Mental Illness and the stigma around it

Stigma is when someone sees you in a negative way because of a particular characteristic or attribute (such as skin colour, cultural background, a disability or a mental illness). When someone treats you in a negative way because of your mental illness, this is discrimination.

Stigma happens when a person defines someone by their illness rather than who they are as an individual. For example, they might be labelled ‘psychotic’ rather than ‘a person experiencing psychosis’.

For people with mental health issues, the social stigma and discrimination they experience can make their problems worse, making it harder to recover. It may cause the person to avoid getting the help they need because of the fear of being stigmatised.

The harmful effects of stigma

Some of the effects of stigma include:

  • feelings of shame, hopelessness and isolation
  • reluctance to ask for help or to get treatment
  • lack of understanding by family, friends or others
  • fewer opportunities for employment or social interaction
  • bullying, physical violence or harassment
  • self-doubt – the belief that you will never overcome your illness or be able to achieve what you want in life.

Dealing with stigma

Here are some ways you can deal with stigma:

Get the mental health treatment you need. Try not to let the fear of being labelled with a mental illness stop you from getting help.

Do not believe it. Sometimes, if you hear or experience something often enough, you start to believe it yourself. Try not to let other people’s ignorance influence the way you feel about yourself. Mental illness is not a sign of weakness and is rarely something you can deal with on your own. Talking about your mental health issues with healthcare professionals will help you on your road to recovery or management.

Do not hide away. Many people with mental illness want to isolate themselves from the world. Reaching out to people you trust – family, friends, coaches or religious leaders – can mean you get the support you need.

Connect with others. Joining a mental health support group – either online or in person – can help you deal with feelings of isolation and make you realise that you are not alone in your feelings and experiences.

You are not your illness. Do not define yourself by your illness as other people might. Instead of saying ‘I’m schizophrenic’, say ‘I have schizophrenia’. There is power in language.

It’s not personal. Remember that other people’s judgements often come from a lack of understanding rather than anything else. These judgments are made before they get to know you, so do not believe that their views have anything to do with you personally.

Discrimination – your rights

Australia has legislation against discrimination and agrees with international conventions that protect the rights of people with mental illness.

  • The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission promotes equal opportunity and can help you address unlawful discrimination.
  • The Australian Human Rights Commission is a Commonwealth Government agency that promotes human rights and deals with compliance and discrimination.
  • At the international level, the United Nations General Assembly has ‘Principles for the protection of persons with mental illness and the improvement of mental health care’. The World Health Organization also has information on mental health and human rights.

Challenging stigma associated with mental illness

Everyone has a role to play in creating a mentally healthy community – one that is inclusive, rejects discrimination and supports recovery. Ways to help include:

  • learning the facts about mental illness and sharing them with family, friends, work colleagues and classmates
  • getting to know people with personal experiences of mental illness so you learn to see them for the person they are rather than their illness.
  • not judging, label or discriminate when you meet people with mental illness. Treat all people with respect and dignity.
  • avoiding using language that puts the illness first and the person second. Say ‘a person with bipolar disorder’ rather than ‘that person is bipolar’.
  • saying something when you hearpeople around you making stereotypical or inaccurate comments about mental illness.
  • sharing your own experience of mental illness (if you have experienced it). This will help dispel myths and encourage others to do the same. Mental illness is not something shameful that needs to be hidden.

YOGA- Balance of Body and Mind

There are many practices in the world to keep the mental and body health in harmony; One such practice is yoga. In the last few years there has been an surge in the number of yoga practitioners as these days there are more health problems and more awareness and it does have a positive impact on the body. Yoga is the art and science of uniting the body and mind that helps in “Self-Realisation”. Yoga was a method used for liberation of individual souls but now it is presented as a solution for global problems. Yoga has various branches that are practiced based on the problems one would like to be deal with. Yoga gives inner peace.

Yoga has its origins from the Indian Subcontinent and is practiced and passed on for many generations. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to unite’. The highest or ultimate result of yoga is ‘samadhi’. A lot number of seals and fossil remains of the Indus Saraswati valley civilisation suggest the presence of yoga in ancient India. The presence of yoga is available in folk traditions, Indus valley civilization, Vedic and Upanishadic heritage, Buddhist and Jain traditions, the epics of Mahabharat and Ramayana etc. Yoga is broadly classified into four divisions- mantra yoga, raja yoga, laya yoga, hatha yoga. The practice of yoga in the vedic tradition was as a result of the internalization of the vedic ritual and its elevation symbolically from the material plane into the mental plane. By practicing yoga you have

  • Ability to move everywhere
  • Ability to control everything
  • Ability to become light or heavy
  • Ability to fulfil desires etc.

