Why you should practice Pranayama every day

Pranayama is a practice that dwells into giving energy to every cell of our body. It is a Sanskrit word which means ‘mastery of life force’ or quite literally, to draw out life force or the breath that sustains our body.

The practice of Pranayama may seem simple, but includes regular training. According to yogic science, the aim of Pranayama is to participate all that guides life force. Pranayama typically includes the practice of correct breathing. Since Pranayama requires you to breathe right, it involves all body parts. This means that fresh oxygen reaches every organ of your body.

Regular practice of Pranayam has the following benefits:

1. Pranyama is known to purify as many as 80,000 nerves in the body. Since it balances out the energy flow of the body, Pranayama is known to affect our overall well-being. There are many health as well medical practitioners that recommend the practice of Pranayama daily. It is said that this consistent practice brings with it a steady mind and a disease-free body.

2.Many have dismissed yoga for ‘just another meditation practice’; however, Pranayama is a practice that can help you achieve physical fitness. Since, oxygen is reaching all your organs, Pranayama balances digestive system and gives a natural glow to your skin. Pranayama is known to increase vitality of a person.

3. Pranayama also builds mental health when it comes to concentration, memory and stress reduction. Our mind is a powerful tool that can guide what our entire day will look like. Pranayama helps bring serenity to our mental nerves as it increases oxygen supply in the body. This means that blood circulation increases and helps the mind to relieve stress.

4. Those suffering with high blood pressure problems, Pranayama is an ideal practice for them. Since blood pressure spikes at an increased speed in this condition, Pranayama helps bringing this sudden rush in control. Since Pranayama is a meditative state, it calms body and in turn releases hormones that relaxes the body completely. Along with blood pressure, severe issues like diabetes and depression can also be helped with the regular practice of Pranayama.

5. Many studies have proven that Pranayama can increase life span of a person. This is because Pranayama helps a person to breathe systematically. The main problem with many of us is how we breathe. According to yogic philosophy, “our longevity depends on our breathing rate.”

6. Pranayama is great for those who want to lose weight. This is because Pranayama helps you in taking control of your body. When we start practicing Pranayama regularly, our craving for many foods decreases as it starts eliminating the imbalances in our body. When our body is in a tired, fatigued state, we tend to eat unhealthy foods. However, practicising Pranayama balances and increase our awareness towards the food that we consume.

How to do Pranayama:

1.Sit in a cross-legged position on your yoga matt/ folded sheet.

2.Close your right nostril with your thumb.

3.Inhale from your left nostril. Remember to keep your back straight, body relaxed and the left hand on your left knee.

4.Next, close your left nostril with your ring finger of your right hand, and then release breath from the right nostril.

5.Repeat the same for 15 minutes. Take a break every 5 minutes, if needed.

Know the history behind International Yoga Day

International Yoga Day, or commonly referred to as Yoga Day, is observed every year on June 21 since its inception in the year 2015. Yoga itself is a very old practice that is followed in India since time immemorial. Its origin can be traced back to Lord Shiva, who is also called the Adi Yogi (first guru) and is known as the teacher to all the yogis in the world. However, today, the need for a nation that practises yoga on a day-to-day basis was felt by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, himself.
The idea to observe June 21 as Yoga Day was first proposed by the Prime Minister during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2014. June 21 is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. He has stated:

“For us in India, respect for nature is an integral part of spiritualism. We treat nature’s bounties as sacred. Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change and in bettering our well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”

Historic Moment

The draft of the proposal was presented by India’s Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji in UNGA in December 2014. It was a historic moment for UNGA as the draft received a very healthy support from its member states, the maximum that had ever been witnessed in its history. Of the total 193 members of the UNGA, the proposal was approved by a consensus of 177 co-sponsoring countries. “Little did I know the kind of unprecedented response our proposal would receive,” Modi said during his speech at the very first International Yoga Day celebrations at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi.

Modi stated the reason for proposing 21 June for the date as the day being the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere (while being shortest in the southern hemisphere). The day is known as summer solstice and has special significance from the perspective of yoga. Summer solstice is known to mark a transition to Dakshinaya. This transition is considered supportive to yoga practitioners as Dakshinayana is considered as a period of natural support to spiritual practices. Post the summer solstice, the first full moon is known as Guru Poornima.

