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Saturday, October 6, 2018

YOGA AND CANCER



Yoga, an unsung warrior against cancer

With today's constant media scares, plot holes filled medical dramas and half-baked internet rumours about everything being filled with carcinogens the thought of cancer has spared no one and fills all with anxiety. Almost everyone knows someone or at least knows of someone with a story of cancer. What is more disturbing is the fact that while humans have made such incredible medical advancement, there is still no cure for cancer without what is essentially poisoning oneself with chemotherapy. How many times have we heard people say, “Only if there was a pill to prevent cancer, I would take it everyday.”

We often hear people going through a cancer scare as if the world has come to an end and there is absolutely no solution or at least preventive measure. Well, it is not as bad as we think. It’s just that our fast paced life has left us little time to get a healthy life.

Yoga as a preventive and therapeutic measure

Running, swimming, walking are definitely important and a great way to stay fit. But, think about it; you run for one hour and then get stressed out emotionally for the remaining 23 hours.

So, is there a way to help us lead a completely balanced and healthy lifestyle? Yes and that’s where yoga comes in.

Yoga helps us to insulate our body and mind from stressful situations and environments; and, the key to achieve that is through conscious breathing throughout the day. It is in our human nature to either temporarily stop breathing or breathe less during stressful situations and since we live in a world of stressful situations all around, most of the people have shallow breathing that negatively impacts our internal organs. This helps the cancerous cells in our body to overpower our immune system.

If Yoga is practiced as a lifestyle, there is no logical or scientific reason for anyone getting cancer. And, even then in the fight against cancer, Yoga is an tool. There are so many cases where people have beaten cancer with yoga.

Stories of two cancer survivors
I personally know two extraordinary women who I am proud to call my yoga students and they are living demonstrations, of the power of yoga against cancer.

Cancer Survivor: Ranjana Joshi









Ranjana Joshi , a young mother (living in Oman), was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 when she had discovered a lump and a scar during a routine check-up. On March 19th, 2008, Ranjana rushed to India and got operated on March 21st. After the surgery, she underwent six painful cycles of chemotherapy that had made her immune system so weak and made her depressed. And, then during one particular bad month of radiation therapy, the radiation had created so much of imbalance in her hormones that even with tablets and other medication her hormones could not be stabilized and she suffered side effects such as headache, giddiness and been told by the same doctors that she was now more vulnerable to cancer in her uterus due to these side effects.

Ranjana says ”In 2008 I started with hormone therapy, after completion of chemotherapy treatments. The hormone therapy affected my uterus. Early 2010 I started yoga as therapy with Prema Nagesh and then I started feeling much better physically and emotionally.

by 2011, the doctors said I could stop taking Tamoxifin tablets for hormone therapy as my hormones were becoming balanced and after that within 2 months of regular practice of yoga my uterus size reduced from 11 cm to 8 cms and my hormones had completely stabilized and I started getting sensation back in my left armpit and also developed strength in my hand which had become weak during chemotherapy.
I had then began practicing tougher asanas like Chakrasana and Shirshasana and also increased the numbers of Suryanamaskar I did daily and then one day I finished 216 Surya namaskars without a break.”

“I was so thrilled with myself that I started to share my experience with all, especially about how my experience of doing 108 or more Suryanamskar felt like undergoing chemotherapy treatment without any side effects because so much prana (energy) was being generated in me and these cancer cells won’t survive in a body with high Prana. I was practicing pranayama (yogic breathing exercise) very regularly and never missed even a single day which boosted my emotional strength as well. I further went ahead with a teacher training course with My Teacher Prema Nagesh and I now I teach yoga and share my first hand experiences with all especially women. My teacher is very proud of me that yoga has made me evolve in to new human being with a positive attitude.”

