Mental illnesses in various forms have been a major health burden globally in recent years. Unhealthy lifestyles, poor eating habits and rise in work-related stress are factors that are contributing to the rising incidence of anxiety and depression. Psychotic drugs in treating anxiety and depression are effective but offer only symptomatic relief. Long-term intake of drugs often leads to dependence without preventing further illness or providing a comprehensive solution to improving mental health.
People suffering from poor mental health can reap rich and long-term benefits by adopting the ancient Indian practice of Yoga in their daily lives. Yoga helps in maintaining good mental and physical health. It harmonises our body and mind and restores our emotional balance. There is growing evidence that Yoga can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety and those who have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When adopted as a daily practice, yoga can help calm down the mind and prevent the development of mental illnesses.
Stress is the root cause of several lifestyle diseases. Yoga adopts a scientific approach of exercising and relaxing to ease the stress of modern day living. Yoga also contributes to improving memory, sleep and even quality of life in elderly persons with mild memory impairment.
Here are some poses that help improve mental health besides providing other health benefits:
Shashankasana or Child's Pose
This asana stimulates your nervous system thereby re-energizing your whole body. This asana is basically a resting pose somehow resembling a child in fetal position. It is performed by sitting down on the knees and then bending forward so that the chest touches the thighs, and the forehead touches the ground. Stretch the arms forward. If performed with precision regularly, the performer will notice a sense of mental, physical, and emotional comfort descending upon him/her. Like most yoga asanas, this one, too, should be performed on an empty stomach or at least six hours after a meal. However, people suffering from high blood pressure and back pain should avoid this asana.
This inverted pose is one of the best yoga asanas for improving blood circulation towards the head. It helps to calm anxiety, treat depression and insomnia besides regulating blood flow. This pose can be performed by lying down flat on your back. Keep the legs together. While inhaling raise the legs, buttocks and the trunk and support the hips on the palm. The trunk is held at 45 degrees angle to the ground. Breathe normally in this position. To return, lower the legs over the head and keep the hands down while exhaling. Bring the spine and the legs down.
This yoga pose is thought to be therapeutic for people suffering from high blood pressure, asthma, sinusitis, infertility and osteoporosis. It also helps to relieve mild depression and beat insomnia as it is highly beneficial as a relaxation tool. To perform this pose, stand straight. Raise your hands from the front to above your head as you inhale slowly. Bend backwards from the upper back and maintain the position with normal breathing.
This pose is typically performed at the end of yoga routines and helps boost mental health and relaxes the body. Lie flat on your back, keeping the body straight and hands at the sides with palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and hold the position for at least five minutes. Even pregnant women can practice this asana as it will help them prevent prenatal depression, a prevalent mental disorder in women during pregnancy.
It should be noted that the above-mentioned yogic practices are to be learned in a gradual manner under the supervision of a yoga expert. Yoga enables a practitioner to expand their mental faculties and achieve a greater acceptance of self and others, which ultimately leads to calmer approach to the life.
Yoga encourages practitioners to experience an open heart. Many yogic philosophers consider the entire practice to be about metaphorically connecting to our hearts. Within the chakra system, the heart lies in the middle of the seven chakras. Asanas such as arda chakrasana (back bend), kapotasana (pigeon pose), and ustrasana (camel pose) encourage the expansion of the centre of the chest which is the location of the anahata chakra, the yogic heart centre. Visualizations and pranyams in yoga also encourage open heartedness.
