Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts



The world knows her as "Dream Girl'. She is almost my mother's age, but when you see her, you feel envious  of her fitness levels at the age most women steam out in life.  Success is her surname.   Fitness is in her veins.

Bollywood's diva Hema Malini is one of the most charming women that India is proud of.  But I worship her more as a fitness freak.   At 73, she is agile, active in public life and above all a stunning beauty.

In these technological times, large folks are addicted to gizmos and bulging their bodies  horizontally.   For those weak souls, Hema Malini is a lesson


The message of  this yesteryears Bollywood queen  is very simple :  Take Care of your Body. When asked how she maintains fitness, she says that she cycles for 10-15 minutes a day and do pranayama every morning for 45 minutes and yoga every alternate day.  She further says that yoga helps her in toning, especially the waist area.

When it comes to food, she advises  to fast twice a weak. She says that she drinks green tea everyday and don't consume any junk food.

Her health secret mainly lies in her passion : Bharatanatyam.  Being an exponent of this South Indian dance form, she has given countless  stage shows.

For  men who have lofty goals in  life,  it is time to draw inspiration from Hemaji  to maintain  a healthy body.  



New Delhi hosted 6th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo from 6th to 9th November, 2014 and the theme was 'Health challenges and Ayurveda. 

One of the main aims of holding such international conference is to register Ayurveda as a medical system in the minds of  global community.


Ayurveda is the ancient Indian system of natural and holistic medicine using plant properties to treat  the diseases.  The Sanskrit root Ayur means 'longevity' or 'life and veda means 'Science'.  It is the science of healing of 5000 years old.  In its website 6th World Ayurveda Congress stated that Ayurveda has strong philosophical foundations unquestionable science veracity, everlasting practical methodology and eternally vibrant innovativeness for modifications into allied systems such as Siddha and Unani.  It further said that Ayurveda has a proven track record of success through the ages.


Anybody's lofty goal is to have a disease-free body and it is very much possible if you follow the principles of health  enshrined in Ayurveda.


Though I am an Indian, I know a little about Ayurveda until 2004 when I bought David Simon's scholarly book 'The Wisdom of Healing - A comprehensive guide to  mind-body medicine. 


 The Rig Veda, a collection of more than one thousand poetic hymns that includes many of the central concepts of Ayurveda, was composed between 1200 and 900 B.C.  Experts say that Ayurveda system was already centuries old during the time of Charaka, the most celebrated of the ancient physicians of India, who lived around 700 B.C.


Indian mythology believes that Ayurveda came directly from the gods. However, during the medieval period Ayurvedic medicine began to be forcibly replaced by alternative systems imposed by the ruling classes.  Much damage to this ancient healing system occurred during 12th and 13th centuries when  Muslim invaders conquered India. It is also said that Ayurveda was almost completely suppressed by India's British rulers.  


Ayurveda advises the man to live in consonance with Nature.  Since the body is nothing but a composition of primordial elements, our life style must be in symphony with Nature's Laws.  This is the foundation upon which 'health' is built. 

The  recommended daily routine according to Ayurveda is as under :




- Wake without an alarm clock.

- Brush your teeth and clean your tongue

-Drink a glass of warm water to encourage regular elimination.

-Empty your bowels and bladder

-Massage your body with oil 


-Perform light exercise: Sun Salutes, yoga postures, breathing exercises.


-Eat breakfast

-Take a midmorning walk.




-Eat lunch (the largest meal of the day)

-Sit quietly for five minutes after eating.

-Walk to aid digestion ( five to fifteen minutes)

-Meditate in the late afternoon



-Eat a light to moderate dinner.

-Sit quietly for five minutes after eating

-Walk to aid digestion (five to fifteen minutes)

BED TIME : 9.30 TO 10.30 PM


-Perform light activity in the evening.

-Go to bed early, but at least three hours after dinner.

-Don't read, eat or watch TV in bed.