Yoga Practice by Ranjana Joshi - Timelines


       First month
o   Standing postures
         Greeva sanchalan
         Parvatasana
         Trikonasana
         Skanda uttanasana
         Gomukhasana

o   Sitting postures :
         Marjari asana
         Ustrasana
         Shashakasana

o   Supine postures:
         Hasta Sanchalan
         Janu Sanchalan

o    Prone postures
         Sarpasana
         Niralamba  Bhujangasana


       Second month onwards

o   Standing postures
         Suryanamaskar
         Chakrasana with chair
         Benefits:it stretches the arms and armpits chest ,lower abdomen muscles and strengthens the back

o   Sitting
         Paschimuttasnasana
         Ardhmatsyendrasana
         Benefits:it stretches the low back and leads to Moola Bandha which is beneficial for uterus and lower organs

o   Supine postures
         Uttanapadasana
         Sarvanagasana
         Halasana
         Matsyasana

Benefits: Strengthens the back and core muscles and also inversion helps to increase circulation towards the core and other glands.


o   Prone postures:
         Dhanurasana
         Bhujangasana series
         Benefits: massages the lower organs and increases circulation towards chest and uterus.

o   Meditation
Meditation for self-healing ,increases the power to heal and develops optimism (placebo effect)

o   Fasting once week gives rest to the whole body for repair  process to happen and one of the best way as therapy.

Consult a dietician before you start any specific diet and  Ranjana has very bland Saatvic (vegetarian) diet always.

Remember that most of all it was her dedication, hard work and faith in Yoga which helped her fight against cancer and to maintain her health. She has followed all the asanas in sequence as instructed.

visit our youtube link on Ranjana Joshi.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsBfw_SBMq4&t=115s
(Details of all the above postures are in the yogatherapy4all.com)

Cancer Survivor: Sandhya


Sandhya, a middle aged mother who lives in United States. Sandhya  was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2013.

She says
“While living in Memphis, Tennessee, I was an active person participating in all activities at Temple and in the community. Being a teetotaller, non smoker, with no history of cancer in my family, I never thought I would face this day. I was at the local grocery store when my doctor called with his findings. I was immediately admitted to the hospital and underwent 8 cycles of intense chemotherapy. I was left fatigued with no strength and would fall often fall sick with an infection. After 8 months of treatment, I was in remission and was sent home. then after a year, my cancer had relapsed and I underwent a Bone Marrow Transplant. Before the transplant, I had underwent 11 cycles of radiation and 4 cycles of chemotherapy. 
All this treatment took a heavy toll on my body. I was weak; resigned to a wheelchair, unable to do anything on my own.

And when I thought I was recovering, I started having difficulty in breathing and had to be admitted in the ICU on a ventilator where i underwent treatment for lung infection for about a month after I went through physiotherapy and also required speech therapy and needed special services to relearn to eat and drink on my own.
This is when I was introduced to Prema Ji's Trained teacher Praveen Rodrigo (who has opened vyaniti yoga in canada) through my friend. Praveen consulted Premaji and she guided me to start simple, different breathing techniques like

       Abdominal breathing
       Chest breathing
       Anulom-Vilom / Pranayama

Initially, I could hardly do these seemingly simple for two minutes a day. My lung capacity was only 25% and was constantly under a doctor’s care. I made slow progress and increased Anuloma Viloma exercise to 15 minutes every hour. This helped me get back my lost energy.

The best feeling I ever got was during this time was when I went for a follow up and  had shocked my doctor with my improvement.  I was overjoyed to see the shock on the doctor’s face when the doctor placed the stethoscope on my chest to check my lungs. Usually, he would ask me to take a deep breath to check my lungs and the doctor knew that it hurts me to just take one long breath. But, instead I was breathing freely without pain!! The doctor was pleasantly surprised and said “I don’t care what you did. Just keep doing it.” And, that was the day when I began to truly believed in Yoga. Since then, I have increased the duration for pranayama. A great news came to me two months later when the doctor said that there is no sign of cancer in my scan after which I asked him to reduce the medication, for which the doctor reluctantly agreed. Then again, a month later, when I went for a check up I was told there was no sign of cancer.

By God's grace and Premaji’s continued support and encouragement, I now don’t have any lung issues or breathing problems anymore. After eight months of doing Anulom Viloma, Premaji guided me into doing Kapalbhaati and I will recommend Pranayama to one and all. I not only feel energetic but also feel alert and also have improved memory power. Please do yoga under a guru’s guidance and enjoy the positive changes.”