Besides this, it is also believed that Shiva started imparting the knowledge of yoga to the rest of humanity on this very day. It was the day when he became the Adi Guru (first guru) of yoga.

The adoption of this resolution by UN was supported by many yoga practitioners and several spiritual leaders in India. They included the founder of Isha foundation, Sadhguru, and the founder of Art of Living, Ravi Shankar, who appreciated and fully supported the move. Ravi Shankar said that yoga was almost an orphan before that and an official recognition by the United Nations of a dedicated day for Yoga can substantially help spread the benefits of yoga to the entire world.

The first International Yoga Day was celebrated all over the world on 21 June, 2015. The day was celebrated at Rajpath and the arrangements were made by Ministry of AYUSH. Narendra Modi and dignitaries from 84 nations participated in the celebrations and performed 21 yoga asanas.

India holds 2 world records on Yoga Day already

The celebration that happened at Rajpath has established two Guinness world records. The first one was for being the world’s largest yoga class as it featured 35,985 people and the second one was for having maximum number of participating nationalities, that is, 84.

During his speech at the celebrations of International Yoga Day in 2015, Modi stated, “From the Upanishads, comes the idea of Yoga to transform human consciousness through control of body and senses through constant practice. The body is the vehicle for the realization of the Supreme Being.”

Yoga’s aim is not only to heal body but to purify all three: Mind, body and soul. It facilitates a connection between ourselves and Mother Nature, taking us closer to our real selves. Emphasising on the problems that we suffer from in the modern era and how yoga can be a cure-all for them, he said, “The problems of modern lifestyles are well known. People suffer from stress related ailments, lifestyle related diseases like diabetes and hypertension. We have found ways to control communicable diseases, but the burden of disease is shifting to non-communicable diseases. Young people who are not at peace with themselves seek refuge in drugs and alcohol. There is ample evidence that practicing yoga helps combat stress and chronic conditions. If the body is a temple of the mind, yoga creates a beautiful temple.”

Weight Watchers eating plan: Get in shape for summer

For part one of the plan click here.

We have teamed up with Weight Watchers to help you get in shape for summer. Whatever it is you want to achieve – greater confidence, improved health or happiness, techniques for de-stressing and re-energising or fun ways to get moving – Weight Watchers can give you all the support you need and help you lose weight along the way.

Why we love it

l Weight Watchers’ unique and scientifically-proven SmartPoints system is tailored to your needs and gives you freedom to follow the programme your own way.

l No food is off limits. Say yes to the food you love at home, in a restaurant or on the go.

l Weight Watchers provides round-the-clock support from nutritionally trained coaches, members and advanced online tools, including the Weight Watchers app with barcode scanner.

l Losing weight is about more than what you eat, so tips on activity and wellbeing are also available.

l Weight Watchers works. You could lose up to seven-times more with a Weight Watchers plan than by dieting on your own.

Breakfast menu

How the plan works

Weight Watchers members get a personalised SmartPoints budget* to spend on any food – so stick to your budget and you’ll lose weight. Most fruits and vegetables have a SmartPoints value of zero. Filling up on these will make your budget go further and support healthy weight loss.

With mix-and-match meal ideas and snacks, you can create a menu based on a daily SmartPoints allowance of 30. Include ½ pint of skimmed milk (4 SmartPoints values) every day for good health and use it in tea, coffee, with cereal or as a drink. Fresh fruits and vegetables are planned in to help you get your five-a-day, but feel free to replace them with your favourite seasonal produce.

You are advised to drink plenty of fluids – between six and eight glasses a day. These can include coffee, tea, milk, low- or no-sugar squashes, diet drinks and water.

*For your personalised SmartPoints budget, join a meeting or become an online subscriber. The menus in this series of supplements are based on a typical daily allowance of 30 SmartPoints values. Your personalised budget also includes a weekly allowance to spend on bigger portions, treats or meals out.

