dinacharya (part x) Vyayama – Exercise and its many benefits…by Sandeep Bekal July 26, 2012
All human beings in this world are provided only twenty four hours in a day but, some find time to do most things while others grumble to be too busy with no time for even the routine activities. It is often seen that those really busy can find time to do most things. A careful analysis into this issue reveals that, it’s only time management and prioritising the work that favours their ability to accomplish most tasks. Therefore without grumbling let us try to prioritise the activities that favors our health. Today we discuss about vyayama (exercise).
Vyayama for vitality
Exercises are indeed known to most of us and it is of common knowledge that exercises play a vital role in maintaining and improving the health of an individual. However some important issues such how exercises have to be done? In what proportion? Who should avoid it? What are the precautions to be taken while doing vyayama? Do the questions lead to any concrete answers? Ayurveda clearly states its views in this regard and herein it is my sincere effort to humbly place them before you.
Vyayama is defined as any activity that when indulged in, produces exhaustion to an individual. This is a very primary definition of vyayama. This clearly states that vyayama may not necessarily be in any specific form. It may be a brisk walk, a workout at the gym, a jog, practice of some martial art, practice of a dance form, aerobics and so on. However there are some precautions that one is expected to take while doing vyayama. They are as follows
- Exercises should be done on empty stomach and preferably in the morning as it is kaphakala. (6AM-10AM)
- Do not eat before during or immediately after exercise. As circulation to muscles is maximum during exercise and consuming food diverts it to the stomach which may not be in favour ones health.
- Drinking water or energy drinks while exercising is also forbidden. However if thirsty amount of water only sufficient to quench the thirst can be had.
- Exercises are to be practiced after anointing oil to the body. This prevents vata prakopa.
- Exercises should not be done in excess beyond ones needs and capacity.
- Rigorous exercises should not be started all of a sudden but always gradually slowly increasing the time.
- Avoid excessively vigorous and jerky movements affecting the joints and other vital points (marmas).
- Those indulging in regular exercise should consume nutritious food rich in starch and lipids.
- Most importantly exercise should always be in accordance with age, season and individual needs.
Benefits of vyayama
- Increases the strength and stability of the body there by brings about endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores
- Brings about lightness in the body.
- Doshas in the body get pacified, some diseases as well and digestive fire gets potentiated. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, and certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
- Regular exercise retards the process of ageing. According to a 2010 study from the University of California—San Francisco. The researchers found that stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and inactive.
- Very effective in regulating cholesterol and obesity. Being active favourably influences blood cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
- It gives good shape to the body and brings about alertness of mind and the body. Exercise is a powerful antidepressant. Study after study has shown that exercise promotes mental health and reduces symptoms of depression. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
Contraindications of Vyayama
- Not recommended in the diseases of Vata and pitta.
- In those who are too aged and those too young (Subject to physical conditions).
- Those suffering from indigestion.
- Those who have become very lean and lack stamina.
- One who is very hungry or thirsty.
- Whose routine work involves enough physical activity.
- At the time of active peak emotional distress.
Why wait anymore? Plan your vyayama today and I will be back with more information on vyayama and many other activities to boost your health in my next post.