Now, Sandhya has gained the confidence that she can beat cancer. She is still under recovery and is still not completely healthy yet but with her commitment, I am sure she will return to her full strength and start applying for her old job in no time.

Pranayama is the simple exercise which makes a sick person stand up, an angry/short tempered person to melt down and a depressed person to develop an self-confidence by being positive and develop a “never give up” attitude.

Important - Pranayamas or breathing techniques which both Ranjana Joshi and Sandhya practiced are :

       Abdominal Breathing(massage the  abdominal organs and relaxes )
       Chest Breathing (improves lung capacity)
       Deep breathing (increases the oxygen absorption)
       Kapalbhatti (this Pranayama reduces the free radicals)
       Anuloma viloma(balances the both the energy level in body)
       Seetkari (reduces the heat of the body after chemo therapy)
       Bhramari (reduces the stress instantly)

I hope this message will inspire people to consider yoga as a means to fight cancer. Also, if you can lead a yogic life, you will get the opportunity to celebrate life and lead a happy, stress-free life. And, you can be confident that cancer will never knock at your door.

If you or anyone else needs guidance in yoga to fight cancer, please write to us at yogatherapy4all@gmail.com


Hari Om

Saturday, February 11, 2017

108 Sunsalutations - an experience by senior citizen

A Life Rejuvenated Through Yoga :




One always thinks that yoga can only be done young and flexible,so is it possible for yoga to give back the physical and emotional strength along with flexibility to one whose birth took place in 1932??

Mr Jayaraman Viswanathan retired in 1990 with honors at a flight lieutenant officer,and throughout his career he suffered from major health issues such as acidity and ulcers (for which he underwent a major surgery)

He was always a physically active individual who took long walks along with his wife beside him in the mornings and evenings as a means to take care of his health.

But the biggest blow to his health and confidence came in 2014 with he has to undergo an angioplasty ,which caused him fear and lack of physical and mental strength for a month.

After that he slowly sunk into slight depression with the walks with his wife, strides became smaller and slower and the statement that life is now being lived only in bonus time on his lips. 

Soon after he was pulled into yoga senior citizen batch by his daughter in law Mrs Prema Nagesh,initially he was a little reluctant at first saying that even his PT teacher hadn't troubled him so much when it came to exercise. 

After a week of practicing basic postures with people from his own age groups; such as pranayama,hip stretches and body balancing postures(Parvatasana, Santulasana and Vrikshasana),with the help of the wall and other props available he noticed dramatic changes,though may be small for us ,but for a senior citizen its great change and a positive one.
His walking speed had increased and the pain in his legs had reduced a bit.He was taking steps instead of lift(wow).How many youngsters prefer steps or staircase when lift is just near by?

This along with the support he got from the other senior citizens motivated him to continue with the practice and he began to wake up at four in the morning to practice in secret.

Three monthS later he learnt the proper way to do the Suryanamaskar with the right breathing.

 At first practicing Suryanamskaras will leave one breathless as it involved forward, backward bending with groin and quad stretches but he gradually found that with a dedicated bit of practice with focus was bringing him body balance and helped keep his physical stress at bay. 

He never gave up in spite that he found it very tough initially.He now started saying “Everything is possible in this world and at any age too; There may be few limitations according to the age but that shouldn’t stop one’s learning. What you need is the right attitude to take care of your health”.
 
Three months after his initial try he had gained the ability to do around 6 at a time and after a few months he was able to do 12. During this period his wife (74 years) was doing 60 rounds to completion and it became a matter of pride for him to reach, if not defeat her record .He was practicing with one goal that it is helping him to remain fit at that age and also he was setting an example to his age groups to keep themselves fit and start at any age and for Yoga no age bar.  I must say that fitness attitude and positive thoughts can come at any age and he is a great example.

He was practicing with great devotion Yoga and especially Pranayama and Suryanamaskars and posting his reach every day in what’s up groups to encourage younger members and his age groups. 