ADVANTAGES OF YOGA

Yoga is very deep and its understanding cannot be expressed in words. However, there are many advantages of performing yoga:

  1. Yoga helps to enhance the circulation of blood and nutrients to circulate to all parts of the body.
  2. Yoga can be done anywhere, anytime and doesn’t need any equipment.
  3. Yoga brings out the inner strength in your body and helps you to have a stronger body. It also aids in lifting your own body.
  4. Yoga improves your body posture making it healthy.
  5. Yoga improves the concentration of individuals.
  6. Brings up a healthy weight.
  7. Yoga prevents the risk of heart diseases because it help to reduce blood pressure, pulse rate, cholesterol and maintains a healthy weight too.
  8. There is a state of balance in the body and mind when practicing yoga.
  9. Yoga delays premature ageing because it is also a technique to detox your body.
  10. It is an effective treatment for depression and studies have shown that it acts as an anti-depressant and reduce stress.
  11. Yoga improves your body flexibility.
  12. Yoga helps you to sleep better without any disturbance.
  13. Yoga increases immunity because it is a type of healing that helps every cell in the body to be immune.
  14. It helps to improve the mood and helps to get rid of laziness, anxiety and dullness.
  15. It helps in the better functioning of the lungs through breathing exercises which is very much necessary for the existence of life.

RELEVANT LINKS:https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/opinion/you/mirrorlights-experts-say-yoga-can-improve-respiratory-health-and-immunity-post-covid/articleshow/83788419.cms https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286745#risks-and-side-effects

Importance of Mental Health

Mental health refers to your emotional and psychological well-being. Having good mental means you are leading a good lifestyle. It helps us to realize the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Mental health should be taken care of us in almost every part of our life. If you think your mental health is affected then visit a psychologist. Visiting a psychologist doesn’t mean you are insane. Just checking things in your early stage will help you more and you can lead a peaceful life.

The main cause of mental health is Depression. There are many reasons for depression. In India, people think that sharing their depression problem with others will lead to a big risk. They fear getting judged by people. So, they never open up to others. It will gradually take a toll on your mental health and will become a big disorder in your life. 

Some people get panic attacks when they read some terrific news or students may get panic attacks before their exams. This can be cured at early stages. But, consulting a psychologist is more important. If you are a working professional and your office provides a separate psychiatrist to treat your problems. Feel free to knock on their cabin. They will treat you like “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. They will listen to your problems patiently and will never jump to conclusions. 

If you are a student and your school/ college has a counseling room. Approach them if you are getting depressed. They will share some life stories with you. It will motivate you to overcome the struggles or problems being faced by you. 

Especially in these covid times, everybody’s mental health is getting affected because of lockdown and quarantine themselves in their homes. In those cases not listening to unwanted news itself will reduce all your stress and depression. Doing breathing exercises are good for mental health and to have a calm peace of mind. Doing breathing exercises once in the morning and evening will reduce your stress level and you will get a good amount of energy to kickstart your day. 

We should raise awareness about mental health and let people know about its impacts. So that we can save many lives. Always trust your instincts. You can take advice from others but having a piece of good advice from your heart will be a good cure for your mental health.

Don’t be ashamed or disheartened to share your depression or anxiety problems with others. Share your problems with the person only if you trust them. It is good to share your problems with strangers too. If you get a chance and the stranger is willing to hear from you give a chance and open up.  

This mental health and depression if not treated for a long time can cause heart problems. If you feel sudden palpitations without even walking or running. Then kindly consult a doctor. There may be many reasons. But the common reasons are anxiety and depression. So treat them soon with a good specialist. 

Malnutrition

A good level of nutrition is important to consistently keep our body healthy and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Combined with good physical activity and right amount of nutrients, it gives rise to a strong immune system, a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Malnutrition is a condition that develops due inadequate consumption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are necessary to maintain a proper functioning of the organs”. Though this condition is present worldwide, it is mainly noticed in developing countries which have high poverty rate, low financial aid and poor sanitation facilities. Malnutrition and undernutrition are two words that are often used interchangeably but they are not actually synonyms. Undernutrition is in fact a part of malnutrition. Undernutrition is often due to lack of availability of nutrient-rich food and overweight and obesity which is mainly due to large consumption of processed foods leads overnutrition condition. Malnutrition however consists of both undernutrition and overnutrition. There are around 1.9 billion adults worldwide who are overweight, while 462 million are underweight. As per the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) almost 14.5% of the Indian population is malnourished. Deficiency of every nutrient creates specific health issues. Malnutrition can lead to:

  • Short term and long term diseases
  • Injury or damage recoveries at a slow rate
  • Difficulty in focussing
  • Higher risk to infections
  • Muscular weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak immune system

WHAT CAUSES MALNUTRITION?

