be excessively violent or demanding. This idea has hampered women’s athletic opportunities.

A similar bias about art and singing being essential as a life skill for a girl might have kept me away from physical activity

I dreaded the physical education period at school. For as long as I can remember, I have not been the best at physical activity. I could not exercise as well as the other girls in my class. I did not run fast either. I remember feeling bad when my friends used to get selected for an inter-school running race while I used to be last in the class. A shot put ball was too heavy for me to throw, playing basketball was too unsafe, and running caused my calves to hurt for a week. I think you get the idea.

I barely had any stamina. My parents enlisted me in art and singing classes as a kid. I wondered why they did not want to enroll me in any sport. Things only worsened when I was diagnosed with low iron levels and fatigue as a teen. I felt dizzy and spiritless. Since I had to do some form of exercise to take care of my health, I was forced to consider yoga.

I felt like a potato among twenty-five other fitness freaks

I joined a beginner’s class while on vacation with a relative. I lagged while the rest used to outperform themselves. I tried not to take it too seriously and continued my practice. When I got back home, I signed up for yoga sessions nearby. But I made the mistake of signing up for an extreme weight loss program. The trainers did not offer alternatives to those who had ailments. It was also challenging matching with the pace of others in the class. I could barely make it through half the session. Still, I pushed myself too hard to attend a few sessions regularly. Soon afterward, I quit and did not turn back. I took a break from physical activity for one year because of how frustrating and embarrassing the experience was. I tried going to the gym on and off, but it was not for me.

But my health was declining, and I had to exercise. Thankfully, I saw an advertisement for a free yoga trial online. I decided to give it a shot. It was at a manageable pace, so I signed up. I met a great trainer who understood my ailments, offered advice, provided scale-downs, and made me enjoy my practice. I have successfully continued for almost two years now. I also joined a higher-intensity batch after I got the knack for yoga.

But the journey has not been easy. There have been several days when I wanted to give up. The only factor stopping me was that I had prepaid for those classes. Till now, there are days when I feel like I outdo myself. But there are also days when I get tired halfway through with no motivation to finish. But even then, I know I should not give up. Yoga makes me feel strong, flexible, and grounded. My stamina has increased thanks to regular practice. On International Day of Yoga, I wanted to take the chance to share insights from my experience.

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Yoga teaches you to listen to your body

Yoga is a personal journey to deepen the dialogue between your mind and body. As you get more at ease with yourself, you may experiment with increasingly difficult postures, which might be simpler to achieve than you initially thought. If one type of class does not suit you, keep experimenting till you find the perfect one for you!

Yoga is not only about asanas, weight loss, or a perfect headstand

Yoga is about developing mental and physical strength and forming lifelong positive habits. It involves pranayama (breath regulation), meditation, and how you feel inside. Those who practice regularly have physical and mental wellness, better energy levels, and self-esteem. Although some postures may appear complicated, the practice meets you where you are. The goal is to modify the pose to accommodate your body as it is right now rather than forcing yourself into a yoga stance, and a trainer can help you with the same.

Yoga helps you to stay in touch with your body and your breath

Mind chatter or comparing yourself with others could leave you feeling awful. Return to the breath whenever you realize that you are in your head, thinking about the past or the future. Return to the body. Let go of your preconceptions of how the posture should seem and feel. Let every position be fresh.

A few benefits include:

  • increasing all-body strength and flexibility
  • lowering stress and increasing stress resistance
  • adjusting the practice to accommodate all ability levels
  • developing awareness and balance
  • improving blood flow
  • making you happy

To conclude, let us eliminate the prejudice that “Girls Aren’t Meant to Exercise.” Everyone can and needs to work out. In today’s digital world, either girl or boy, encourage your kids to join either yoga or any sport or physical activity. Children have the perfect way to express themselves in sports to be active, have fun, and develop essential life skills. If your kid enjoys sports, it does not hamper their academics. On the contrary, it gives them more energy.

“The yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal. Standing on your hands is not the goal. The goal is serenity. Balance. Truly finding peace in  own skin.” ~ Rachel Brathen

Happy International Day of Yoga!

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Mirali Borde

Mirali Borde is an aspiring writer trying to make it in this world. read more...

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