Sunday, March 25, 2007

Know your body - Do's and Dont's -2

வாஸ்து பற்றி அறிவோமா?
Before we get on to "do's and dont's", I wish to tell you that I am reading a book on yoga practice (yogaabhyasam) written in 1938 by "Srimaan" Sundaram, a yoga therapist (yeh.. its my own translation..heehee..) cum doctor who had a yoga ashram even during pre-independence period. I am very much amazed at the knowledge and experience he had about the physiology of human beings and the possible diseases.

well...Lets continue with do's and don'ts.

Bath : Its okay to take bath before or after yoga practise. In cold countries, its okay to take bath in luke warm water and in countries like india, taking bath after yoga is better as stout and weak people tend to sweat after doing asanas.

Who shouldn't do yoga?? : People when suffering from fever, headache or any severe ailments, women during menstrual period are not supposed to practise yoga. People with weak heart and blood related problems have to consult a doctor before doing yoga to know which asanas can be allowed.

Prayer: Praying your favourite God before doing yoga is a good practice to focus your mind. Though asana practice ARE supposed to help us focus, trying voluntarily to focus our mind before yoga practice helps to maximum the benefits in a shorter span.

Food: Reducing the intake of chillies and tamarind gradually is important. Also, too much of seasoning, frying and heavy usage of asafoetida (perungaayam/ hing) should be avoided. We shall definitely discuss about food extensiviely in future.

Yoga and exercise - together ? : In general, people do exercises to get a toned muscular physique - broad chest and shoulders with 6 pac abs. etc. so that they can look and feel good. When such people get diseases, they can easily lose their physique that they gained out of exercise. It is necessary to have a strong, healthy foundation for internal body, organs and senses so that the muscles that are built through exercises over them can withstand even during times of illness. Basically, yoga practice increases the strength and activity of inner senses, inner organs, ductless glands and sexual organs, increases mental peace and longitivity of life.

So, people would want to do both exercise and yoga. People can do yoga in the morning and exercises during evening or vice-versa. Also, they can even do them on alternate days.
But, we should know that there should be a gap of atleast one hour between yoga and exercises/ atheletic workout. The reason is this: During or after yoga practice, blood sakthi is pulled to brain, organs and inner senses. When we do exercises related to external body, these worked-out inner organs/senses (by yoga) will not gain enough blood and lead to innumerable diseases.

Even the other way is bad. After running or weight training, doing yoga causes problems.
Story from yoga therapist Srimaan Sundaram:
A young man after his enthusiastic, athletic practice used to show off his ability, to stand up-side down with ease for 20 minutes, to his friends every now and then. Over a period, he developed some sort of nodule like thing on his head and that rolled down. Also, he developed tremors, headache etc and so, he was brought to yoga ashram to get treated. His activities were observed and he was warned to stop his athletic works and he was asked to do 'sarvangasanam alone' for a while and thereby he was cured.

When you think you can just do either one - yoga or exercise, its better to prefer yoga to exercise for the following reasons:

1. We dont need any special equipment to do yoga unlike exercises. ( Here in U.S, there is a fast pace-yoga practice which is yoga cum pilates. I dont mean that. I mean the relaxed asana practice)
2. We dont need to eat extremely nutritious food to practice yoga unlike exercises. ( Playing tennis, squash or doing weight training requires nutritious food). Even layman could afford it.
3. Yoga works on parasympathetic nervous system and exercise on sympathetic nervous system. Yoga acts directly on heart and lungs unlike exercises.
4. Yoga is energising and exercise is fatiguing.
5. The saints in india, who just lived by begging alms, stayed healthy just by doing yoga asanas.

Yeh, people with even parkinsons disease, diabetes and thyoid problems can gain their health and happiness back and rejoice ( I choose this word because I experience it) by yoga practice. Previously, people practice yoga as like pooja at home, later some did it as tradition or shastra and now its a profitable buisness abroad to give people a hope to decrease their ailment- My own experience !!