There can be many reasons depending upon the type of malnutrition

  1. Low consumption of food- Some people are malnourished due to the low intake of food which might be related to their economic position which implies lower nutrients absorbed by the body.
  2. Mental health-Malnutrition can occur with people having issues related to mental health such as depression, schizophrenia and amnesia etc.
  3. Consumption of alcohol- Heavy consumption of alcohol can lead to gastritis which makes it difficult to absorb nutrients and digest food. Thus intake of unhealthy foods can lead a person malnourished.
  4. Low income- Not all families are financially well off to supply their members with a whole meal rich in nutrients nor afford to buy fruits, vegetables, meat and milk etc. Poverty is also another reason for malnourishment as they might not get food every time.
  5. Diseases- Chronic ailments are also a cause for malnutrition.
  6. Food habits- Food habits play a major role in healthy lifestyle of an individual. Consumption of processed food spoils health as it is not freshly cooked.

SYMPTOMS OF MALNUTRITION

  • Depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loss of fat
  • Difficulty to focus/concentrate
  • Longer healing time for injuries
  • Loss of fat or muscle mass
  • Constant sickness/ illness
  • Tender bones
  • Skin which is pale and dry
  • Anemia
  • Brittle nails
  • Joint ache
  • Bleeding gums
  • Sparse hair
  • Either skinny or bloated
  • Gastrointestinal problems

Malnutrition can be prevented if a person eats a balanced diet, engages in physical workout regularly, avoids processed and preserved foods and consume food low in carbs and fat. Malnutrition can make an enormous impact in the economy of a country especially when it is developing, the impacts are of course negative. It will seriously affect the productivity and mortality rates of a nation thereby generating inefficient human resource capital in the future.

RELEVANT LINKS:https://vikaspedia.in/health/nutrition/malnutrition/malnutrition-causes-and-types https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/malnutrition

4 Benefits of a Vegan Diet That Can Prolong Your Life.

The food which is only obtain from plants and is nutritious is known as a vegan diet as it excludes all the non-vegetarian items, all kinds of dairy products and eggs. It is a diet which improves the health of an individual and by increasing the life expectancy of them. When a proper vegan diet is followed it gives a good impact on health and reduce the risk to get in touch with diseases, improving the lifestyle.
The disease you may reduce the chance of getting to are like diabetes, many forms of cancer, most importantly the health of your heart, skin problems, weight loss and many more.
A vegan diet includes all kinds of fruits, vegetables, pulses which are rich in proteins, legumes, salad. All this comes from plants which is natural and easy to digest and proper mechanism is followed by the body to use them well in improving the lifestyle of the person.

4 BENEFITS OF VEGANISM


Healthy Heart: By the intake of proper amount of vegan diet the level of triglycerides and cholesterol levels remain in control, and good cholesterol is increased which reduces the chances of getting a heart attack.
People following the vegan diet lowers the risk of heart diseases up to 42%, as observed in many studies.

Photo by Yelena Odintsova on Pexels.com

Calorie Burnt: The breakdown of Glucose into energy takes place in more amount by which the body get more energy to do work and remain active throughout the day. More calorie is burnt by which fat accumulation is reduced.

Prevents diabetes: Vegan diet is nutritious in ample diet which controls the glucose level in blood and lowers the risk of having type 2 diabetes. Insulin sensitivity is increased of such people and chances of developing diabetes is reduced up to 48-75%

Maintain body weight: Props weight is maintain by the body, chances of getting fat accumulated in the body is lesser. Helps in weight loss, less chance of being obese. An individual can lose 4.0 kg more than a control diet, by following a vegan diet in 4 months, as seen in studies.

Less Prone to Cancer: A person can stay away from many forms of cancer like that of Colorectal cancer, GI tract Cancer, Uterus cancer in women’s etc. Out of these, the cancer of GI Tract is most common as it includes the cancer of stomach and intestines, which may lead to death if not treated on time. A vegan diet improves the function of the organs which helps to lower the risk of getting cancer.

