'Yoga is like your regular diet. One must practice it regularly'

International Yoga Day is celebrated on June 21 every year with an aim to spread awareness regarding multiple benefits of practicing yoga

Shivani Gupta

Shivani Gupta   21 Jun 2019 1:26 PM GMT

Obesity, diabetes, depression, thyroid, and cervical spondylosis are the major emerging health problems in India.

"Yoga is like your regular diet. We have to practice it on a regular basis. Just like food and water are necessary for our survival, yoga is also a necessary diet for our health. By doing yoga, one gets rid of all diseases," said Geeta Agarwal, 58, a yoga practitioner and member of Bhartiya Yog Sansthan.

According to the experts, the majority of youngsters in the age of 18-26 are likely to suffer from obesity, thyroid, and high blood pressure problems. Reduced outdoor activities, incessant use of computers and gadgets are an added threat, they say.

International Yoga Day is celebrated on June 21 every year. The main aim is to spread awareness regarding the multiple benefits of practicing yoga.

"Due to unhealthy lifestyle, today's generation is suffering a lot. They spend a lot of time on gadgets. They eat poor quality food," said Anita Gupta, 57, member of Bhartiya Yog Sansthan and center head of the Model House group, Lucknow.

Experts say the best time to practice yoga is early in the morning before breakfast. One can practice yoga around sunset too.

Obesity a threat

Weight issues and obesity are emerging health problems in India. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), 13% of women (15-49 Years) and 9% men (15-49 Years) were overweight or obese in 2005-06.

Processed foods and fast foods are the reasons for obesity in children. More than 135 million individuals are affected by obesity in India. Between 5.74% and 8.82% of school going children in India are obese.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 66% of adults are overweight and 35.7% are obese.

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), in the past 10 years, the number of obese people has doubled in the country.

"Earlier, I was excessively obese and I was suffering from acute depression. But, after I started practicing yoga regularly, my health improved. Practicing yoga is also beneficial for people who suffer from acute depression because they meet new people. They talk to them. It relieves them," said Sudha Agarwal, 54, a yoga practitioner and member of Bhartiya Yog Sansthan.

Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases (heart attack and stroke), diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders (osteoarthritis), some cancers (including breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder and kidney).

Cases of diabetes and depression on the rise

The number of cases of diabetes is on the rise. Nearly 1 million Indians die due to diabetes every year.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India had 69.2 million diabetic people in 2015. Nearly 98 million people in India may have Type 2 diabetes by 2030.

The average age of onset is 42.5 years. Diabetes is an invitation to other cardio-related diseases -- it increases risk of heart attack and high blood pressure.

"I have been practicing yoga from at least 20 years. Even at this age, I do not suffer from back pain, high BP, thyroid and not even diabetes. The ones who practice yoga regularly do not suffer from all these diseases," said Geeta.

Depression is almost twice as likely to affect women than men. It tends to have different contributing causes in women than it does in men. Contributing factors include reproductive hormones, a differing female response to stress, and social pressures that are unique to a woman's life experiences.

"Self-love is very important. Because if you will love yourself, only then you can thrive because it will make you healthy and fresh," added Anita.

Cervical spondylosis upshot is increasing every year

According to International Surgery Journal, a study conducted on 100 patients diagnosed had cervical spondylosis. Among which, 69% were males and 31% were females. Patients between the age of 40 and 49 years showed the maximum prevalence of the disease (29%), followed by 30-39 years group (26%). 22% of patients with cervical spondylosis were over 60 years of age. Above the age of 20 years, the prevalence was more in males than females. 20% of males in 30-39 years group and 19% males in 40-49 years group showed symptoms and signs of cervical spondylosis.

"We treat all our diseases with asanas. We do not take any kind of pills. Nowadays, the cervical problem is heavily affecting people. Greeva Sanchalana asana (involves neck movements) is extremely helpful in getting rid of the cervical problem," added Geeta.

Thyroid affects more women than men

About 32% of our population is suffering from various kinds of thyroid disorders. Every third Indian suffers from thyroid disorders like thyroid nodules, hyperthyroidism, goiter, thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer, says a report.

Thyroid diseases are most commonly seen in women and cause a multitude of problems, most notably, weight gain and hormonal imbalances. However, even men are at risk, though their chances of suffering from thyroid diseases are considered to be less as compared to women.

"I have been practicing yoga for the past 15 years. I was suffering from thyroid and acute knee pain," said Mona Agarwal, yoga practitioner and member of Bhartiya Yog Sansthan.

"After I started practicing yoga, my health improved. Unlike others, I do not take any pills for any diseases," added Mona.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, in India, there is a significant burden of thyroid diseases. Further, people living in the North Indian regions have maximum cases of hypothyroidism as compared to the rest of the country.

According to a projection from various studies on thyroid disease, it has been estimated that about 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid diseases.

Practice yoga if you want to look younger

A few simple yoga exercises can add a permanent glow to your face. Practicing yoga asanas helps in increasing blood circulation to the head and face area. This will give you a naturally beautiful skin tone.

"We practice facial pranayama regularly. It makes us look younger. Pranayams benefit us more than asanas," said Geeta, 58.

It tones the skin, improves oxygenation to the skin, imparts a beautiful glow and keeps the skin youthful and free from problems. The same goes for the hair. Since yoga helps to induce relaxation and reduce stress, it certainly helps in dealing with stress-related conditions like acne, hair loss, dandruff, etc.

It increases the blood flow thereby getting rid of pimples. Hormonal changes and stress are major factors for pimples. Yoga helps to balance hormones. It relaxes your body and relieves stress.

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