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How to get started with yoga and meditation for improved wellbeing 

How to get started with yoga and meditation for improved wellbeing 

Reclaim your mental and physical well-being through yoga
woman doing yoga pose
Representational image | Shutterstock

Bhupesh Nandurkar, an engineer turned yoga practitioner from Maharashtra’s Pune, finds yoga extremely beneficial to him. After years of working as an IT employee doing a nine-to-five job, Nandurkar started experiencing a sense of detachment from his personal life and work. Sitting for long in front of a laptop made his eyes and brain strained.  

After he started yoga and worked on his lifestyle, he could experience visible changes in his life and felt much better as a person. His yoga guru helped him understand the entire process of a yogic lifestyle, which includes self-discipline, a flexible body, and a calm mind, and his entire thought process transformed. 

“Yoga has transformed my life towards a much-disciplined lifestyle. Be it physical fitness, food habits, sleep, or even my social conduct,” says Nandurkar. 

He further adds that he feels more aware of his senses, breathing pattern, and everything that takes place in his body.  

After learning about the many benefits of yoga, he is now an internationally certified yoga coach and international yoga athlete. He teaches yoga to hundreds of enthusiasts in Pune.  

Nandurkar is one of many youngsters who would want to start the yoga way of exercising.  

Why yoga 

A survey conducted by researchers from Gurugram’s Shree Guru Gobind Singh Tricentenary University that included 250 participants, found that those who practice yoga for at least six months experience an immense improvement in their lifestyle.  

Their perception of practicing yoga was to have inner peace, an enhanced mental state, and strong immunity. They also found that the participants had a healthy diet, took proper rest, and refrained from smoking and consuming alcohol and abusive drugs. 

Another 2020 study has found that yoga optimises mindfulness and spirituality. This study was conducted by researchers from USA’s University of Connecticut in association with the University of California and Brown University on 144 yoga practitioners to identify that yoga influences the emotional well-being of a person.  

Here is what experts say  

Dr Prasan Shankar, Medical Director at Bengaluru’s I-AIM talks to Happiest Health about the importance of yoga.  

“The factors that cause anxiety, stress, disturbances to mind are termed as stressors. Process of stress causation itself is involuntary,” says Dr Shankar.  

He also says that people often consult him for various issues such as low-grade stress, anxiety, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and difficulty in concentration. His go-to solution for the above-mentioned conditions is yoga along with meditation (if required).  

Dr M. Nagalakshmi, Professor and HOD from Gandhi Naturopathic Medical College, Hyderabad tells Happiest Health the ways to get started with yoga.  

Understand the process  

To understand the process of yoga and its benefits Dr Nagalakshmi advises reading books, watching videos and utilising all possible ways to learn, understand and practice yoga.  

She also says those who are specially abled or have learning difficulties can seek the help of a teacher or trainer to learn the concepts.  

Try to find the right guru  

The role of a guru is of utmost importance. The right mentor or guide helps you in the process of understanding the significance of each exercise you do.  

Once you attain proficiency in your postures/ breathwork you can practice it on your own. Even after you learn, your mentor should be available to solve your doubts or queries.  

Follow a stepwise approach  

While there are different practices of yoga, ashtanga yoga is the most popular form throughout the globe. It involves the eight limbs or steps to attain the ultimate goal of enlightenment.  

Dr. Nagalakshmi says that these eight steps are relevant even for today’s lifestyle and one can practically utilise these. 

The eight limbs are yama (ethics and integrity), niyama (self-discipline and spiritual awareness), asana (postural exercises), pranayama (breathing exercises), pratyahara (withdrawal from sensual pleasures), dharana- dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (state of enlightenment).  

This stepwise approach is designed in a way that goes from the outwards to the inwards i.e., from physical health to mental, emotional and spiritual health.  

Prepare your body and mind first  

It is a common notion that yoga is all about postures. But the actual practice does not just include postural exercises, although postures are one of the important parts of yoga.  

Postural exercises are performed only after you prepare your body with personal hygiene, self-discipline concerning food habits and sleep.  

Yogic practices are effective only when you complement your body with a portion of healthy food. Yogic literature recommends a sattvic diet to enhance the mental well-being of a person. The sattvic diet is all about eating fresh, less processed, and seasonal foods.  

Read more about the sattvic diet here.   

Self-motivation is the key 

Motivation works only when it is intrinsic. Motivate yourself to wake up early and push yourself to start your day with yoga. The intensity and duration are up to the person’s capacity. It varies as per a person’s requirement.  

Experts suggest that doing yoga for at least 10- 15 minutes a day can bring changes.  

Consistency is important  

It is said that yoga is a lifestyle as it includes multiple aspects such as physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness, disciplined dietary habits, and personal hygiene.  

It is possible to practice it only when someone understands the details of every aspect of performing yoga.  

Respect your body’s limits  

Dr Nagalakshmi says that by doing yoga, individuals can understand their body’s limits and strengths. One should keep in mind his/ her limits and honour them. Performing any exercise or practice beyond the body’s capacity can end up causing distress to the body.  

Seek the help of an expert when in doubt  

Whenever there is an obstacle or difficulty in understanding or performing postures, it is recommended to seek the help of an expert. 

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