There are many benefits of a Vegan diet not only this it also helps to stay away from skin problems, improves blood circulation, sleeping patterns improves etc. Mainly a vegan diet helps the body to reduce the risk of getting autoimmune disorders, Arthritis is a condition in which a person bears pain in its joints, and its very painful, a vegan diet helps in reducing this pain.

If one wants to take care of his body and to increase the life expectancy one must follow a vegan diet instead of having a strict diet. As Vegan diet is rich in nutrients as it includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, salad, pulses etc., which have large amount of minerals, nutrients that are essential for the smooth function of the body.

A vegan diet is hard to follow in the beginning but once it is adapted by the body, it becomes easier for the individual to change their lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle. The body’s immune system becomes strong and fights against the disease well and lessens the chance of getting attack by any kind of infection or disease that is harmful for the body.

‘The Sleep’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Have you ever appreciated your ability to sleep? Now, you will wonder if being able to sleep is something to be praised. Yes, give yourself an applause for you have been given the best gift ever and you will have to cherish this gift. The poem ‘The Sleep’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning brings out the importance of sleep and why it is to be cherished.

Of everything we have known about God from psalms and hymns, the poet asks if there is any gift which surpasses His gift – the sleep. As humans, what can we give to our loved ones? We can give the hero’s courage and determined heart to confront all the troubles; we can give them a poet’s lyrical verse to move them to ecstasy; we can give them a patriot’s voice to guide them through hurdles and motivate them; we can give them a ruler’s consolation to ease their burdens. But of everything we can give them, there is nothing that will surpass God’s gift to His beloved – the Sleep. 

“He giveth His beloved, sleep”

Sometimes we give our beloved words of consolation and sometimes we add to their difficulties, making their whole world burdened. But God’s gift – Sleep – puts an end to all such sufferings. No matter what words of consolation we say, we can’t solve the problems of our beloved. When things get hard and we have no words of consolation, all we can say to our beloved is to sleep.

“ ‘Sleep soft, beloved!’ we sometimes say,”

We say so, hoping that no bitter memories of hardships shall disturb their ‘happy slumber’. When we sleep, we forget our bad experiences and experience eternal peace. So, this peace gives us hope and when we wake up the next morning, we are prepared for the day. Now is there any gift which surpasses sleep?

Our earth is full of dreary noises and wailing voices of despair. We chase after money, wealth and other material prospects which might leave us anytime. So, God silences these wailings by putting everyone to sleep. God has created this earth and all natural elements and we humans sow and reap. Thus, Sleep is more delicate than the dew drops and clouds. It makes us feel as if we are on a delightful journey and makes us feel lighter.

We go on living, thinking, and feeling without even realizing what keeps us going everyday. It is the sleep which keeps us going everyday. When we sleep, we forget the hardships of today, and hope for a better tomorrow.

“Aye, men may wonder while they scan  

A living, thinking, feeling man  

Confirmed in such a rest to keep;”

Our world is a stage and we are like a tired child watching the performance of the mummers on the stage. So when our eyelids droop, we rest like a child on God’s lap. So, no matter how exhausted we are, it is the sleep which rejuvenates us at the end of the day.

The last stanza ends with the poet asking her friends not to mourn or weep when she dies, for she is just going to an eternal sleep and a state of peace after all. 

“Let One, most loving of you all,  

Say, ‘Not a tear must o’er her fall;  

He giveth His beloved, sleep.’“

The poem makes us understand how blessed we are to be able to sleep. We should no longer take our sleep for granted. Sleep improves both our mental and physical health. So, sleeping is the best thing ever. Finally, think if there is a greater gift than sleep.

“He giveth His beloved, sleep.”

Read the poem at https://poets.org/poem/sleep

Sleeping Pills

Which sleeping pill is right for me?

Woman awake in bed wondering which is the best sleeping pill to take
A person can take a sleeping pill as a short-term solution if lifestyle adjustments have not worked.

Many people may not need sleeping pills.

By practicing good sleep hygiene, exercising, and avoiding alcohol and nicotine, an individual can often improve their sleep cycle and prevent insomnia.

Insomnia involves having trouble falling or staying asleep. People with insomnia may wake up too early or not feel refreshed upon waking.

If lifestyle adjustments do not work, for example when insomnia is severe, a sleeping pill may be a good short-term solution.

Avoid the long-term use of sleeping pills, because it can make insomnia worse, especially if a person stops taking the pills.