When this regimen is followed strictly, the power of immunity in the body increases and diseases don’t attack you !



One essential factor that determines your happiness is 'not being haste'.   You must distil it into your DNA to live a peaceful life.  Being hurry  to every aspect of life would  turn you lunatic.

The best way to manage a day's affairs skillfully  is to wake up a little early.    The American sage Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his book  'The Conduct of Life' says that ' Nothing is more vulgar than haste'.   When you are in haste, you can't maintain the natural rhythm in  your daily chores.     The same feelings were echoed by American writer, historian and philosopher William James Durant  who says that ' No man who is in a hurry is quite civilized.

Haste is a venom for a writer.  If  you are carried away by it,  not only it crushes your creativity but harm  the surrounding weaker souls.

 French Playwright  Moliere summed up the whole lesson with this beautiful quote : Unreasonable haste is the direct road to error !



Seasonal fruits not only give the flavour to your tongue but give an immense health benefits. Many of us don't care to eat them and we   fall into the routine way of gulping mindlessly.

Jackfruit   has magical nutritious value  with no cholesterol or saturated fats.  It is rich in antioxidants which not only protects you from cancer  but also improves bone and skin health. Health experts say that jackfruit contains large amounts of potassium which is required to maintain sodium levels in the body.

Jackfruit contains good amount of dietary fiber which improves digestion and prevents constipation.  Eating this fruit keeps the eye free of vision problems like cataract etc.

It slows down the ageing process and maintains skin glow with high moisture levels  and also protects from skin diseases.

The only problem with this fruit is the messy process of cutting and taking out its bulbs. In order to enjoy its countless health benefits, you should not feel it as hurdle !



There is nothing trivial for sharing.  A good friend of me in a recent social media site  said that :


A Cup that was already full,
cannot have more added to it; 

In order to receive more good
we must empty it 
by sharing it with others
                                   regularly and consistently ..


So whatever, good I see,  my heart craves to share it instantly with others  so as to spread its  benefits.  The intention is noble  and gives a sense of inner satisfaction.


Though, we know that copper is  widely used in  electrical and electronics,  deriving it’s health benefits  is not wide-spread. 


Doctors say that copper contains antibacterial properties.   If you drink water from a copper vessel,  it would cleanse your system of various toxins.


I know its benefits since my childhood  when my mother used to give us water  only in the copper tumbler.  That habit was out of sync for some years  till  I get married  when my wife restarted and now we are not breaking the vow to drink  water from the copper vessel.


In fact it is a good old Indian tradition to offer water in the copper tumbler which we replaced with a glass tumbler.    When  a tradition is  tested scientifically,  one should not abandon  it and  must kick start the habit  to derive the full health benefits the copper offers ! 





A lion's share of one's time is spent in professional life. Therefore the ambiance surrounding the work place, specially, your desk should be carefully planned.

The world's most creative company : Google has a very flexible system where the employees can have the liberty to decorate their desks according to their interests, so as to remain enthusiastic, creative during work hours. In fact the company has nap pods  for their employees to let exhausted employees enjoy a quick nap during afternoon hours.

Once you are in a sedentary job, you are very prone to weariness.  More over, it is very important to protect yourself from occasional emotional outbursts which is an activity of reptilian brain i.e. Fight or Flight. Once, we have been evolved as humans, it means we must be more contemplative in our actions.

Irrespective of gadgets you put on your desk, don't forget to put a plant or sapling, in and around your work space. Once you put a plant, it means that you put a throbbing life in front of you.

In a study conducted by researchers at Texas A& M, workers with plants in their offices showed more creativity in thinking up new ideas and approaching old problems. The study further reveals that the employees not only increased their efficiency but also added colour and freshness to the  otherwise dreary office environment.

So, what you are waiting for ? Plunge into action and decorate your desk  to  burst into creativity.


When you  see people in destitute, you show  sympathy to them which will not mitigate their miseries as they  need the required help for which you must have empathy.