Weight Watchers summer tips

l Success is not only about what you weigh, it’s about how you feel, how healthy you are, how much energy you have and much more. So it makes sense to set goals that don’t focus solely on the number on the scales. If you want to set a weight goal, make sure it is realistic – a healthy weekly weight-loss rate is between ½lb and 2lb.

l Be honest, be accurate and ditch the bad thoughts. There is nothing beneficial or helpful about feeling depressed if things haven’t quite gone to plan. Write down what you have eaten or keep track of it with the Weight Watchers App.

chicken and pesto pasta

Try chicken and pesto pasta for a tasty and healthy lunch

Breakfasts

All-day breakfast

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 6 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

SmartPoints per serving: 9

Calories per serving: 351

Preheat the grill to medium. Mist a large, nonstick frying pan with calorie-controlled cooking spray and cook 4 reduced-fat pork sausages for 15 minutes.

Put 300g (10½oz) of mushrooms and 150ml (5fl oz) of vegetable stock made with ½ a cube in a large pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Empty a 420g (14¾oz) tin of reduced-sugar-and-salt baked beans into a separate pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally.

Arrange 4 Weight Watchers Extra Trimmed unsmoked back bacon rashers on the grill rack with 4 halved tomatoes. Cook for 4-5 minutes, turning the rashers once, until crispy.

Remove the sausages and keep warm. Break 4 eggs into the pan and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Finish under the grill. Toast 4 slices of Weight Watchers White Danish bread and put 1 tsp of low-fat spread on each.

French berry overnight oats

Serves: 1

SmartPoints per serving: 6

Calories per serving: 287

Layer 35g (1¼oz) of oats, 200g (7oz) of 0% fat natural Greek yoghurt and 150g (5oz) of mixed berries in a jar or bowl. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, stir to combine the layers and top with 50g (1¾oz) of berries.

 

Weight Watchers eating plan: Shape up for summer

We have teamed up with Weight Watchers to help you lighten up this summer. Whatever you want to achieve, whether it is improved confidence, health or happiness, techniques for de-stressing and re-energising or fun ways to get moving, Weight Watchers can give you all the support you need – and help you lose weight at the same time.

Diet

Why we love it

l Weight Watchers’ unique and scientifically-proven SmartPoints system is tailored to your needs and gives you freedom to follow the programme your own way.

l No food is off limits. Say yes to the food you love at home, in a restaurant or on the go.

l Weight Watchers provides round-the-clock support from nutritionally trained coaches, members and advanced online tools, including the Weight Watchers app with barcode scanner.

l Losing weight is about more than what you eat, so tips on activity and wellbeing are also available.

l Weight Watchers works. You could lose up to seven-times more with a Weight Watchers plan than by dieting on your own.

How the plan works

Weight Watchers members get a personalised SmartPoints budget* to spend on any food – so stick to your budget and you’ll lose weight. Most fruits and vegetables have a SmartPoints value of zero. Filling up on these will make your budget go further and support healthy weight loss.

With mix-and-match meal ideas and snacks, you can create a menu based on a daily SmartPoints allowance of 30. Include ½ pint of skimmed milk (4 SmartPoints values) every day for good health and use it in tea, coffee, with cereal or as a drink.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are planned in to help you get your five-a-day, but feel free to replace them with your favourite seasonal produce. You are advised to drink plenty of fluids – between six and eight glasses a day. These can include coffee, tea, milk, low- or no-sugar squashes, diet drinks and water.

*For your personalised SmartPoints budget, join a meeting or become an online subscriber. The menus in this series of supplements are based on a typical daily allowance of 30 SmartPoints values. Your personalised budget also includes a weekly allowance to spend on bigger portions, treats or meals out.

Diet

Breakfasts

Ricotta & peach on toast

Serves: 1

SmartPoints per serving: 3

Calories per serving: 127

Toast a 22g (²/³oz) slice of calorie-controlled brown bread. Top with 40g (1½oz) ricotta and ½ peach, sliced. If you like, add 1 level tsp low-fat spread for 1 extra SmartPoint.