The range of sleeping pills includes supplements and over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs. Anyone with ongoing insomnia should consult their doctor about the best approach.

The following are some of the most effective sleeping pills.

Melatonin

When it gets dark outside, the brain produces a hormone called melatonin. This regulates the sleep-wake cycle by telling the body that it is almost time for bed.

The brain makes less melatonin when it is light out and more when it is dark, such as during the winter. Age also plays a role — the older a person gets, the less melatonin they produce.

Many sleeping aids contain melatonin. They tend to be most effective for people with circadian rhythm sleep disorders, which are problems with the timing of sleeping or waking up.

Melatonin can be especially helpful for people:

  • experiencing jet lag
  • having trouble falling asleep at night
  • coping with shift work

In recent years, manufacturers have marketed snacks and drinks that contain melatonin as “relaxation” products. Doctors do not know, however, if they are effective.

Melatonin supplements are available without a prescription from drug stores, supermarkets, and online shops. The pills tend to come in doses of 1–5 milligrams (mg), and a person should take them at bedtime.

Limited evidence suggests that melatonin can treat insomnia. However, though some findings have been mixed, most research indicates that it can reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, including a 2017 meta-analysis published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews.

Sedating antihistamines

Sedating antihistamines can help people who have trouble falling or staying asleep.

Some OTC antihistamines, which people usually use to treat allergies, can cause drowsiness.

Though not all antihistamines have this effect, people sometimes use first-generation antihistamines, or sedating antihistamines, to promote sleep or relieve tension and anxiety.

The following are sedating antihistamines:

  • diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl
  • doxylamine, the active ingredient in Unisom
  • cyclizine, the active ingredient in Marezine

Second-generation antihistamines are less likely to cause drowsiness. People use them to treat long-term allergy symptoms, and they are not effective as sleeping aids.

The following are nonsedating antihistamines:

  • cetirizine, the active ingredient in Zyrtec
  • loratadine, the active ingredient in Claritin
  • fexofenadine, the active ingredient in Allegra

A doctor may recommend a sedating antihistamine, but only as a short-term solution. Though they are not addictive, the body gets used to them quickly, so they become less effective over time.

Valerian root

Valerian root is common in herbal supplements and can improve sleep quality.

Valerian is a plant. People have used the medicinal properties in the root since the times of ancient Greece and Rome.

Valerian root is a common ingredient in herbal supplements that people use to improve sleep, relieve anxiety, and support relaxation.

The supplements come in many forms, such as teas, liquids, and capsules.

Several clinical studies show that taking valerian can improve impressions of sleep quality in people with insomnia. However, not enough evidence is available to confirm whether valerian root is an effective sleep aid.

Valerian root-based sleep aids are available in drug stores, health food stores, and online shops.

Hypnotics

Hypnotics are a group of sleeping medications only available by prescription.

A doctor may prescribe hypnotics to treat a number of sleep disorders, including insomnia. These medicines can also treat movement disorders that interrupt sleep, such as restless legs syndrome (RLS) and periodic limb movement disorder.

The most common hypnotic sleeping pills are:

  • zolpidem
  • zaleplon
  • eszopiclone
  • ramelteon

Doctors tend only to prescribe hypnotics for insomnia that is long-lasting and bothersome because the drugs can have side effects.

Another class of sedative-hypnotics, called benzodiazepines, can also treat insomnia. These medications include:

  • alprazolam
  • diazepam
  • lorazepam

Before prescribing a benzodiazepine, the doctor will usually first recommend a hypnotic. This is due to concerns about benzodiazepine dependence and its more severe side effects.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

When to use sleeping pills

Always follow the instructions for OTC sleeping aids, including valerian products and antihistamines containing diphenhydramine or doxylamine.

The best time to take melatonin will depend on the nature of the sleep problem.

Sleeping pills for insomnia

A person with insomnia should take a sleeping aid just before or at bedtime.

Sleeping pills for jet lag

If tackling jet lag, take melatonin several hours before the intended bedtime every day throughout the trip and for a few days afterward. Doses of 0.5–5 mg tend to be sufficient.

Sleeping pills for shift work

For people with shift work, taking 2–3 mg of melatonin at the end of a shift can help prepare the body for bed.

Prescription sleeping pills

The right dosage and frequency will depend very much on a person’s condition and the type of medication.

Always follow the doctor’s instructions carefully.

Side effects and risks

Woman drowsy at work due to taking sleeping pills
People can feel tired and drowsy the day after taking sleeping pills.

