Dubai: When under stress, take up yoga, the ancient Indian breathing and exercise therapy, a yoga expert says.
"Yoga is an exercise that everyone can do no matter what their age or physical ability is," yoga instructor Elaine Kelly, told Gulf News.
"The main benefit occurs when we connect our slow movements with our breath, filling our bodies with oxygen and stretching our muscles, and spine. The result is more energy, vitality and a reduction in stress. By reducing stress levels, we reduce absenteeism and increase mental clarity so we can work better," she said
According to Elaine, there are hundreds of yoga postures, but can generally be classified into the following groups: Forward bends, backward bends standing poses, twists, inversions (upside down), balancing and relaxation/restoration.
"Yoga postures release tension in the body and mind and its gentle, non-invasive exercises that anyone can do regardless of age, weight or spiritual inclination. By stretching your muscles on a regular basis you increase your flexibility and release tension that has accumulated in your body, over the years.
"Different lifestyles can create different tensions in the body, which can have a knock-on effect on how you feel emotionally. By gently stretching your muscles and releasing tensions on a regular basis, your body feels more relaxed, and so does your mind," said Kelly during the Yoga Fest 2010 hosted by Dubai Internet City (DIC) recently. The festival was hosted to mark the "special" winter solstice of 2010 as it was not only the full moon, but also the full lunar eclipse. The last time the winter solstice saw the lunar eclipse was in 1378, 632 years ago.
Asked about the best time of practising the yoga, she replied, "Brahmamuhurta is the best time to practice yoga. At this time spiritual energy is high and there are likely to be fewer disturbances, both external and internal, than at any other period of the day. However, if you are unable to practice during Brahmamuhurta, choose some other time when the stomach is not loaded." Brahmamuhurta is the period between 4am and 6am.
Yoga works best to release tension. "Each of the different groups can have a profound effect on your mental, emotional and physical health in varying ways. For instance, if you are an introvert, you lack self-esteem, or are afraid to open up, then performing postures that fall into the backward bend group will physically open up your body, especially around the chest and heart areas. This can have the impact of helping you to open up on a mental and emotional level too," Kelly said.
She also emphasises the crucial role that the yoga plays in making us breathe properly.
"As a matter of fact, breath work is a very important aspect of yoga. You learn to breathe deeply in postures and experience the release of tension in muscles along with the increased flexibility that comes when your body is supplied with fresh oxygen. Plus you learn to engage your full lung capacity in the breathing process so that you flush toxins out and breathe fresh oxygen in.
"Breathing is one of those things we take for granted, it just happens naturally of its own accord. But as we grow older our natural ability to breathe properly diminishes, and as a result our body and mind don't receive the full supply of oxygen that they need to operate at optimum capacity. Yoga is considered the only form of activity which massages all the internal glands and organs of the body in a thorough manner. Yoga acts in a wholesome manner on the various body parts. This stimulation and massage of the organs in turn benefits us by keeping away diseases and providing a forewarning at the first possible instance of a likely onset of disease or disorder," she said.
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