After two years of hard work and dedication he was able to reach the grand total of 108 and his wife(74 Years) practiced 108 in three consecutive days. Isn't it appreciable at that age?
All they practiced was under right guidance and care.
They also practiced right counters after suryanamaskaras,which is very important to not to hurt themselves in the long run.

The day he achieved 108 Suryanamaskars his happiness knew no bounds and he posted and spread his achievement through social media.

He received many appreciation and showed and proved to many of his age groups about Yoga and health.

He has promised to continue to preach and practice Yoga always which he started at the age of 83 years.There was some reason for him to learn, but he suggests others not to wait for a reason to learn but learn for the sake of learning and health.

He also proved in the end, age is just a number and now he has vowed to do 108 Suryanamaskars at least once a month, with his yoga partner his wife at his side and now blesses others to do the same as well.

Couple has been reaching these set target not to please anyone but been doing this very religiously as an gratitude towards SUN which is part of our culture to appreciate and be thankful to Sun who has been the driving force in all living being.

Hari Om tat Sat



 
 


Monday, December 5, 2016

 Yoga and Gyming :

Yoga and gyming, both seem like such polar opposites one developed by Asian mystics centuries ago and the other a new age science only recently discovered and growing daily , but the choice doesn't have to be one or the other and they can be complemented together to improve your overall health.

Here are some ways you can combine the two to your benefit:

Please visit our website YOGATHERAPY4ALL.COM  to know the details of the asanas images and how to perform each asana.

  • Reduce your risk of cramps before starting your weight training routine,

Stretch out your muscles with basic stretches like Veerabadraasana, Trikonasana and Hastapadasana
This would help loosen your shoulders, hips, hamstrings and back muscles respectively.


·         Warming up before your cardio routine:

 With a few Surya Namaskar (sun salutation positions) this would not only increase the heat in your body but also help prepare your muscles to endure the high paced work out ahead.

  • When focusing on your stomach muscles try combining your workout with a few marjariasana (cat stretches) before and after as this would both relax and unwind your abdomen and improve your overall blood circulation.

  • When using weights:
to increase your lower back and torso muscles warm up by using the Utkatasana (chair pose) to your advantage at this would help your body ease into your workout .

  • Muscle cramps and spasms during or due to the previous workouts: use the counter postures of yoga and shavasana (corpse pose) to facilitate blood flow and oxygen to the strained part of your body .

  • When developing your quadriceps muscles (with squats, intense jogging or isolation exercises) end or in cases of pre existing body pain begin your routine with asanas like

Supra vajrasana , Prasarita paduttanasana and lying on back Natraja (Supta hasta pada angustanasana)to help open up and loosen your hamstrings and any pain you may have in your calves and shins.

·         And finally when ending your workout

Pranayama and Meditation to release the accumulated stress in your mind and body and keep yourself fresh throughout the day!!

Please visit website YOGATHERAPY4ALL.COM  to know the details of the asanas images and how to perform each asana.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

“My First International Day of yoga Conference “experiences Jun 21 st and June 22nd 2015

“My First International Day of yoga “experience Jun 21 st and June 22nd  2015

 DAY ONE ARRIVAL - THE HOTEL ASHOKA, Chanayakpuri, New Delhi
As an initiative by our Indian PM Modi Yoga day was formed and recognized by the U.N to promote the Physical mental and spiritual discipline that is yoga in a right manner as a science of India. Being a yoga practitioner and Guiding and helping people come out of their stress related disorders in the Wonderful city of Oman for over 20 years, I was delighted to be called upon as a representative from Oman along with another expert from Oman, for the world’s first ever international yoga day celebrations.
On the 20th of June 2015 I had reached our capital city, Delhi and along with yoga gurus from Sweden, America, Malaysia and rest of the world was welcome with great pomp and splendor , with an individual guide, translator (for those who needed it)and security . We were accommodated in Hotel Ashoka as guests and Delegates, arrangements was for young children from the local schools representing the next generation of Yogis.
Apart for the greeting being fantastical organized it was great to see how widespread yoga has become in the world and how many different forms it has taken on, some have been modified/innovated to help people with health issues.