Sedating medications, including antihistamines and hypnotics, can leave people feeling tired, drowsy, or groggy during the following day.

In older adults, using these pills can cause memory problems.

Some sleeping aids, when a person takes them to relieve insomnia, can make it more difficult to fall asleep without them.

No evidence suggests that using melatonin comes with serious risks. Researchers have yet to explore the long-term effects.

Do not take any sleeping aid before driving or operating machinery.

For many people, the risks of using prescription hypnotics outweigh the benefits. These medications are only suitable for short-term use. Most are habit-forming, meaning that they can be addictive, and they can also cause side effects.

Some side effects of prescription sleeping pills include:

  • drowsiness or dizziness during the day
  • confusion
  • problems with memory
  • balance problems

In rare cases, they can cause people to perform actions, including driving, walking, eating, or making phone calls, while asleep.

Sleeping pills may also interfere with:

The safety profile of valerian root is still unclear. Possible side effects may include headaches, dizziness, itchiness, and stomach problems. Some people feel groggy or drowsy in the morning after taking valerian root.

Also, people who have taken valerian root for extended periods then stopped suddenly may experience withdrawal symptoms. People who stop taking benzodiazepines after long periods may experience similar symptoms.

Because the medical community is still unsure of the effects, women who are pregnant and children under 3 years of age should not use valerian.

A little note about YOGA

What Is Yoga? | Serenity Yoga Retreats | Workshops | Classes

Philosophy

To convey its spiritual message and guide sessions, yoga often uses the imagery of a tree with roots, a trunk, branches, blossoms, and fruits. Each “branch” of yoga represents a different focus and set of characteristics.

The six branches are:

  • Hatha yoga: This is the physical and mental branch designed to prime the body and mind.
  • Raja yoga: This branch involves meditation and strict adherence to a series of disciplinary steps known as the “eight limbs” of yoga.
  • Karma yoga: This is a path of service that aims to create a future free from negativity and selfishness.
  • Bhakti yoga: This aims to establish the path of devotion, a positive way to channel emotions and cultivate acceptance and tolerance.
  • Jnana yoga: This branch of yoga is about wisdom, the path of the scholar, and developing the intellect through study.
  • Tantra yoga: This is the pathway of ritual, ceremony, or consummation of a relationship.

Approaching yoga with a specific goal in mind can help a person decide which branch to follow.

Chakras

The word “chakra” literally means spinning wheel.

Yoga maintains that chakras are center points of energy, thoughts, feelings, and the physical body. According to yogic teachers, chakras determine the way people experience reality through emotional reactions, desires or aversions, levels of confidence or fear, and even physical symptoms and effects.

When energy becomes blocked in a chakra, it is said to trigger physical, mental, or emotional imbalances that manifest in symptoms, such as anxiety, lethargy, or poor digestion.

Asanas are the many physical positions in Hatha yoga. People who practice yoga use asanas to free energy and stimulate an imbalanced chakra.

There are seven major chakras, each with their own focus:

  • Sahasrara: The “thousand-petaled” or “crown” chakra represents the state of pure consciousness. This chakra is located at the crown of the head, and the color white or violet represents it. Sahasrara involves matters of inner wisdom and physical death.
  • Ajna: The “command” or “third-eye chakra” is a meeting point between two important energetic streams in the body. Ajna corresponds to the colors violet, indigo, or deep blue, though traditional yoga practitioners describe it as white. The ajna chakra relates to the pituitary gland, which drives growth and development.
  • Vishuddha: The color red or blue represents the “especially pure” or “throat” chakra. Practitioners consider this chakra to be the home of speech, hearing, and metabolism.
  • Anahata: The “unstruck” or “heart” chakra relates to the colors green and pink. Key issues involving anahata include complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, equilibrium, rejection, and wellbeing.
  • Manipura: Yellow represents the “jewel city” or “navel” chakra. Practitioners connect this chakra with the digestive system, as well as personal power, fear, anxiety, developing opinions, and tendencies towards an introverted personality.
  • Svadhishthana: Practitioners claim that the “one’s own base” or “pelvic” chakra is the home of the reproductive organs, the genitourinary system, and the adrenal gland.
  • Muladhara: The “root support” or “root chakra” is at the base of the spine in the coccygeal region. It is said to contain our natural urges relating to food, sleep, sex, and survival, as well as the source of avoidance and fear.

Types

Modern yoga
Modern yoga has a range of styles to suit everyone, whatever the desired outcome.

Modern yoga has evolved with a focus on exercise, strength, flexibility, and breathing. It can help boost physical and mental well-being.

