It is a fact of modern life that most people do not exercise enough.
This, in addition to a diet that is heavy on sugar and fat-laden fast foods, has led to a tidal wave of overweight, a tidal wave that is becoming increasingly difficult to turn back.
The problem is that, for most people, it is all too easy and convenient not to take exercise.
If you need the basic everyday groceries – even if it is only a carton of milk or a loaf of bread – it is quicker and more convenient to hop in the car and drive to the store than walk.
If you have to get to the third or fourth floor when you go to the office, it is easier (although not always quicker) to take the elevator as opposed to the stairs.
Yet many people are willing to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year to be a member of a gymnasium or a fashionable fitness club in order to stay in shape.
That really does not make a great deal of sense, so this book is here to tell you that it does not have to be that way!
I am going to show you how to keep your money in your pocket and exercise the natural way.
Mankind managed to survive for thousands of years before anyone ever came up with the idea of ‘working out at the gym’.
Sure, the life expectancy of modern man has increased significantly over the past couple of hundred years, but I suspect that this has little to do with the proliferation of fancy fitness clubs and expensive gymnasia.
The good news is that exercise can be taken naturally every day. With a little thought, it is not difficult to think of lots of opportunities for taking exercise without resorting to spending your hard-earned cash on fitness club fees.
Let us start by looking at why exercise is so important in modern life.
Why is exercise important?
For most people, taking or indulging in exercise tends to be a reactive thing.
That is, there has to be something that happens in their life that forces them to re-assess what they are doing. Something happens that makes them realize that they need to exercise more as a way of changing things that are going wrong in their life.
For instance, many people come to a point in their life where they finally acknowledge what they have, in reality, known for a long time, that they are overweight or obese. Perhaps more importantly, having finally accepted that their weight truly does represent a problem, they actually make a conscious decision to do something about it. So, they go on a weight loss diet of some description and, for most people, taking exercise is part of the weight loss process.
The saddest part is that, if such overweight or obese people had regulated their calorie intake and taken regular exercise beforehand, they would never have got to be in the state that necessitates such drastic action.
Other people might decide to begin exercising in an effort to slow down the aging process, often at a point in their lives where they finally understand that the arrival of the grim reaper is a lot nearer than they previously imagined.
This is a good thing, but it is also a classic case of ‘better late than never’. The fact is that if people who take up exercise late in life had only done so twenty or thirty years earlier, their efforts to delay the inevitable would have been more effective.
There lies the point about exercise that many people ignore. Exercise should not be something that is done reactively, at a point where it has to be done in an attempt to reverse something that has already happened.
Exercise should be viewed as a proactive step that everyone can indulge in as one of the best preventative measures that they can take.
Increased physical activity will increase your heart rate as well as strengthening all of the muscles of your body. The heart is after all only a muscle and all muscles get stronger the more often they are worked.
This resultant increase in heart activity will automatically speed up the blood circulation throughout your body, which will, in turn, deliver increased oxygen and nutrients to all your organs.
Regular exercise helps to increase the capacity of your lungs to absorb and utilize oxygen.
Among all kinds of exercise, Yoga has a special place. It
is effective at reducing body fat, and lowers the levels of sugar and ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood.
Regular exercise helps to increase the capacity of your lungs to absorb and utilize oxygen,
Yoga has been practiced throughout the world for some 5000 years and is an active work-out that is essentially made up of a combination of postures and poses. Taken together, these will improve your body strength and flexibility while serving to decrease stress levels at the same time, by calming the ‘inner you’.
Although for the purposes of this book we are focusing on yoga as a form of exercise, yoga is, in fact, much more than that. It is a complete way of life, one that brings together man’s spirit, mind, and body in a unified system of beliefs and actions.
There are several types or branches of yoga, with the exercises that we are going to look at (known as ‘Asanas’) being part of the yogic branch called Hatha Yoga, which is especially popular in the West.
Yogic exercises are made up of many asanas, and they all have varying degrees of difficulty in physical terms. However, the physical degree of difficulty is only part of the story, because many yogic poses are focused less on the physical nature of the pose in question, and far more on the spiritual aspect.
For example, the pose or position that would appear to be the least demanding from a physical point of view is the ‘Shavasana’ or corpse pose. This needs the student to lie still on their back, hands by their side.
In physical terms, it could not be easier, but the point is that what is really being attempted is to make the whole body and mind totally still and relaxed. Without that total stillness, the ‘Shavasana’ is not actually complete, according to yogic thinking.
While keeping your body completely still may not be that difficult, doing the same with your mind is far harder, to the extent that many people would find it all but impossible. To attempt the ‘Shavasana’ is therefore extremely easy, but to achieve it properly is definitely not so.
At the other end of the scale of physical difficulty is the ‘vrischika-asana’ or scorpion pose, as illustrated hereunder.
Achieving this successfully is obviously difficult for anyone who is not extremely fit, strong and flexible, and this pose, therefore, demonstrates why yoga is such a great form of exercise.
Of course, this is an extremely demanding pose, one that you would probably not recommend to your Grandmother without a great deal of practice (if at all)! On the other hand, there are a great number of asanas and not all of them are as difficult as becoming a scorpion!
Even these easier poses are beneficial, and each one represents a tremendous way of increasing your body flexibility and suppleness through exercise.
For instance, the benefits of adopting the ‘Ardha-Chandra-asana’ (the ‘half-moon pose’) are principally felt in the lower back, chest, and abdomen.
While the ‘trikona-asana’ (the ‘triangle pose’) is great for stimulating blood flow throughout the body, especially to the head. It also assists your general physical condition by stretching and relaxing your shoulders, back, arms and legs, so the benefits are tremendous in comparison to the amount of effort and energy being expended.
Mountain works as a good remedy to self-healing and
The Bird of Paradise pose contributes to the strengthening of the leg muscles. It also improves the balance by ensuring the focus stays on the intended muscles and not dependant on any others. It also helps to improve balance while loosening the groins and hamstrings.
The Bridge pose takes a little getting used to but it works wonders for the spinal area. Besides the main aim of
strengthening the spine, it opens the chest and improves
spinal flexibility, and stimulates the thyroid.
The Cobra pose is another pose that focuses on the spinal area. It increases the flexibility of the spine and is great for
relieving back pains.
The Dolphin pose is similar to the Dog pose and is used to
enhance the blood flow and is particularly useful for those
with wrist problems commonly associated with pianist,
computer users and writers.
The Dragonfly pose or also known as the hummingbird
the pose is quite difficult and requires a lot of practice but once
achieved it contributes to strengthening the arms and the
ability to arm balance.
There are many more poses and it’s never-ending if one wants to explore further. However, in order to be effective, it is recommended that only a few poses should be picked and
used at any given time.