‘Yoga’ and the better ‘us’

Ashtanga Yoga

The origin of the discipline “Yoga” is in India. It is not only a physical but also a spiritual practice that helps us to reduce our body weight and also stabilize our mind. Modern forms of yoga encourage exercising, focusing on our strength, physical and mental well-being and flexibility.

There are so many variations of Yoga like – Hatha yoga, Iyengar yoga, Yin yoga, Yogalates, Power yoga, Yogasthenics etc. Our fitness level determines the type of yoga class is best suited for us. So it is best to consult a doctor and have a personal yoga instructor to guide us with the right techniques.

Some of the various types of Yoga –

  • Ashtanga Yoga – It is based on ancient yoga teachings. It synchronizes our breathing and movement in the asanas. Amongst many other benefits this asana helps to improve our blood circulation, removes toxins from our body and betters the joint pains.
Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga – An asana for improving our blood circulation
  • Bikram Yoga – This yoga is held in an artificially heated room of 105 degrees! This form of yoga helps to stretch our body, relieve stress, tone and detoxify our body. It also helps to heal pains like arthritis, knee pains or even back problems.
Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga – The hot yoga style to detoxify our body
  • Iyengar Yoga – This form tries to find correct alignment in each posture by using different props like blocks, straps, blankets etc.
  • Kundalini yoga: It is a form of yoga where we meditate to release kundalini energy. Kundalini yoga class starts with chanting and ends with singing along with meditation and pranayama.
  • Hatha Yoga – Traditionally, Hatha yoga brings peace to the mind and body thereby preparing it for deeper spiritual practices. This style is more gentle and slow. It is great for beginners.
Hatha Yoga
Practice Hatha Yoga for peace of body and mind.
  • Jivamukti Yoga – It traditionally means “liberation while living”. According to David and Sharon, ‘there are too many positive physical benefits to list but the main thing is “you build up a body of light” and feel more comfortable with who you are’. Jivamukti yoga, includes, meditation, chanting, pranayama etc.
  • Prenatal yoga – These are yoga for the pregnant people. This yoga is designed to help pregnant woman in all stages of her pregnancy. Moreover, it also helps to get back to shape post pregnancy faster.

The above mentioned forms are only a few of the varied typologies of Yoga. The list is really a never ending one!

 

Major Benefits of doing Yoga –

  • Increases our physical strength, balance and flexibility – From ages Yoga has been a major inspiration for many across the globe. It is a safe and very effective workout style which helps to increase our physical strength, balance and flexibility.
  • Prevents the elderly from sudden falls and injuries – Injuries due to accidental falls amongst older people are very common and a global health concern. Yoga helps to improve our body balance and thus prevents the elderly from sudden falls.
  • Yoga is very good during and post pregnancy – It is even advised to pregnant women to go for yoga classes as it helps to experience fewer problems in pregnancy and labor.
  • Anxiety and depression – Yoga is a powerful treatment for depression and anxiety.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease – This disease also called as GERD is greatly benefited with Yoga practice. Regular practice of Yoga like Kapalbhati and Agnisar kriya improves GERD to a great level.
  • Yoga is like a treatment Doing yoga is good for people suffering from Arthritis and Asthma. It is also beneficial for people with bipolar disorder. It also works significantly for patients suffering with Migraine.
  • It reduces cancer related fatigue and breast cancer cognitive problems – Survivors of cancer often report cognitive problems, yoga can effectively reduce cognitive problems in survivors of breast cancer.
  • Yoga improves chronic neck pain and chronic heart failure – Studies revealed that regular yoga practice improves chronic neck pain or any neck-related disabilities or problems. Yoga has also significant positive effects on cardiac function. People under cardiac rehabilitation Yoga programs have had markedly stable health impacts.
  • Flexibility- Yogacan make our body more flexible. Yoga has positions that act upon the whole body which in turn stretches the muscles as well as the joints.

However it also true that Yoga is challenging for beginners. Moreover if the postures are incorrect it will not help on the contrary we might injure ourselves. Therefore it is always suggested that we should take the help of a Yoga master or Yoga trainer to learn it properly to yield maximum benefits from it.

Fitness with the UGI Ball

UGI Ball plank mountai climbers

One of the hot favourites in the world of fitness is the UGI Ball. It is a great buddy for workout as it does not restrict us to exercise only in the gym. We can work out with it at home or carry to a hotel or beach while on vacation!