THE FIRST DAY OF CONFERENCE JUNE 21ST 2015
Next day being declared as international day of yoga our pm Modi ji had conducted yoga session in Rajpath and made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest yoga demonstration at a single venue with 35,985 people participating.

We set off for the conference, dressed in our finest traditional clothes, The hotel lobby soon became a colorful mélange of the diverse clothing traditions of India and the rest of the world, even the Yogis from the west were dressed in Punjab styled kurtas and payjamas. From there we went by bus with our security detail to the avenue at the Vigyan Bhawan New Delhi.

The guests were sent by a single bus, during the journey it was wonderful to learn from the other gurus about how yoga has evolved in their home countries. Along the way the Delhi monsoon decided to welcome us, being from an arid and dry country, we were delighted to experience this downpour, but for those from the cooler climates this proved to be an inconvenience. Once we reached the venue due to security reasons we have to walk from the gate to the main hall, as this was still raining we had to rush like little schoolchildren from the gate to the main hall; fortunately we didn't get too wet. Once we reached the main hall, we were greeted and seated in the hall which was stylized in the manner of the Indian parliament hall in the 6 th row with our country name mentioned on desk.

First there was a speech from the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, he beautifully explained how Yoga is a part of the Indian essence and traditions and with the modern times it’s being adopted by the west and being forgotten here at home and how now there is a need to unify the different branches that have come up and redefine it as a modern, verified and accredited science.
 For this purpose he has formed The Ministry of “AYUSH” Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.

After him there was a few keynote Speeches on their respective sciences and practices by Swami Ramdevji (founder of Patanjali Yog peeth, Haridwar), 

  Dr Veerendra  Heggaadeji (Dharmadhikari of Sri kshethra Dharamshthala)
  Proff H.R Nagendra ( chancellor of swami Vivekananda Yog Anusandhana Samsthana)and Naik (Minister of State for AYUSH).
After this and gifting of the commemorative coins and postage stamps by the honorable prime minister, the rest of the day was spent in discussion and debating among the participants and the committee chairs on the different branches of yoga what would constitutes as a new technique and what would not, what parameter should one fulfill to call him/herself a yoga teachers, how research and grants for research should be carried out and the creation of new schools to retrain and provide the next generation with trained and certified yoga teachers.
The objective session is to provide an insight in to the traditional basis of yoga and it relevance in the present day context.

Many other experts in technical sessions were Dr.David Frawley(Vedic origin of Yoga) founder and director of American institute of Vedic studies, Dr Parimal Devanath and  chairpersons were Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra (Director of YOGA Institute  Santacruz Mumbai) and  Meenakshi Devi BHAWANI..few others.


2nd day of conference in Vigyan Bhawan
As we came the second day to Vigyan Bhawan which was s much easier to enter as formalities were less and security was less.

“Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam”whole world is my family is the Indian philosophy.
Yoga is to play main role in peace harmony and spiritual elevation across the world.
To share this Rajyogini Asha Didi and Shri Satpal singh were Co-chairpersons followed by Aacharya Bal Krishna (companion of baba ramdev ji) and other technical sessions were shared by Yogini Shambhavi Devi (Yogini Shambhavi Devi is a spiritual guide and educator rooted in the ancient teachings and Vedic traditions of Tantra, Jyotisha, Ayurveda and Vedanta.)
Living traditions of Yoga have not only kept this ancient practice alive but also immensely contributed in customizations of Yogic practices to suit the day to day activities conducted by Swami Maheshwarananda (has his own ashram in Rajasthan )



Surprisingly after this at the end of the day we were asked to close the day with yoga delegates from different countries to share our teaching in their respective country. Given an opportunity and not to miss this spoke few words thanking Oman’s Ruler his Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Syed for his support always for being so generous and freedom to think and follow our yoga practice, for the welfare of people in country. I am always grateful and my sincere gratitude towards him.

