Q 1 – In your own words, can you sum up why you think actively taking an interest in nutrition and physical fitness through Yoga can help people lead healthier lives.
We all understand, prevention is better than cure. Hence, I believe that it is better to be mindful about the food that you eat and stay active in Dubai, to keep yourself fit than to find cure later.
At the same time, mental health is equally important to being physically fit.
The science of yoga applies to all aspects of life. The basic yogic practices includes, asanas (postures), pranayamas (breathing techniques), mudras (positions or gestures) which represent the psyche, bandhas (locks) for channeling energy and shatkarmas (cleansing practices).
All of these techniques purify the body, mind and energy systems; thus bringing a balance in your mental and physical state.
Physical and mental cleansing and strengthening is one of yoga’s most important benefits. What makes it so powerful and effective is the fact that it works on holistic principles of harmony and unification.
According to medical scientists, yoga therapy is successful because of the balance created in the nervous and endocrine systems which directly influences all the other systems and organs of the body.
The underlying principles of yoga provide a real tool to combat social malaise. It provides a means to find your own way of connecting with your true self. In this respect, Yoga is far from simply being physical exercises.
Yoga merges the mental and physical disciplines to attain a peaceful body and mind.
Improves the flexibility of your body
Helpful in building muscle strength
Crucial in helping in preventing cartilage and joint breakdown
Protects your spine by making it more flexible and stronger
Helps in attention, focus and concentration
Activates the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce stress and tension in the physical body
Betters the quality of your bone health
Increases your blood flow. This can decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes
Improves your immunity system and maintains a fine balance
Q 2 – Do you think nutrition is important in leading a healthier lifestyle?
While some may have crazy ideas about crash diets and extreme exercises in the quest for healthy living, there actually is no need for that.
It is said that fitness is built in the Kitchen not in gym. It just means that you are what you eat.
70% of your fitness goals are achieved through a balanced diet.
Hence, eating right is very crucial to your overall fitness. However, I believe that healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated; instead it should be enjoyable.
Do not put yourself on unsustainable diet plans that lack nutrition.
Eat fresh wholesome food and plan your meals in advance. Many diets in Dubai tell people to ditch one of the two – proteins or carbohydrates, and to definitely not consume them together.
But the body craves wholesome meals and cutting off any one ingredient for long can leave you craving it all the more.
So everything in proper quantities is acceptable.
Q 3 – As a Yoga Coach, what methods and techniques do you use to ensure your nutrition is in good shape and your weight is manageable? For example, do you count calories, macro’s protein content etc.
I have always been on vegetarian diet. And a simple nutrition mantra for me has been – adopt what your grandmother told you!
I eat food that I grew up eating and what my body is used to rather than changing it to some fancy diets.
Eat fresh home food while keeping a check on usage oil, salt, sugar and spices has always helped me to manage my weight.
When your goal is to reduce weight, you not only need to have calorie deficit but also eat the right kind of food that will not lead to cravings and keep your mind and body healthy.
Q 4 – How many times per week do you physically do Yoga to ensure you stay in great shape?
The physical and mental health benefits that I have experienced through yoga have been rewarding and life changing. Hence, I do yoga every day.
However, the magic number is 150. Exercise for 150 minutes a week in Dubai. That’s all it takes to keep every lifestyle disease, including obesity, at bay.
Q 5 – For general fitness, stress relief and flexibility what are your top 10 yoga poses and can you explain how and why you think each works?
A well-chosen set of asanas, combined with pranayama, shatkarmas and meditation is most effective in releasing the stress along with developing strength, flexibility and balance.
However, it is very important to know the general contra-indications of each pose before you do it.
1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
It is a full body workout in itself. It is an effective way of loosening up, stretching, strengthening and toning all the joints, muscles and internal organs of the body.
Surya namaskar has a direct vitalizing effect on the solar energy of the body which flows through pingala nadi.
Regular practice of surya namaskar regulates pingala nadi, whether it is underactive or overactive.
Regulation of pingala nadi leads to a balanced energy system at both mental and physical levels.
2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
This pose improves and deepens breathing. Bhujangasana can help to remove backache and keep the spine supple and healthy.
Helps in menstrual & some gynecological disorders. It stimulates the appetite, alleviates constipation & is beneficial for all the abdominal organs especially the liver and kidneys.
3. Vyagrasana (Tiger Pose)
This asana exercises and loosens the back by bending it alternately in both directions and tones the spinal nerves.
Vyagrasana relaxes the sciatic nerves; relieving sciatica and loosens up the legs and hip joints. It tones the female reproductive organs and is especially beneficial for women after childbirth.
This pose stretches the abdominal muscles, promotes digestion and stimulates blood circulation. It also helps in reducing weight from the hips and thighs.