Avocado & bacon on toast

Serves: 1

SmartPoints per serving: 5

Calories per serving: 177

Toast a 22g (²/³oz) slice of calorie-controlled wholemeal bread. Top with ¼ mashed avocado and 2 grilled bacon medallions. Add 1 level tsp of low-fat spread for 1 extra SmartPoint.

Caramelised banana & blueberry porridge

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

SmartPoints per serving: 6

Calories per serving: 210

Mix 125g (4½oz) oats, 500ml (17fl oz) skimmed milk and 1 tsp agave nectar in a microwave-proof bowl and cook on full power for 2 minutes. Stir well, then cook for another 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a nonstick frying pan and mist with calorie-controlled cooking spray.

Sear 1 sliced banana over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes until caramelised. Drizzle on 1 tbsp honey and add 150g (5oz) berries. Shake the pan and let the mixture bubble for 1 minute. Serve the oats topped with the fruit mixture.

Homemade muesli

Serves: 10

Preparation time: 5 minutes

SmartPoints per serving: 6

Calories per serving: 174

In a large bowl, mix 200g (7oz) jumbo porridge oats, 75g (3oz) sultanas, 50g (2oz) flaked almonds, 40g (1½oz) wheatgerm, 30g (1¼oz) sunflower seeds and 25g (1oz) golden linseed. Serve 42g (1½oz) with 120ml (4¼fl oz) skimmed milk. Store the remainder in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Greek berry overnight oats

Serves: 1

SmartPoints per serving: 7

Calories per serving: 233

In a small jar, combine 35g (1¼oz) oats, 60ml (2fl oz) skimmed milk, 60g (2½oz)

0% fat natural Greek yoghurt, 1 tsp maple syrup or honey and 85g (3¹/8oz) raspberries. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Top with 15g (²/³oz) raspberries to serve.

Lunches

Mozzarella & tomato panzanella

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus resting

Cooking time: 8-10 minutes

SmartPoints per serving: 8

Calories per serving: 286

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Lightly mist 100g (3¾oz) sourdough bread, torn into chunks, with calorie-controlled cooking spray and put on a baking tray. Scatter over 1 tsp dried mixed herbs, season, then bake for 8-10 minutes until crisp and golden.

Combine 6 yellow cherry tomatoes, 6 baby plum tomatoes, 6 pomodorino tomatoes, all halved, and 6 vine tomatoes, roughly chopped, with ¼ cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and sliced. Stir in the bread and leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Whisk together 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tsp white wine vinegar,

2 tsps freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil and 1 garlic clove, crushed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Scatter on 75g (3oz) torn reduced-fat mozzarella and fresh basil leaves and drizzle with dressing to serve.

Diet

Beetroot “couscous” with roast squash & feta

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

SmartPoints per serving: 3

Calories per serving: 259

V, GF

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Cut 400g (14oz) butternut squash into bite-sized chunks and put in a roasting dish. Drizzle with ½ tbsp olive oil, season and stir to coat.

Roast for 35-40 mins or until tender and golden. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop 450g (1lb) raw beetroot. Blitz in a food processor until it resembles couscous. Mist a frying pan with calorie-controlled cooking spray and cook the beetroot for 4-5 mins, until just softened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix the cooled beetroot, roasted squash and some chopped fresh mint and dill. Season. Crumble over 75g (3oz) reduced-fat feta to serve.

Roasted red pepper & ham quiches

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

SmartPoints per serving: 7

Calories per serving: 248

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Flatten 3 split Warburtons Brown Sandwich Thins with a rolling pin, stamp out 6 circles with a pastry cutter and push into a muffin tray. Mist with cooking spray. Bake for 5 minutes. Mix 2 eggs, 4 tbsps skimmed milk, chopped fresh herbs, 20g (¾oz) chopped lean ham and 25g (1oz) diced roasted red peppers. Season, spoon into the Thins cups and bake for 10 mins. Serve with mixed salad.

Chicken & bacon open sandwich

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

SmartPoints per serving: 9

Calories per serving: 429

Preheat the grill to high. Mist 2 x 160g (5½oz) skinless chicken breasts with calorie-controlled cooking spray, then rub in 1 tsp paprika. Grill for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway, until the chicken is cooked through. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into thick slices.