 I also shared the Hatha Yoga techniques which I follow and how much importance I give for correct breathing in day to day life for everyone to combat stress. I expressed my feelings towards this event, By sharing that how I felt honored to be part of this historical event due to our Prime Ministers Initiative and we are thankful that he gave us chance to share our knowledge and to get more knowledge with different experts in this field. I’m sure to contribute in this field till end and make sure our PM dream of better world with better peace and harmony come soon.



We as team will work towards his higher dreams as I always believe” DREAM WORKS ONLY WHEN TEAM WORKS”.


Before the final show of special guests I requested AYUSH to allow me to present the ministry with an album which contained all the activities which myself and my students got an opportunity to develop towards this country Oman  for 20 years .



There was in the end valedictory ceremony for those who completed the first yoga teacher training course under AYUSH.



There were experts like Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev, Brahmakumari Shivani ji and Home Minister Rajnath Singh who Honored this closing ceremony. It was feast to hear Sadguru and Shivaniji’s talk on life.

Rajnath singh shared an excellent speech as yoga not a religion as it is to unite and not to divide and every religion has Yoga in it and as it involves awareness, peace and harmony.
And we were in the end taking life time experience and returned back to hotel Ashoka. Next day we all departed to our own respective countries taking back many sweet memories and learning experience of life time. I consider myself very fortunate to get this opportunity.

Hari Om Tat Sat

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Yoga for Senior Citizens!!

                                    


We all grow up but it’s only by choice we get to age gracefully!! As one’s body ages simple tasks such as climbing a flight of stairs, a quick jog around the park, tying your own shoes or even something as simple as sitting cross legged on the floor for a small about of time become a herculean task, now for most the minute these small tasks become difficult the logical human decides that the best course of action would be to accept it as a part of ageing and avoid those activities altogether. 

Unfortunately the logic is flawed and reverse is the better way to go about aging gracefully as with the right diet and exercise an older person can sometimes be even more fit than a youngster!!

An excellent way to ease into an exercise routine at an advance age is through yoga, as the benefits (especially for a mature person) include an increase in muscle tone ( lost over the years ) ,improvement of balance and of course the overall improvement of one’s mood and mental health.

Start off slow with a few basic asans and pranayama sessions to warm up all your joints and improve your lung capacity, the benefits include a reduction in your stress levels and a normalization of your blood pressure (as such can be done by people with both high and low BP) and even an improvement concentration (that’s right a loss of concentration is not just for the internet baby).

Although at first glance most of the postures such as the Virabhadra series, Trikonasana may seem more suited to a more younger practitioner with a few modification and props  ( as suggested by your guru) they can easily be achieved and after enough practice, one can even surpass a 20 year old doing the same asanas.



Here are a few basic steps and asanas that can be done by anyone with joint pains (please consult a guru before performing these on your own).


Asanas for body balance with wall support in the beginning

Parvatasana:(mentioned
-          Stand with your back to the wall for support, raise your arms by your sides and join your hands above your head, slowly your arms and your body upwards (inhaling) slowly coming on your toes for those with no ankle problems) after a few seconds slowly come down (exhaling) lowering your arms to your sides repeat 2-3 times at a go.



Santulasana:
-          Face the wall and place your right palm on it (high above your head) for support, raise your left leg towards your back as high as you can and support it using your left hand, hold the position for 3-4 deep breaths; repeat using the other leg and hand.


Other asanas that are beneficial to an older person include the Virbhadra series which may be perceived as a tough one but would help to strengthen their legs and as a side benefits brings confidence.
While the sitting and lying on back and stomach series can be done to improve flexibility in one’s knees and help with other health issues like diabetes and liver disorders. 



And finally for people of all generations meditation is a must as it acts as a guide to let go all material ATTACHMENT and tensions in life, accept the present moment and be ready for any mental challenges one’s coming years after all aging of the body is inevitable but the aging of the mind is always a choice!! 
If one wants more detail about asanas which seniors can do and most of which is mentioned in "YOGA FOR ARTHRITIS".Make sure seniors take support of wall while practicing standing postures and while sitting down postures keep the back straight by sitting on cushion or wall support .

HARI OM TAT SAT