Are we really healthy?

As we grow older, our immune system weakens and sickness is inevitable.

 

A few days ago, someone very dear to me sat me down.

“I have diabetes.”

His words rendered me speechless. We had always jokingly worried about me getting diabetes as I grew up on a diet that comprised of disgustingly large amounts of sugar. I would order 200% sugar level for my bubble milk teas, pour packets of white sugar straight into my mouth, there was a month i spent eating 7 big bars of chocolate every single day.

 

A few months ago, he still asked me “hey, maybe you don’t have depression. Maybe you’re just diabetic. Depression is a symptom of diabetes.”

 

Did you know, that Singapore has the second highest rates of diabetes in Asia.

 

Did you know, that 1 in 3 Singaporean youths are diabetic?

 

Unfortunately, yoga is not a definite cure of diabetes but it will definitely help diabetic patients manage it better. Also for those that do not have diabetes, practicing yoga will help keep you in the low risk range of onset late adult diabetes because out of the other profound benefits it possesses, yoga mitigates stress. I’m not going to delve deeply into stress.

 

Breathing and moving the body with focus and concentration takes the mind out of its habitual preoccupation with worrisome thoughts. It brings the mind into a continuum, and in that moment when the mind is completely absorbed, it forgets where it is, who it is, and what disease it has”

 

Studies have shown that slow and steady breaths and deep concentration I practiced with each pose as well as silent meditation that follows keep heart rate and glucose levels steady.

 

In all asanas, there is a perfect balance point that tips out of equality and we fall out of the pose. Despite the ups and downs of daily practice, I am reminding myself to be grateful for the opportunity to find that balance.

 

Benefits of yoga (especially for diabetics) :

– weight loss

slow the process of fat accumulation

– maintenance and reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels

– mitigate stress

– improve blood sugar control, cholesterol profile

– enhance lung function, mood, sleep, and quality of life

 

Asanas that will help (especially for diabetics) :

  • sethu bandhasana (avoid when having neck or back injury)
  • balasana (avoid when pregnant, have knee injury or diarrhoea)
  • vajrasana (
  • sarvangasana (perform un
  • halasana
  • dhanurasanas
  • paschimottanasana
  • ardha mastyendra

SLEEPING DURING YOGA, PRESSURE POINTS AND YOGA NIDRA

Is it normal to sleep during yoga?

Being someone who has the tendency to fall asleep when not doing something of a certain engagement level can create a fair few problems. Dozing off during class comes across as disrespectful and uninterested although this is not the case for me! I’ve faced this issue from as early on in my life as I can remember. Maybe it’s a combination of growing up in an era where media is causing attention span to decrease, maybe it’s a genetic disorder, I don’t know.

It is close to the end of the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training course and I have fallen asleep during Shavasana almost after the end of each practical class. I have also fallen asleep while holding various sitting and supine poses. So I research about whether it is normal to sleep during yoga and it is completely normal! (Phew.) It also shows that you are in a state of relaxation, a goal of yoga practice.

However, if like me, you would like to not fall asleep during yoga, here are some recommended poses.

5 POSES TO PREVENT FALLING ASLEEP:
Breath of Joy (Pranayama)
Upward-Facing Salute – Urdhva Hastasana
Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
Reverse/Exalted Warrior Pose – Viparita Virabhadrasana
Dancer Pose – Natarajasana

Besides these poses, I feel like inversions also help me to feel more awake. Although I still sleep in class, I don’t think that this is an issue that can be resolved overnight and other measures need to be taken as well. First and foremost, ample sleep. Secondly, a classmate of mine who practices qigong shared with me her knowledge regarding pressure points, saying that pressing firmly onto certain pressure points on my body would aid with my blood circulation and hopefully help me stay awake during class. This is similar to the concept of chakras that we are taught in yoga. Apologies to my non-Mandarin reading friends but I’m sure a quick Google check can provide you with information!

Image result for 人体经络网 足阳明胃经

Any points showed on the red and blue lines pressed during 7 to 9 in the morning would be the most effective.

Image result for 后头骨 凤池

There are three indentations at the back of our head, those are also pressure points that are easily accessible to be pressed by ourselves to help relieve fatigue.

Yoga is about going with the flow and not fighting our body’s desires and signals.

Do note that sleep and yogic sleep (aka yoga nidra) is different. Yoga evaluates the overall state of the mind and body by the relative proportion of three inherent qualities: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. Sattva is associated with calm awareness. Rajas is the principle of movement and activity. When out of balance, it can lead us off on mental tangents and manifest in the body as twitches and jerks. Tamas is the force of gravity and gives a sense of groundedness. In excess, it can be felt as a restrictive heaviness, dragging the conscious mind into sleep. Falling asleep during relaxation practices is usually a sign that the quality of tamas is excessive or the quality of rajas is deficient. The practice of systematic relaxation requires a balance between rajas and tamas so that we are grounded and comfortably present in the body, but at the same time alert and mentally attentive. When both conditions are present, our consciousness can rest in sattvic self-awareness.

This Sattvic self-awareness can be achieved through yoga nidra, a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping that occurs during the stage where we enter deep sleep. The yogic goal of both paths, deep relaxation (yoga nidra) and meditation are the same, a state of meditative consciousness called samadhi.

I hope my post has been reassuring and informative to those who face the same problem as I do!