Grill 4 Weight Watchers Unsmoked Extra Trimmed bacon rashers for 5 minutes, turning once, until crisp, and cut into long strips. Meanwhile, mix together 3 tbsps half-fat crème fraîche, 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard and 2 tsps lemon juice, then season. Toast 2 x 35g (1¼oz) slices of a Weight Watchers Thick Sliced Grained loaf and spread with the mustard mixture, reserving a little.

Top with baby gem lettuce leaves, sliced vine tomatoes, chicken and bacon. Sprinkle over 1 trimmed and sliced spring onion and serve seasoned and drizzled with the remaining dressing.

Snacks

l Weight Watchers yoghurt, (4½oz), any flavour

2 SmartPoints

l 1 bag Weight Watchers cheese & onion savoury snacks

2 SmartPoints

l Weight Watchers Rich

Toffee Bar

3 SmartPoints

l 2 squares of chocolate

4 SmartPoints

l 1 toasted crumpet topped

with 1 tsp yeast extract

4 SmartPoints

l Peaches tinned in natural juice, drained

0 SmartPoints

Weight Watchers summer tips

l For healthier barbecues, choose a couple of simple options for the grill, such as steak, lean hamburgers, chicken breasts or vegetable kebabs, and combine with colourful side dishes.

l Say yes to a fit new you. Join Weight Watchers 5k My Way, a four-week flexible training plan created by fitness experts to help you walk, run, swim or cycle your way to 5k. See #WW5kMyWay.

l Research within positive psychology has demonstrated that when we are happier we make healthier choices. As a starting point, keep track of how you feel, how confident you are, how well you sleep, how comfortable you feel in your own skin and how well you are taking care of yourself. You could give yourself a score on a scale of 1-10 for each of these elements, then focus on taking steps to improve over the coming weeks.

Dinners

Veggie mac ’n’ cheese

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

SmartPoints per serving: 9

Calories per serving: 328

240g (8¼oz) penne pasta

1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 small broccoli, cut into small florets

40g (1½oz) cheddar cheese sauce mix

400ml (14fl oz) semi-skimmed milk

1 tsp wholegrain mustard

2 large tomatoes, sliced

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta, adding the cauliflower and broccoli to it for the final 3-4 minutes. Drain and return to the pan.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Put the sauce mix in a pan and whisk in a little of the milk. Pour in the remaining milk and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in the mustard and season with black pepper.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and vegetables and mix well. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, top with the tomatoes and brown under the grill.

 

How to jump-rope like a pro to lose the flab

Want to get into shape and lose the unwanted flab? Grab the jump rope. Skipping is being called the ultimate high-intensity exercise regimen. A full-body workout that starts with the wrists, it uses the legs, hands, shoulders and abs to leave you healthy and toned. Skipping also increases bone density and builds alertness. Folks are increasingly taking to this workout that you can do just about anywhere. Short bursts of high intensity exercise are said to wake up the body and it’s no wonder that celebrities such as Padma Lakshmi, Kate Hudson, Megan Fox and Justin Bieber are all said to be fans of skipping.
Here are a few rules to follow when using the jump rope…


1) Choose the right rope:
Size matters here, because if the rope is too short you may hit your shins. To know what works, step on the rope and extend the handles upwards. If they touch the armpits , it’s a comfortable size.
2) The turf: Jumping on the wrong surface can impact the knees adversely. Avoid cement as that is too hard. Instead, jump on grass or another soft flooring.
3) Your clothes: Remember, when skipping, the rope might hit your outfit, so avoid hoodies with long ropes. Stick to a T-shirt and fitted tracks.

4) Warm up: This is a strenuous activity, so work out before you jump rope.
5) Start gradually: New to this? Begin with a one-foot bounce and then go to a two-foot one. In a single bounce, you should be jumping only ½ an inch off the ground.
6) Your form: Never jump flat-footed, but land on the balls of your feet. Also, while jumping do not let your feet touch the ground.

