How small lifestyle changes can help you become a stronger and better person

23rd Sep 2016
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Modern science might have eliminated the threat of death from most infectious diseases and epidemics, but there is a more serious danger looming large over us — lifestyle diseases like cancer, thyroid, paralysis, and heart ailments are taking lives prematurely. While treatment options may be available, is there a way to protect yourself from being affected in the first place?

Although many argue that lifestyle diseases are by-products of our busy lives and that there is no way to really be 100 percent healthy, doctors and healers have time and again proved how small changes in our everyday lives can ward off most diseases. We spoke to Grand Master Akshar of Akshar Power Yoga to understand this better.

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Breathe clean

“Lack of knowledge is the prime cause for most illnesses, and that is to blame for the whole shift in the way we lead our lives today. We owe every living moment to the process of breathing, but it is also important to realise that the air we are taking in is laden with toxic fumes. A lot of us feel helpless and think of these things as something that is not under our control, but that is not true. Before urbanisation took over and we were reduced to living in congested spaces, every house had its own garden, which made sure we were breathing clean air. Hence, be it in your little homes or offices, try and grow as many plants as you can. Something is better than nothing.”

Eating right

Turning a deaf ear to your wise inner voice and grabbing that quick lunch loaded with empty calories might seem convenient, but it is these everyday habits that lead us to paying a hefty price in the long run.

“Apart from the air we breathe, it is also the food we eat which is of utmost importance. Today there is a whole new trend of eating organic food, but remember the times when we could eat anything and be carefree? The level of toxins in our food is extremely high and there is no substitute for organic and home-cooked food. Include 50 percent raw fruits and vegetables in every meal and make sure all your meals are home-cooked. Junk food is a strict no. You should also stop heating and cooking in microwave ovens and eating out of plastic cutlery. Include herbs and spices like mint leaves, tulsi, black peppercorns, gooseberries, lemon, and turmeric in your daily diet. ”

Shunning stress

The disease profile is changing rapidly in India. Already considered the diabetes capital of the world, India now appears to be headed towards gaining another dubious distinction — of becoming the lifestyle-related disease capital. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified India as one of the nations that is going to have the most lifestyle disorders in the near future. The population at risk shifts from over 40 to over 30, or even younger.

It is understandable if a disease is hereditary, but in the majority of cases there is no explanation for young people continually dying young. The trend these days is to work until you are 40 and then retire or “chill,” as everybody likes to put it. But what we fail to understand is that relaxation is a state of being and not something temporary. Corporate leaders and high-profile entrepreneurs today don’t retire; they choose to ‘retreat’. Everybody realises that peace of mind is what is essential for a happy life a little too late. Don’t make that mistake. Stress can kill you.”

Healthy living

Don’t force yourself to follow a fitness regime or diet; you will soon either falter or give it up entirely. Let it slowly become a part of your lifestyle. Remember the times when there were no food processors, water heaters, and vacuum cleaners and you had to help in doing the chores at home? Along with helping improve family bonds, these activities were also great workouts for the body, without you even realising it! Yes, it is hard not to succumb to the luxuries of today’s times, but know where to draw the line and do things yourself.

“Pushing good habits and activities to only something to do over the weekend is like living in instalments. In yoga, we stress on a technique called ‘thehraav’, which means ‘to pause’. It’s about living every moment and soaking it in. Everything is a science. For example, if you are cooking, put your heart and soul into it and the food will taste as good as the effort you put in. This applies to everything you do on a daily basis. The secret to good health is to be aware of every little thing you do.”

Akshar is the founder and owner of Akshar Power Yoga, one of the most successful yoga enterprises in Bengaluru. He also trains aspiring yoga teachers from around the world.

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