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Chennai, Aug 19 (IANS) With schools in Tamil Nadu for classes IX to XII all set to reopen from September 1, the state health department has issued a standard protocol wherein all the students are to be screened within a week of reopening.The SOP also made it mandatory that all the teachers and school staff be vaccinated. The students who are eligible to take vaccines must also be inoculated, a statement from the state health department on Wednesday said.Schools have been asked to disinfect areas such as water tanks, kitchens, canteen, washrooms, libraries, laboratories and transport vehicles. Frequently touched surfaces such as desks and benches and other equipment also must be disinfected, as per standard protocol.The SOP also said that standard distance has to be maintained in classes and chair or benches have to be kept wide apart - at least 6 feet distance from each other. Temporary spaces or bigger outdoor spaces can be used for conducting classes. If weather permits classes can be held outdoor.Temporary spaces and larger rooms like laboratories and libraries, computer rooms, or auditoriums can be used to conduct classes to maintain a safe distance.Social distancing norms have to be followed in staff rooms, canteens, and other areas of the schools.Schools can be run in shifts, 50 per cent of students should be allowed to attend school every alternate day to ensure social distancing norms. The schools are not allowed to conduct functions or celebrations and strict SOPs have to be adhered to.Assemblies can be conducted in their respective classrooms, outdoor spaces, or halls under the guidance of the teachers. Signs and markings must be made in classrooms, libraries, laboratories, outside washrooms, handwashing areas, school kitchen, bus parking areas as well as entry and exit to schools.Covid appropriate behaviour must be communicated to teachers, students, parents, staff, and members of management committees through online or offline modes. Pamphlets, public announcements can be made on Covid appropriate behaviour like hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, and safe distancing.Tamil Nadu School education minister, Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi told IANS, "We will be taking utmost care for the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff members and all the SOPs as far as Covid is concerned have to be maintained as and when the schools reopen for students of higher classes."--IANSaal/skp/
Hyderabad, Aug 18 (IANS) The consumption of millets can reduce total cholesterol, triacylglycerols (commonly known as triglycerides), and BMI, according to a new study analysing the data of 19 studies with nearly 900 people.
The study was undertaken by five organisations and led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
The results, published in Frontiers in Nutrition, brings critically needed scientific backing to the efforts to popularise and return millets to diets, especially as staples, to combat the growing prevalence of obesity and being overweight in children, adolescents, and adults.
The study showed that consuming millets reduced total cholesterol by 8 per cent, lowering it from high to normal levels in the people studied. There was nearly a 10 per cent decrease in low and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (commonly viewed as 'bad cholesterol') and triacylglycerol levels in blood. Through these reductions, the levels went from above normal to normal range. In addition, consuming millets decreased blood pressure with the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in the BP reading) decreasing by 5 per cent.
"We were very surprised how many studies on humans had already been undertaken on the impact of millets on elements that impact cardiovascular diseases,and this is the very first time anyone has collated all these studies and analysed their data to test the significance of the impact. We used a meta-analysis, and results came out very strongly to show significant positive impact on risk factors for cardiovascular disease," study's lead author and senior nutritionist at the ICRISAT, Dr S. Anitha said.
The study also showed that consuming millets reduced BMI by 7 per cent in people who were overweight and obese, (from 28.5 (+/-2.4) to 26.7 (+/-1.8) kg/m2), showing the possibility of returning to a normal BMI (less that 25 kg/m2). All results are based on consumption of 50 to 200 g of millets per day for a duration ranging from 21 days to four months.
These findings are influenced by comparisons that show that millets are much higher in unsaturated fatty acids, with 2 to 10 times higher levels than refined wheat and milled rice as well as being much higher than whole grain wheat.
"Unhealthy diet is a major contributor to the rising incidence of diseases, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The results of this study along with our recent study that showed that the consumption of millets reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and helped manage type 2 diabetes, highlights a critical need to look carefully at how to most appropriately bring millets back into the diets in India and ensure this reaches the majority," National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) Director, Dr Hemalatha, said.
"Obesity and being overweight are increasing globally in both wealthy and poorer countries, so the need for solutions based on healthier diets is critical. This new information on the health benefits of millets further supports the need to invest more in the grain, including its whole value chain from better varieties for farmers through to agribusiness developments," ICRISAT Director General, Dr Jacqueline Hughes, said.
The study identified a number of priority future research areas including the need to study all different types of millets, understand any differences by variety alongside the different types of cooking and processing of millets and their impact on cardiovascular health.
Given the positive indicators to date, more detailed analysis on the impact of millets on weight management is also recommended. All relevant parameters are also recommended to be assessed to gain a deeper understanding of the impacts millets consumption on hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease.
