Monthly Archives: November 2011

Help Me Celebrate Another Milestone – Join the Bandwagon!

This One’s For Me

I hope that people who know me well will tell you that I’m generally a modest person and not really given to showing off. [I really hope…!].

Somehow, though, when it comes to me and my Surya Namaskars, that nice human quality seems to get thrown out the window. In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can claim bragging rights without sounding like a braggart, and just may be, I have found a reasonable balance.

First, the bragging.  This morning, I completed – are you ready for this? – seventy-five (that’s 75) Surya Namaskars! It was during my usual one hour morning yoga class that got extended by about 20 minutes so I could complete this feat. It took me – between huffing and puffing – roughly 85-90 minutes; that’s not counting the warm-up, 50 push-ups and 60 crunches (if I’m going to brag, may as well go whole hog) that my teacher made me complete.

My average Surya Namaskar was probably about a minute long, combined with a few minute-long breaks along the way. It was arduous. And exhilarating! For someone like me, an anti-fitness geek if you ever saw one – I just feel like I have earned my badge and bragging rights. What do you say?

That’s all I’m going to say about my totally unforeseen coup. [To understand why I call it that, you may want to read this]. Except for thanking my fantastic yoga teacher for always pushing me to the limits, and helping me get this far on my “yoga journey”. I know he’s already thought of what my next goal should be.  Yikes!

And This Is For You

Now, for that balance I talked about, I thought I would give you a few more resources on the wonders of Surya Namasker to make this a useful post. Through this, I also hope to entice those of you not already on the yoga bandwagon to get started already!  

What are you waiting for?

For starters, here’s another great video demonstrating Surya Namaskar. The first minute goes through one entire cycle consisting of the 12 asanas (or postures), followed by a few repetitions.

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To recap, here are the primary benefits of Surya Namaskars (and yoga in general):

  • Surya Namaskar’s 12 steps (or 16 or 18 step variation) works virtually every muscle group of your body – from your head to your toes.
  • Its roots are found in yoga philosophy of vedic tradition and has been designed to strengthen mind and body.
  • Each organ of the body is likewise exercised. It is to be combined with specific breathing techniques to enhance the value of its practice (the video above is a great demonstration of how you should breathe as you go through each step).
  • It works on spinal alignment and corrects your posture.
  • It strengthens the extensor muscles of your body. [An “extension” s a movement of a joint that results in increased angle between two bones or body surfaces at a joint. For example, extension is produced by extending the flexed (bent) elbow].
  • A fantastic benefit is achieving flexibility of various parts of your body.
  • The fast movements between postures creates agility while improving blood circulation. Likewise, a dull brain becomes active and the brooding mind gets refreshed.
  • Yoga gives you energy. When you practice during mornings, you will find yourself energetic for the rest of the day.
  • It’s great for losing weight and inches all over!  That alone should be enough of an incentive for some.

You Should Go For It!

Ancient yogis prescribed the practice of Surya Namaskar centuries ago for gaining optimum physical and mental health with huge benefits such as these:  building muscular strength and endurance, increased all-over flexibility, spinal alignment, better breathing capacity and stamina, reduced abdominal fat, enhanced metabolism and a refreshed mind.

What other form of exercise can claim to do all this? It’s all there for the taking.

Like I said before, what are you waiting for?  Go for it. And become a braggart just like me. You would’ve earned it!

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Photo Credit: By http://theholisticcare.com [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Cosmetic Enhancements in India -Looking Good & Feeling Great!

If it’s been awhile since you visited this country, I can attest to the fact that India is going crazy about cosmetic enhancements. Okay, let me change that slightly. Urban middle class India (and up) is going quite crazy about cosmetic enhancements.

There are advertisements galore to seduce the audience. They promise to make you thinner instantly, look younger, hairier (on your head), hairless (on your body), wrinkle-less, more buxom, less buxom, more aquiline (think nose), more full (cheeks, lips) or just plain more beautiful! And no doubt, with today’s advances in cosmetic technology and services, they can fulfill those promises.

Here is an excerpt from a full page ad in a recent Sunday’s Mumbai Mirror newspaper:

DIWALI SPECIAL!

50% off Laser Hair Removal

Other items featured in this ad include: Tummy Tuck and Non-surgical Lipolysis (“First Time in India!“) to lose centimeters instantly- “Got a marriage to attend? Get Slim and Get Noticed” and “Treatment by latest German technology and under supervision of qualified MBBS, MD Doctors”.

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It appears that now, with every year that passes, it is becoming more acceptable, accessible, affordable and popular for men and women of all ages and most classes to opt for a variety of cosmetic enhancements, many being of the non-surgical kind.

According to one international organization, India is now ranked fourth in the world with over 5% of all global aesthetic procedures (surgical and non-surgical) done here.  Just 7 or 8 years ago, they were nowhere on the chart!

And like anything else, the sheer people numbers will ensure that this number will only grow. And grow. Thereby putting India in the top 1 or 2 of the charts, sooner rather than later.

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As outlined by one Indian plastic surgeon, he sees the following interesting trends in the country:

  • Continuing rise of Botox
  • Fillers for people of all ages – including youth who want to “sculpt” certain features
  • Anti-aging surgeries – India is getting older, and the older are wealthier and more self-image aware
  • Nonsurgical antiaging procedures – thus pushing surgeries further down the age-road
  • Body contouring surgeries
  • Bariatric surgeries for the extremely obese
  • Breast implant surgeries
  • Mommy makeovers to fix body changes due to pregnancy, etc.
  • Wedding makeovers for physical enhancements prior to the big day (or days, as the case may be).
  • Men makeovers
  • Medical skin care

Lady, you don't need to work so hard!

And all of this is available and accessible not just for the Bollywood, up-market, high profile or wealthy Indian crowd. From what I am reading, the uptake is building great momentum in the middle-class, and the bourgeois society. I can think of several good reasons why.

First, there is a real emphasis on good looks, glamour and beauty in mass media today.

Second, the middle-class is strengthening its numbers rapidly.

Third, they have the disposable income to spend on such extravagances.

Fourth, its affordable and becoming a fairly competitive market, so price pressures are no doubt only going to grow.  

Put these all together, and you have the perfect storm.

Here is one sample of the cost of such procedures in India. This one happens to be in Chandigarh.

The medical tourism industry in India is healthy, no pun intended. Add cosmetic surgery to the mix, and it just got that much healthier.

Another Mumbai-based cosmetic surgery center that appears to pull in global clients is this one. What do you think of their trademarked tag line? Very …ummm… creative – appealing to the hearts and minds of Indians, I’m sure. 😉

“Growing old is inevitable –

Looking young is negotiable”.

This message has obviously reached the people of India. With a vengeance!

And I dare say that, before long, the term “natural beauty” will take on a meaning all its own(or will simply be removed from the Indian vocabulary altogether :)).  

Whew, there have been so many transformations that have occurred on these Indian shores over the past decade – best if you can just put this down to being another one of those…

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