There are many styles of yoga, and no style is more authentic or superior to another. The key is to choose a class appropriate for your fitness level.

Types and styles of yoga may include:

Ashtanga yoga: This type of yoga uses ancient yoga teachings. However, it became popular during the 1970s. Ashtanga applies six established sequences of postures that rapidly link every movement to breath.

Bikram yoga: Also known as “hot” yoga, Bikram occurs in artificially heated rooms at temperatures of nearly 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. It consists of 26 poses and a sequence of two breathing exercises.

Hatha yoga: This is a generic term for any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. “Hatha” classes usually serve as a gentle introduction to the basic yoga postures.

Iyengar yoga: This type focuses on finding the correct alignment in each pose using a range of props, such as blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and bolsters.

Jivamukti yoga: Jivamukti means “liberation while living.” This type emerged in 1984 and incorporates spiritual teachings and practices that focus on the fast-paced flow between poses rather than the poses themselves.

This focus is called vinyasa. Each class has a theme, which is explored through yoga scripture, chanting, meditation, asana, pranayama, and music. Jivamukti yoga can be physically intense.

Kripalu yoga: This type teaches practitioners to know, accept, and learn from the body. A student of Kripalu learns to find their own level of practice by looking inward. The classes usually begin with breathing exercises and gentle stretches, followed by a series of individual poses and final relaxation.

Kundalini yoga: Kundalini means “coiled, like a snake.” Kundalini yoga is a system of meditation that aims to release pent-up energy.

A class typically begins with chanting and ends with singing. In between, it features asana, pranayama, and meditation customized to create a specific outcome.

Power yoga: In the late 1980s, practitioners developed this active and athletic type of yoga, based on the traditional ashtanga system.

Sivananda: This is a system based on a five-point philosophy. This philosophy maintains that proper breathing, relaxation, diet, exercise, and positive thinking work together to form a healthy yogic lifestyle. Typically uses the same 12 basic asanas, bookended by sun salutations and savasana poses.

Viniyoga: Viniyoga can adapt to any person, regardless of physical ability. Viniyoga teachers require in-depth training and tend to be experts on anatomy and yoga therapy.

Yin: This is a quiet, meditative yoga practice, also called taoist yoga. Yin yoga allows the release of tension in key joints, including:

  • the ankles
  • knees
  • · hips
  • the whole back
  • neck
  • shoulders

Yin poses are passive, meaning that gravity shoulders most of the force and effort.

Prenatal yoga: Prenatal yoga uses postures that practitioners have designed for people who are pregnant. It can support people in getting back into shape after pregnancy as well as supporting health iduring pregnancy.

Restorative yoga: This is a relaxing method of yoga. A person spends a restorative yoga class in four or five simple poses, using props like blankets and bolsters to sink into deep relaxation without exerting any effort in holding the pose.

Risks and side effects

Yoga is low-impact and safe for people when a well-trained instructor is guiding the practice.

Injury due to yoga is an infrequent barrier to continued practice, and severe injury due to yoga is rare. However, consider a few factors before starting.

Anyone who is pregnant or who has an on-going medical condition, such as high blood pressureglaucoma, or sciatica, should talk to their healthcare practitioner before practicing yoga. They may need to alter or avoid some yoga poses.

Beginners should avoid extreme poses and difficult techniques, such as headstand, lotus position, and forceful breathing.

When using yoga to manage a condition, do not replace conventional medical care with yoga or postpone seeing a healthcare provider about pain or any other medical problem.

Takeaway

Yoga is a five-millennia-old practice that has changed over time. Modern yoga focuses on stretches and poses designed to stimulate inner peace and physical energy.

Ancient yoga was less about fitness and more about mental focus and expanding spiritual energy. The Yoga Sutra, now considered to be the definitive guidebook to practicing yoga, came into the practice 2000 years ago.

There are many different types of yoga depending on what people want from it and a person’s current level of physical fitness. However, some people choose to replace conventional treatment for conditions with yoga and this can prevent a person from receiving the necessary care.

People with certain conditions, such as sciatica, should approach yoga slowly and with caution.

Yoga can help support a balanced, active lifestyle.

Food and Nutrition – To Lead a Healthy Life

The good management of food intake and nutrition are both key to good health. Smart nutrition and food choices can help prevent diseases.  Understanding good nutrition and paying attention can help you maintain or improve your health.

What Is Good Nutrition?