Empathy means step into other’s shoes. It is just like reading their mind and thinking from their perspective. Unless you are at ground zero, you can not think at their level. The moment you think at their level, then you could establish a divine contact with them and whatever the little act of kindness you do,  not only soothe them but  also brings them a tremendous inner joy.

Understanding the problems of others and giving a  lending ear are some of the noble acts which will rise you above beastly existence.

In fact, sensitivity and creativity are twin sisters. The moment you have one, the other comes naturally to you. Having empathy reflects your degree of sensitivity and concern on fellow beings/creatures.  So you must come out from the pre-conceived mindset and start responding in a more constructive way which will leap the otherwise foggy relationships,  whether it is within family or society.

I was awe-stricken when eminent Hindi film hero Aamir Khan who hosted the famous TV show " Satyamev Jayate " started crying while hearing the heart-wrenching stories of a victim in his show. In fact, my eyes were welled up with emotion when I watched the episode titled "domestic violence'. But the cynical media accused him of 'acting' and the director of program Satyajit Bhatkal brushed aside such claims and said that Aamir is a sensitive person. He cries on  regular basis even for the smallest of small things. Like Bhatkal said,  any sensitive person will be moved when he or she listens such heart touching stories

After all, we are all humans blessed with the divine quality of empathy and those who indulge in acts of cynicism should be taught a lesson, of course with more empathy !



The familiar scene in most  of the Indian homes is that water is served only on demand. So it becomes increasingly the individual’s lookout to gauge his/her daily water needs. Neglecting this important fuel crams the body processes.

Water is, in fact, the most important liquid which is  the primary transporter of nutrients in the body. About 70% of human body is water. Health experts say that we could survive without food up to 5 weeks but not more than 5 days without water.

Lack of water in the body immediately affects  the blood volume and thereby burdens the heart and kidney with over-work.

A 2012 study by a team of health scientists led by Lawrence E. Armstrong, Professor of Physiology at the University of Connecticut (U.S) brought out some chilling facts before the world. The research finds that even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level and ability to think clearly. The ill-effects of dehydration are equal both in high-energy consumed treadmill walker and a person sitting at rest.

Health experts define mild dehydration as less than 1.5% of water volume in the body. The tests further reveal that our thirst sensation does not really surface until we are 1 or 2% dehydrated.   By that time dehydration  already sets in and shows its impact on our mind and body’, says Prof Armstrong.

When it comes to the cognitive tasks that affect due to dehydration, scientists find that it affects the areas of vigilance and working memory.   Some subjects also experienced fatigue, tension and anxiety when mildly dehydrated.  The impact was found more on females than  males.

When dehydration occurs, the neurons in the brain detect it which signals to other parts of the brain regulating mood. So the solution lies in hydrating the body on regular  basis.

The daily dose of water that our system needs is 8 glasses or 2 liters. The barometer for our hydration level in the body is to check the colour of urine. Healthy urine colour is ‘very pale yellow’. If the urine colour is dark yellow or tan in colour, it indicates a greater dehydration. The study cautions proper hydration for high-risk groups such as elderly people with diabetes and children.

Considering the profundity of the issue, one should not water down this caution !




The myth that body is a structure should be removed from the mind before you  ritualize any fitness regimen.

Health experts say that it is not what we eat, but when and how that matters a lot in any weight-loss programme.  It looks a difficult task to control our cravings on what we eat rather than what we should eat.  It is also the timing that plays a crucial role as digestion rhythms are in symphony with nature's cycles.

After a night's dinner, when you wake up in the morning, it is very essential to stuff your system with some food. It means that the fast should be broken soon enough to maintain secretion of digestive juices so that the body maintains optimum level of energy.

But a working day morning is like a sprint for most of us and some of them prefer to skip breakfast to manage their time which is totally foolhardy. This can have a devastating effect on their bodies and sleep rhythms.