Bengaluru, Aug 17 (IANS) The Karnataka government is all set to launch a flagship programme "Arogya Nandana" under which 1.5 crore children will be screened ahead of the third Covid wave, Minister for Health Dr K. Sudhakar announced in Bengaluru on Tuesday.Experts have expressed fears of a possible third wave of Covid-19 affecting children. Keeping in view of the projections, the state government is launching a new programme called "Arogya Nandana". The flagship programme is an attempt to reach out to all 1.5 crore children of the state."Under this scheme, all children will be undergoing health screening. The children with malnutrition, immunity issues will be identified and in coordination with the Women and Child Welfare department, we will see to it that children get necessary nutrients and food supply which will provide them immunity from Covid," Sudhakar explained.The state government, in its remaining 21 months, is intending to bring about complete change. No other government in Karnataka has recruited 4,000 doctors in a period of 4.5 months and it has been done, he added.Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will inaugurate the programme and plans of the project are ready. "This is CM Bommai's dream. The project has been implemented in Haveri and Udupi districts where he was district in charge minister before. The project has been extended to the whole state now. Over 1.5 crore children will be screened across the state and the government has the infrastructure to reach out to all of them," Sudhakar said.Since it is suspected that 28 lakh people who were affected with coronavirus and later recovered face the threat of being infected with Tuberculosis. The government has already launched another flagship programme to conduct tests to ascertain whether this section of people got affected with Tuberculosis, he explained."Early detection and treatment helps us to contain Tuberculosis spreading on a large scale. In the last 5 years, the infection rate has increased by 33 per cent. I call upon those who were infected with Covid and got better to take up testing voluntarily which is available freely," he said.--IANSmka/skp/
Tokyo, Aug 14 (IANS) Japan's daily Covid-19 cases topped the 20,000 mark for the first time since the onset of the pandemic early last year, while Tokyo also reported a record high number if single-day infections, according to the government.The latest figures increased the country's overall case tally to 1,087,779, while the death toll stood at 15,358.The 5,773 new infections confirmed in Tokyo on Friday is the second time the daily figure topped 5,000, reports Xinhua news agency. The new cases in Tokyo surpassed the previous high of 5,042 logged a week earlier.The number of severe cases in Tokyo also rose to a new record to 227 from the previous high of 218 logged earlier in the week. The seven-day rolling average of infections for Tokyo also increased to 4,155.7 per day, rising 8.8 per cent from the previous week.Japan's number of Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms also rose to the highest-ever 1,478 nationwide, exceeding the previous record of 1,413 recorded in late May, the Health Ministry said.The recent surge comes at the peak of the summer holiday season. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has called on residents not to travel to other prefectures."We are now facing the biggest crisis since the pandemic began, which amounts to a disaster. We want to ask everyone to act to protect their own lives," Koike said in a statement on Friday.Since mid-July, severe cases of COVID-19 patients have increased rapidly across Japan.Due to the slow progress of the country's vaccination campaign, such severe cases have risen among those in their 40s and 50s mainly in Tokyo, and among patients, young generations have also been found with serious symptoms, which are defined as those with the demand of assistance by ventilators, artificial heart-lung bypass devices or treatment at intensive care units.Tokyo's healthcare system is under increasing strain, with an occupied rate of the capital's hospital beds allocated for seriously ill Covid-19 patients over 50 per cent.--IANSksk/
New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) A Class 12 student from Delhi has moved the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the Centre and state governments to take a time-bound decision in connection with the physical re-opening of schools and conduct of offline teaching.Petitioner Amar Prem Prakash said he is echoing the sentiments and feelings of a large body of the student community and fraternity of the country, particularly underprivileged and voiceless children. The petitioner said he is aggrieved by the "indecision and vacillation" on the part of the Centre and states/Union Territories (UTs), in the matter of re-opening of schools and resumption of physical classes with adequate safeguards. "Raising this very vital issue regarding the deprivation and ill-effects, both psychological and actual, of school children being kept away from attending their schools physically," said the plea filed through advocate Prem Prakash Mehrotra.The plea emphasised the deprivation of regular school and teaching in the congenial and academic environment of a student's education institution, is leaving an indelible mark on the psyche of student community. "A holistic and considered decision in regard to re-opening of schools will not only end the uncertainty and speculation in this regard, but also assuage the sentiment of the student community in the country," the plea said.The plea said having virtual classes and the non-reopening of the schools in the country is proving to be not only detrimental to the interests of students, but also tantamount to discrimination and unfair treatment.--IANSss/vd