Food and nutrition are the way that we get fuel, providing energy to our bodies. We need to replace nutrients in our bodies with a new supply everyday. Water is an important component of nutrition. Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are all required. Maintaining key vitamins and minerals are also important to maintaining the good health. For pregnant women and people over 50, vitamins such as vitamin D and minerals such as calcium and iron are important to consider when choosing the foods to eat, as well as dietary supplements.

A healthy diet includes a lot of natural foods. A sizeable portion of a healthy diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, especially ones that are red, orange, or dark green in color. Whole grains, such as whole wheat and brown rice, should also plays a part in your diet. For adults, the dairy products should be non-fat or low-fat. Protein can consist of a lean meat and poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, legumes, and soy products such as tofu, as well as unsalted seeds and nuts.

Good nutrition also involves avoiding the certain kinds of foods. Sodium is used heavily in processed foods and is dangerous for people with high blood pressure. The USDA advises adults to consume less than 300 milligrams (mg) per day of cholesterol (found in meat and full-fat dairy products among others). Fried food, solid fats, and trans fats found in margarine and processed foods can be harmful to heart health. Refined grains (white flour, white rice) and refined sugar (table sugar, high fructose corn syrup) are also bad for long-term health, especially for people with diabetes. Alcohol can be dangerous to health in amounts more than one serving per day for a woman and two per day for a man.

There are many high-quality, free guidelines available for healthy eating plans that give more details on portion size, total calorie consumption, what to eat more of, and what to eat less of to get healthy and stay that way.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Even if you are getting enough to eat, if you are not eating a balanced diet, you may still be at risk for certain nutritional deficiencies. Also, you may have nutritional deficiencies due to certain health or life conditions, such as pregnancy, or certain medications you may be taking, such as high blood pressure medications. People who have had intestinal diseases or had sections of intestines removed due to disease or weight loss surgery also may be at risk for vitamin deficiencies. Alcoholics are also at high risk of having nutritional deficiencies.

One of the most common nutritional deficiencies is iron deficiency anemia. Your blood cells need iron in order to supply your body with oxygen, and if you don’t have enough iron, your blood will not function properly. Other nutritional deficiencies that can affect your blood cells include low levels of vitamin B12, folate, or vitamin C.

Vitamin D deficiency may affect the health of your bones, making it difficult for you to absorb and use calcium (another mineral that you may not be getting enough of). Although you can get vitamin D by going out in the sun, many people with concerns about skin cancer may end up with low levels of vitamin D by not getting enough sun.

Other nutritional deficiencies include:

  • beriberi: low levels of vitamin B1 (found in cereal husks)
  • ariboflavinosis: low levels of vitamin B2
  • pellagra: low levels of vitamin B3
  • paraesthesia: low levels of vitamin B5 leading to a “pins and needles” feeling
  • biotin deficiency: low levels of vitamin B7, which can be common in pregnancy
  • hypocobalaminemia: low levels of B12
  • night blindness: low levels of Vitamin A
  • scurvy: low levels of vitamin C
  • rickets: severe vitamin D and/or calcium deficiency
  • vitamin K deficiency
  • magnesium deficiency: occurs with certain medications and medical problems
  • potassium deficiency: occurs with certain medications and medical problems

Eating a balanced diet can help prevent these conditions. Vitamin supplements may be necessary for certain people, such as pregnant or nursing mothers and people with intestinal conditions.

Diseases and Conditions Influenced by Nutrition

Many health conditions are caused and/or affected by food and nutrition. Some are directly caused by food, such as “food poisoning” or bacterial infections from contaminated food. Some people can have severe allergies to foods like peanuts, shellfish, or wheat (celiac disease). Gastrointestinal ailments—such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD)—are also directly affected by the consumption of food.

For other diseases and conditions, the type or quantity of food can influence the progress of the disease. Diabetes mellitus, for example, which results in the inability of the body to regulate blood sugar, is drastically affected by the types and quantities of food eaten. Carbohydrate intake has to be carefully monitored if you suffer from diabetes, or blood sugar can rise to dangerous levels. Other conditions affected by food and nutrition include:

  • Hypertension: Salt intake affects blood pressure.
  • Heart disease/high cholesterol: Fatty foods and partial hydrogenated oils can create plaque in arteries.
  • Osteoporosis: Low calcium, low vitamin D and excess fat can result in fragile bones.
  • Certain cancers: A poor diet and obesity are associated with increased risk of breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, and kidney cancers.

Your food choices and nutritional status can influence your overall health over the entire course of your life.