Actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra talks about how this ancient way of life has benefitted her, and recommends including a quick session in our routine every day
Legend says that Lord Shiva taught Goddess Parvati the secrets of yoga so she could spread the knowledge among humans to help them lead peaceful lives. While one can choose to not have faith in legends, I have experienced the positive influence of yoga in my life. Not only has yoga cured a severe bout of spondylosis that I was suffering from, it has also given me the strength to deal with various other kinds of problems.
Over the years, I have realised that regular yoga practice makes us more aware of our faculties and gives us the power to command our inner strength to face challenges. While we can’t control external forces that affect our lives, yoga can help us face those forces. Yoga is not just a form of physical exercise, but a power that can help us lead a peaceful life. A regular regime of yoga aligns our mind, body and soul, and when that happens, whatever is going on around us, externally, ceases to bother us. This is of the utmost importance in an age where our minds are inundated with information.
We all lead busy lives and making time for something that doesn’t necessarily please us can be a challenge. To incorporate yoga in our life every day, we have to analyse its advantages: when we practise yoga, we receive the benefits of good health and positive thoughts. Incorporating any form of physical exercise in our daily life demands a disciplined lifestyle. The same principle applies to yoga. If you can’t practise it in the morning, try meditating for 15 minutes at the end of the day, when your body is calm and you can reflect on the day’s activities. I follow this regime, as my mornings are very hectic. No matter how tiring my day is, I always end it with breathing exercises.
Breathing correctly is one of the most important aspects of yoga. Today, we do not concentrate on our breathing. When we breathe deeply, our lungs open up, our body begins to eliminate toxins and we are flushed with energy. Pranayama, or breath control, allows more oxygen to reach our brain, helping it function better, which in turn sends signals to the rest of the body, commanding it to work more efficiently. And when we are feeling good physically, our behaviour improves too. This exercise can help us get rid of negative thoughts, improve our immunity and result in the healthy functioning of all our systems. We just need to make small modifications to our lifestyle and follow a balanced diet to change our life for the better. We need not force it on ourselves or our schedule.
Take small steps: start with a few minutes of yoga every day. And with time, as you ease into the routine and the benefits begin to show, you will be more enthused to increase the duration.
The author is an actor and yoga practitioner and the views expressed in the article are her own