DID YOU KNOW?
Jumping rope for 10 minutes = Running one mile

Happy Yoga Day: Facial Yoga, the Yogic Way of Toning Your Face Muscles

Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared 21st June as International Yoga Day to celebrate the importance of Yoga in our day to day living. This date was chosen because it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world. Yoga, as many already know embodies the unity between mind and body, thought and action and symbolises harmony between man and nature. It is a holistic approach to health and well-being and being accepted around the world for its many health benefits.

 

On the occasion of International Yoga Day, we look at a lesser known set of exercises that help rejuvenate muscles of your face. Facial yoga is practiced and advocated by many experts as a means to strengthen your facial muscles.

 

What is Facial Yoga?

 

‘Ageing gracefully’ can be a dreaded statement in this world of innumerable ageing creams and serums loaded with chemicals. But how about making it easier with adding yoga to it and keeping it naturally beautiful? According to Dr. Deepali Bharadwaj from the Skin & Hair Clinic, “Facial yoga is a form of yoga which is practiced using the facial muscles. It plays a role in keeping muscles of the face tighter, rejuvenated, fresher, looking younger, lesser lags, just as yoga does to the muscles all over the body, by giving oxygen to the facial muscles. For me facial yoga is a way of life and I make sure to practice it every day for about 10 minutes. I ensure at least a 10-15 minute facial yoga session while I am driving.”

yogaFacial yoga is a form of yoga which is practiced using the facial muscles​

Benefits of Facial Yoga

Face yoga or facial yoga is a set of exercises to help relax and tone your face muscles. Let us give you a lowdown on some benefits of facial yoga:

 

1. Helps slow down the aging process

 

As you grow older, you may witness fine lines and wrinkles forming with time and makes you look aged. With face stretching and other exercises, you will be able to get rid of these fine lines and eventually get a tighter and toned skin.

 

2. It helps release tension

 

Yoga helps make us calm. Our sedentary lifestyles have led us to sit at one place for more than 8 hours, leading excessive tension on the spinal cord, neck and core muscles. Facial yoga helps release the tension in these areas and helps you relax.

 

3. Can help eliminate double chin

 

If you hate looking at yourself in the mirror with a dreaded double chin, facial yoga might be just the perfect deal. Neck exercises in face yoga can help deal with the stubborn fat on the chin.

 

4. It is all natural

 

You can easily get a naturally glowing skin and toned face muscles just by facial yoga. Hence, you wouldn’t really need to use any anti-aging surgeries and other chemical interventions.

facial yogaFace yoga or facial yoga is a set of exercises to help relax and tone your face muscles​

Some facial yoga exercises

Here are some yoga exercises suggested by Dr. Bharadwaj:

 

1. The Fish Face

 

The fish face helps in tightening the cheek muscles, give rigidity and tone them, avoiding sagging. All you need to do is to smile as you purse your lips, then create a fish face by sucking the inside of your cheeks.

2. Kiss the Ceiling

 

Look up and pucker your mouth like you are kissing the ceiling. Hold for five seconds and repeat the exercise. This exercise is to get a prominent jawline and high cheekbones and strengthen the muscles in your neck.

3. Puffer Cheeks

 

To firm your cheeks, take a deep breath through your mouth and puff the breath from cheek to cheek. This pose will strengthen the cheek muscles and eventually prevent them from becoming thinner.

4. Say Bye to Crow’s Feet

 

Crow’s Feet also known as laugh lines are the fine lines formed around the corner of the eyes with age. Open your eyes wide like you are surprised. Pull skin back while doing this exercise with the help of your hand.

5. Baby Bird

 

If you want to prevent your chin and neck from sagging, press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, pose a smile and while pointing your chin at the ceiling.

So on this International Yoga Day, pledge to take out some time to rejuvenate the, often ignored, tired muscles of your face.

Sleeping beauty syndrome is for real

Sleeping Beauty and Rip Van Winkle may have been fictional characters but Beth Goodier, Shannon Magee, Connor Prince, Heather and John Flowe are not. These are patients suffering from the Sleeping Beauty Syndrome. Yes, you read that right — this is actually a rare and complex neurological disorder also called the Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS).