4. Gomukhasana (cow’s face pose)
It is an excellent asana for inducing relaxation. If practiced for 10 minutes or more, it will alleviate tiredness, tension and anxiety.
Cow’s face pose relieves backache, sciatica, rheumatism and general stiffness in the shoulders and neck. It alleviates cramp in the legs and makes the leg muscles supple.
5. Shirsha Angustha Yogasana (Head to toe pose)
This asana stretches the hamstring, the thigh muscles, the area between the shoulder blades and provides a lateral stretch to the body. It stimulates nervous system and the appetite. It reduces excess weight around the waist.
6. Bhumi Pada Mastakasana (half headstand)
This asana helps in cases of low blood pressure. It balances the nervous system, strengthens the neck muscles and brings a rich supply of blood to the brain.
As a preliminary pose to sirshasana (headstand), it accustoms the brain to the increased influx of blood and the crown to supporting the weight of the body.
7. Eka padasana (One foot pose)
This asana strengthens the arms, wrists, back, hips and legs muscles. It helps to develop muscular coordination, nervous balance and concentration.
8. Parivritta Janu Sirshasana (Revolved head to knee pose)
This Asana gives lateral stretch to the body and also stretches the hamstrings and shoulders.
9. Pachimottanasana (Back stretching pose)
This yoga pose stretches the hamstring muscles and increases flexibility in the hip joints. It tones and massages the entire abdominal and pelvic region, including the liver, pancreas, spleen, uro-genital system, kidneys and adrenal glands. Back stretching pose also helps to remove excess weight in this area and stimulates blood circulation.
10. Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand pose)
By pressing the chest against the chin, this asana stimulates the thyroid gland. Generally, this pose balances the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems. It also tranquillizes the mind, relieves mental and emotional stress and helps clear psychological disturbances, boosting the immune system.
Shoulder stand pose has influence on the parathyroid glands and ensures normal development and regeneration of the bones.
Abdominal breathing is induced, improving the exchange of air in the body, relieving stress and massaging the abdominal organs.
Sarvangasana releases the normal gravitational pressure from the anal muscles, relieving hemorrhoids. It tones the legs, abdomen and reproductive organs, draining stagnant blood and fluid and increasing circulation to these areas.
Flexibility of neck vertebrae is improved and the nerves passing through the neck to the brain are toned. Circulation is increased in this area generally, revitalizing the ears, eyes and tonsils.
Q 6 – For body toning and slimming what are your top 10 yoga poses and can you explain how and why you think each works?
Remember, combining exercise with a healthy diet in Dubai is a more effective way to lose weight than depending on calorie restriction alone. Exercise can prevent or even reverse the effects of certain diseases.
Exercise is also known to help contribute to a sense of confidence and well-being, thus possibly lowering rates of anxiety and depression.
Performing all the variations of surya namaskar (sun salutation) and astanga vinyasa or hatha flow will certainly help in body toning and slimming.
All the variations of Surya namaskar (sun salutation) at a faster pace than usual is a good cardio exercise that not only helps in losing weight but also has many other benefits. It boosts your blood circulation, giving your skin and your face its radiant glow back.
The forward bending poses in surya namaskara helps in releasing the trapped gas from your system and in smooth running of your digestive system. It helps in better regulation of the menstrual cycle, brings down blood sugar level and helps in keeping numerous heart diseases at bay.
It helps to improve the functioning of nervous system, thus helps to calm down and get rid of anxiety.
Above all, it helps you maintain an efficient inhalation and exhalation process, with the lungs getting properly ventilated and the blood getting fresh oxygen to remain sufficiently oxygenated. It helps calm your mind, giving you a better and more peaceful sleep at night.
My top 10 yoga poses for body toning and slimming in Dubai would be:
- Surya Namaskara (12 steps)
- Ashtanga Primary Series Surya namaskara A (9 steps)
- Ashtanga Primary Series Surya namaskara B
- Trikonasana (Triangle pose) – Performing all the variation in triangle pose affect the muscles on the sides of the trunk, the waist and the back of the legs. Regular practice will help to reduce the waistline fat.
- Virabhadrasana (Warrior pose) – This series helps to tone your thighs, butt, arms and shoulders. Improves balnce and contracting abs while holding into this pose will help build your core strength too.
- Parivritta Utkatasana (Twisted Chair Pose) – It’s the yoga version of a squat, but just a little bit more intense. It works on quads, the glutes and the abs. The twisting also helps the digestive system and lymph system. Combine all these into one move and you have got a great way to lose weight.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose) – It is a weight bearing pose, excellent way to tone your arms and biceps.
- Sarvangasana – as explained in Q.5
- Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-limbed staff pose or Low plank pose) – It not only tones & strengthens your arms, biceps and triceps but also works on your core strength.
- Navasana (Boat Pose) – It helps improve core strength and burns the stubborn belly fat.