You might say me (like ace said)... Priya, there are very few yoga teachers now and is it not important to have a guru while doing yoga!! I had this question as well. Yeh!! even the great yoga therapist cum doctor Sriman sundaram had raised this issue in his book. Even during 1930's, it is common that when you raise the word " yoga", people say " Yoga has to be learnt only from a good guru.. otherwise dont even think about trying out". His answer is this " Though its true (that you need guru) to an extent, few lazy people take this as a strong objection and spoil others. Sukshma pranayama, some special kriyas and bandham need to be learned under guru. But, the basic asanas that regulate your breathing pattern can be practised by following a clearly written book (w/o guru). Its not wise to wait till you get a chance to find a yoga teacher and have a big tummy with inummerous diseases and above alll, the ignorance. If we use our brains and do sensible things, there shouldn't be any danger" .. Guys, I will assume that you are just following these posts and assure you that I will try to gather from different, authentic sources and give the best idea about each asana. Also , please share with me the ideas and knowledge that you have on these topics.

To be continued..

Visit this when you have time:


prabukarthik said...

unga posts ellam kaalam kadandhu nikkum.. just for the wealth of information.. keep it up priya!

Priya said...

oh... thankoo thankoo..

ACE said...


reducing chillies?? Romba kashtam :)) namma saapatula, ellathulayume milakai irukku :))

//such people get diseases, they can easily lose their physique that they gained out of exercise //

I am not an expert in physiology or anatomy.. but, i am not sure of this. Losing ones physique when we get disease (i prefer the word illness), is fine. If the illness is prolonged for months together then this might happen. But even then, once u have worked out for longer periods say 3 years, it is not difficult to get it back after illness. Certainly there will be results for the hard work we put in. But i accept yoga is good and it is suited for ppl of every age whereas hard physical exercise are only for youth. (may be wrong.. but thats my opinion).

//parasympathetic nervous system and exercise on sympathetic nervous system//

Greek and latin to me :))

// Yoga is energising and exercise is fatiguing //

Hmm.. this is certainly new to me.. never viewed yoga in this way..

I have one more question regarding the internal organs stuff.. (More curiosity than doubt...:) )

When we do cardio excersise like jogging, it certainly helps our heart isnt.. similary won't other internal organs get excersised when we jog or swim??

Anyways, its a very good organised post. And the most fascinating part is a book written in 1938.. :))

Keep up the good work. I repeat what prabukarthik said in his comment.

ACE said...

Hello enna aalaye kaanom.. :(

Priya said...

sorry..somehow i forgot to comment..

yeh.. illness nu sollalaam.. better word dhaan..
but, i meant to say..evlodhaan exercise panni vecchaalum vara illnessaala external organs ellam weaka dhaan, interna; organsa aarogyamaa vechuka try pannalaame.

jogging swimming elaam definitely good dhaan.. but directa internal organsla work aagaadhu..

Hamsa said...


just a thought. It is better to wait for an hour atleast before we bath after yoga.(before too).

Yoga loosens the muscles while organised gym practises tighten them. this is why yoga and gym are practised at alternate slots. also, running is not a bad way to start your yoga practise. As all practises go, there is a procedure for starting up with yoga asanas: that is loosening your limbs and muscles which is started off with running/jogging for the first 5 minutes.

As for food practises, there must be a gap of atleast 4 hrs after a heavy meal, 2 hrs after a snack and 1 hr after beverages. and nothing for 1 hour after the practise.

As for a guru, for everything there needs to be a guru. If you cannot find time, you just need to make time to find one. Books are good guides but not instructors. They can never tell you what you are doing wrong.

-- all excerpts from my yoga class instructor at Chennai.



Priya said...

hey gayaathri..
nice to see u after a lllong u say its better to wait for 1 hr after yoga to bathe , eat etc..

but people like me when hearing all this will never even try to do and finally end up staying with pain. and as u say, i have heard the same from my chennai yoga instructor as well..

but u know this.. my back pain is almost gone in last 4 weeks..where do u think i can find a yoga instructor in el paso who does the real yoga (and not pilates type- i tried u.s yoga instructors but its just like temporary relief )

i am just following an awesome book and i am just translating many of the suggestions provided in that..

these posts are to help people who do not have access to yoga instructors and who do not have enough time in the morning dear!!

and thanks for sharing what u learned!!

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