Experts say that this disorder usually strikes when one is around 16 — and lasts for around 13 years. The disease is rare but we do have patients suffering from it in India, says Dr Preeti Devnani, neurologist and sleep disorder specialist. She adds, “KLS is a rare disease with a prevalence of one to two cases per million inhabitants.”

KLS is a rare disease with a prevalence of one to two cases per million inhabitants (Thinkstock)

Symptom checker
Dr Preeti explains, “A KLS patient may sleep anywhere between two to 31 days, and suffer from one of these cognitive abnormalities such as feelings of unreality, confusion, hallucinations, abnormal behaviour, irritability, aggression, binge eating and hyper-sexuality. These symptoms can be interspersed with long periods of normal sleep, cognition, behaviour and mood.”
Kailash Mantry, mental health and wellness professional says, “Episodes of KLS are cyclical. When present, the symptoms can persist even for months — during which, all usual daily activities of the patient stop. Most people with this syndrome are bedridden, tired, as well as uncommunicative, even when they are awake. Not everyone affected by KLS experiences all of the symptoms associated with the syndrome.”

What causes this?
What causes KLS is not really known, say doctors. Dr Preeti elaborates, “The pathology of the disease suggests a malfunction in the hypothalamus and thalamus — regions of the brains, which help regulate sleep patterns, appetite and sex drive.”
Viral and autoimmune causative factors have been suggested due to the fact that many KLS patients also suffer flu-like symptoms at the onset of the disease. She adds, “It has also been suggested that an infection may act as a trigger for people who have a genetic disposition towards KLS.”
Dr Amrapali Patil, wellness professional says, “This disorder is characterised by neurochemical imbalance hypoperfusion of certain areas of brain and known to have a genetic background.” In the beginning of a KLS episode, the patient becomes progressively drowsy. Then they fall asleep for long hours — hypersomnolence — sometimes waking only to eat or go to the bathroom. Such episodes continue for days, weeks and sometimes months. In between two such episodes, the patient appears to be in perfect health with no evidence of any kind of behavioural or any other type of physical dysfunction.
Dr Patil says, “This condition is so rare that enough subjects are not available to conduct clinical trials and research to generate data. KLS is said to affect one in millions and it is difficult to track it’s incidence in Mumbai.”

Is there a way to prevent it?
There is no definitive treatment for KLS, however, doctors may prescribe certain medications to alleviate the symptoms. Dr Preeti says, “Stimulants can counter the effects of hypersomnia but they do not alleviate the associated cognitive disturbances. Mood altering drugs have also proved beneficial in some cases of KLS.” Dr Patil adds, “Lithium is said to provide some prevention against these episodes.”

How does it affect one?
Along with excessive sleep, the whole demeanour of a person suffering from KLS changes. They appear to be spaced-out or childlike. When awake, they experience disorientation, confusion, a complete lack of energy, as well as lack of emotions. A majority of people with KLS report that everything seems to be out of focus and that they are hypersensitive to light and noise. In some instances, food cravings are a part of the symptoms they experience. Instances of uninhibited hyper-sexuality during an episode have been reported by people with KLS.

The psychology behind it
Mantry says, “We have found that KLS patients have psychological issues like attention-seeking strategies, absence of love, doubts on near and dear ones, general weakness in health, irresponsible behaviour and a disturbed social life. Such patients also have no aims or goals, feel resigned, skeptical, hypocritical, have poor communication skills, see no reason to wake up, are afraid, lazy, whimsical, egoistic and hurtful. Other issues include victimisation, absence of family bonding, no courage to accept challenges and low self-esteem.”

Instances of excessive daytime sleepiness in Mumbai

Dr Ramanthan Iyer, sleep specialist says, “KLS is extremely rare but excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is common in Mumbai. It is characterised by persistent sleepiness and often a general lack of energy, even during the day, after apparently adequate or even prolonged night-time sleep.”

Health warnings women in 20s should not ignore

Women in their 20s experience some significant changes in their body. Emotional imbalances, hormonal changes and issues ‘down there’ trouble almost every woman. But tackling them appropriately could help in coping with these new challenges. We have listed a few common health warnings that you should not overlook.