Since it is a hybrid of a medicine ball and stability ball, we can kneel on it, stand on it, and do our planks or crunches. However the trick is, the softness of the ball makes the surface unstable and thus our body has to work harder. In the process it helps to lose more!

It is a 30-minute full body workout routine but it makes workouts fun. Using UGI is awesome to work on our body balance, to build our core strength and also helps to strengthen and stabilize our muscles. It is recommended by various fitness trainers or personal trainers as well to their clients who look forward to achieve that dream body but in a fun way.

This UGI Ball can be used variously for various exercises like –

  • Dips
Dips with UGI Ball
Dips are great to get our upper body tonned!

Dips are a very good workout if our target is to tone Upper Body. We should start in a bridge position, keeping our hands on the ball and feet should be flat on the floor. One thing very important here is that we should keep our lower back close to the UGI Ball. Now all we need to do is to bend our elbows in order to lower our butt without touching the floor. After this we need to extend our elbows to return to the starting position. Now repeat.

 

  • Right & Left Leg Lifts
    Right & Left Leg Lifts
    UGI Balls – Great for Right & Left Leg Lifts.

    This Right and Left leg lifts are good when we target to lose fat and tone our Lower Body. It is quite easy too. All we need to do is to balance our right/left knee on the UGI ball. Now we need to extend our other leg straight out with toes pointed to the side. We must remember to keep our leg straight and toes pointed and then raise our extended leg up and down. Throughout the workout we must focus to keep our Abs tight and maintain a flat back. Now we have switch sides and repeat the same on the other leg.

  • Plank Mountain Climbers
UGI Ball plank mountai climbers
Plank Mountain Climbers using the UGI Ball

Another great way to use this ball is to do Plank Mountain Climbers. This is a great Cardio workout that helps to get our heart rate up. We should always begin in a plank position keeping our forearms resting on the ball. We need to keep our legs straight and feet on floor. After this position is set all we have to do is to alternately drive our knees towards chest. Our back should be flat throughout the exercise.

The UGI Ball enables us with so many various forms of exercises UGI Caterpillar, Toss and catch UGI, UGI Swing, Side Lunge Jumps with UGI, V-Ups, Reverse Lunges with Shoulder lifts, UGI Push ups to Jump Squats etc.

This great exercise ball helps us to workout with versatility and thereby enables us with cardio, strength training and core training. UGI Ball thus helps us with a full-body workout.

So without any further delay, let’s get our own UGI Ball and start working out today with a personal trainer to guide us with the correct postures!!

Exercises for functional fitness for older adults

Wall push-ups

As per various studies, significant health benefits are seen in adults aged 65 years and older who participate in regular physical activity. Even people with some existing illness can exercise which will definitely improve the condition.

Some of the many benefits of exercising in case of older adults are:

  • Proper exercising also slows the ageing of the brain.
  • Exercising at this age helps to improve your strength and thus stay independent.
  • Exercising adds up to one’s energy level too.
  • Diseases like as diabetes, osteoporosis or diseases related to heart can be to avoided by regular exercising too.
  • It also improves your balance thereby preventing accidental falls.
  • Moreover emotional fatigue, depression or anxiety can also be checked.

The types of exercises you can do are many to choose from. However, it is always better to understand your body and accordingly select them where personal trainers play a very important part.

  • Just as the other name of Aerobic activity i.e. ‘endurance activity’ suggests, older adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week in order to stay fit for longer time. You can choose to go for brisk walking, jogging, water aerobics, dancing, cycling, swimming or play tennis – there are ample options of aerobic activities.
  • Many such exercises that older adults should do every day to improve strength, flexibility, and balance are Abdominal Contractions which will help to increase strength in the abdominal muscles.
Abdominal contraction exercise
Abdominal Contraction Exercise – improves strength, flexibility, and balance.

 

 

  • You can do Wall push ups to increase the strength in the chest and shoulders
Wall push-ups
Make your chest and shoulder stronger with wall push-ups!
  • Toe taps are good for strengthening the lower legs and Heel raises are important to strengthen the upper calves. On the other hand, knee lifts strengthens the thighs and the Ankle rotations strengthens the calves.

 

  • Another very important thing for older adults is Balance Boosters. It is very common that accidental falls leads to injury for many elderly people. To avoid such situations, you should incorporate balance exercises in your exercise regimen. Doing balance exercises, such as Shifting Weights or Single leg balance or Tai chi orYoga will make it easier to walk on uneven surfaces without losing balance.

However, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor if you have any chronic health condition or even any symptoms before starting a physical activity program.

So cheers to long and healthy living with functional exercising!