Pain in pelvic

Pain in pelvic
 

Pelvic pain can be the result of various diseases and health conditions. If you experience this pain, do not neglect it as this can be associated with your reproduction system. Immediately see a gynaecologist and get yourself treated.

Fatigue

Fatigue

In your twenties, you ought to be extremely high on energy. But if this is not the case, then it’s a matter of concern. Facing constant fatigue could be an indication of anemia. Lack of physical activity, poor diet, anxiety or depression, could be some other possible reasons. Consult a doctor and know the root cause of extreme fatigue.

Pain while urinating

Pain while urinating

If your sex life is active and you experience itching or pain while urination, get yourself checked for sexually transmitted diseases. Early diagnosis and treatment could prevent complications and serious physical illness.

 
Tenderness or change in breasts

Tenderness or change in breasts
 

With growing age, women experience fluctuation in hormones. This could lead to change in size or in some cases, pain in breasts. You need to pay more attention if you feel lumps, swelling or pain in nipples. It is important to examine weird symptoms as they could lead to serious health issues.

Frequent mood swings

Frequent mood swings
 

Not many of us know that mental health issues can develop at any age. Even in your 20s, you may experience symptoms of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder. The feeling of social withdrawal and confused thoughts could also be the signs of mental illness. Women may also experience frequent mood swings. This could be the result of hormonal changes.

Constant headache

Constant headache

Constant headache is a serious problem that needs immediate medical attention. There is a possibility that you may be suffering from some infection in your central nervous system. Consult a doctor if you experience a constant headache. (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock/ Thinkstock)

Why long commutes are bad for you

Long hours of commuting can not only make you tired and lethargic, but can also have an adverse effect on your work performance and health.
A study conducted by University of Cambridge and Vitality Health, Mercer and Rand Europe, found commuters who commuted for less than half and hour in a day, gained an extra 7 days’ worth of productive time each year as compared to those who commuted for an hour or more every day.

Commuting for longer duration has a significant impact on your mental well being. People who commute for longer duration are 33 per cent prone to suffer from depression, 40 per cent more likely to have financial worries, 21 per cent likelier to be obese and 12 per cent more likely to report work related issues. They are also inclined to have less than 8 hours of recommended sleep. This demonstrates how your daily travelling routine influences your health and work performance.

The research suggests that employees should perhaps be given flexible working arrangements as a prominent part of their workplace wellness strategy. Consequently, employees should be given the flexibility to avoid the rush hour commute. This will lead to a positive impact on their productivity.

Take care of your eyes this season

Summer season can take its toll on your eyes, if you do not take care of them properly. Eye specialists say that there are many ways the season can affect your eyes.
Excessive outdoor heat can create a lot of strain for your eyes. For some, this leads to dry eyes and itching. Dermatologists say that when you go out without sun-protection glasses, then you tend to crinkle up your eyes to see better and this leads to wrinkles. It also ruins your look as the make-up runs into the eyes. Here are a few ways you can protect your eyes…
Using relaxing eye drops can help deal with computer vision syndrome (Thinktsock)

Always play outdoor sports wearing protective glasses
Doctors say that when playing outdoors sports it is always best to wear protective polycarbonate eye-wear and also sun-protection glasses. Getting hit in the eye is also something that you need to save yourself from.

Take care of your contact lenses
Harm to your eyes can be irreversible if you don’t take proper care. Doctors insist that following all guidelines given by your ophthalmologist is essential. If you are not careful, contact lenses worn for long can permanently harm eyes. Use a fresh batch of lenses and make sure that you clean them thoroughly every time.

Avoid rubbing eyes vigorously
Being extremely gentle when it comes to your eyes is the wisest thing to do say doctors. Vigorous rubbing won’t get rid of eye debris, rather blinking them will cause tears to flow which can wash out the debris. Rubbing will break and tear the cornea which might lead to infections.

Use eye makeup properly
Don’t hold on to eye makeup that is more than three to four months old. And avoid using fingers to wear eye make-up because bacteria on your fingertips will get transferred to the make-up palette and later cause infections in your eyes.

TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND

  • Using relaxing eye drops can help deal with computer vision syndrome.
  • Avoid staring at your computer for a long time — make sure that you take frequent breaks.