Experts say that people who eat breakfast produce more melatonin, a hormone produced by pineal gland and therefore sleep better.

Fitness experts recommend to eat breakfast, preferably fruits. If you are on weight-loss programme, better to start your day with fresh fruit juice - orange, apple, melon, pineapple which supplies the water content, the essential fuel to your body for detoxification.

In an interesting study undertaken in 2011 by a market research company, about 18% of males and 13% of females between the ages of 35 and 54 are breakfast skippers. The research also finds that skipping breakfast may increase a woman's diabetic risk. Another study found that skipping breakfast was associated with hypertension, insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels.

The better way to take a leisurely breakfast is to wake up a little early so that the most important food of the day is not fanatically gulped into throat due to paucity of time !



Tomes were written about the immense health benefits of early rising. Benjamin Franklin says that ' the early morning has gold in its mouth'. What beauty lies in rising early and how it impacts your quality of work life are the questions you must dwell up on yourself.

 Deepak Chopra, the mind-body medicine expert and the author of famous book "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind" says that when you live with right questions, the life will move into answers. He further says that you must treat your body as an energy and information field and not as a fixed  structure.

In fact, when you rise early, the day appears to be slowed down and you feel leisurely to accomplish all your chores without any tension. If you have any creative hobbies, early rising is a perfect vessel to nurture those hobbies.

Don't be in indoors after you wake up. Go for a morning  run or walk to a nearby woods / park/ green patch. In those solitary walks, knowingly or unknowingly you tune-up your system. Experts say that it is the gift you have to give to yourself daily !

One great man sagely advises to get up early to have  a bullet-proof mindset. It is true that when you have passion to your work, literally you will wake up with a fire in the belly. When you wake up early morning, you feel mystically connected to your higher -being and the body is naturally at the peak of its performance.

Personality Development Guru Robin Sharma says that new habits are like new pair of shoes. First 40 days the habit needs to be nurtured blindly so that it almost becomes your second nature. If you mentally program before night at what time you need to wake up, you could wake up perfectly to that time without the aid of an alarm clock , because your bio-clock would act upon and wake you up.

Instead of jarring alarm clocks, Deepak Chopra says, you can set some soothing music to play at the time you want to get up and that will work. He further adds that your intention to wake up will stir you even before the clock plays music.

Physical fitness and early rising are inter-connected. If you are super fit, you need less number of hours for sleep. Richard Whately wraps up that " lose an hour in the morning and you will be all day hunting for it".



As our children grow, we worry so much about their future. Instead of allowing them to flourish on their own, we impose our own ideas on them, thereby condition their minds.

Noted Indian spiritual guru Sadhguru Jaggie Vasudev says that it is time to learn back from children. He further says that think for a moment: Who looks more happy – you, or your children ? He believes that children are consultants for happiness.

My daughters when they are taken to evening stroll, they make spirited discussions which they don't do when they are indoors. So take your children on regular walks and listen to their ideas. Robin Sharma in his much acclaimed book 'Who will cry when you Die' echoes the same point: "Children come to us more highly evolved than adults to teach us the lessons we need to learn."

The difference between your child and you is that you know a few survival tricks while he/she is still innocent and brimming with creativity.   Allow them the life they want to lead. Don't be their boss. Be a guardian and facilitator so that they feel comfortable and share their views liberally without any inhibition. If you frighten them, they will shy away from you. So be like a friend. Communication is very vital. The greatest gift you can give to your children, Robin Sharma says, is the 'gift of your time'. But how much time do we really spend with our children is a moot point.

When it comes to education, we evaluate our children through their report cards. We compare them with their peers, and question them why they are not better than their friends in studies. This mindless comparison kills their creativity. It is our duty to nurture their inherent talents so that they achieve their full potential in their area of interest.

Sam Pitroda, former adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovation, says that you cannot really teach your children. They learn the way they can. Do what you are supposed to do, and your children will get the message loud and clear. He further says that give children enough space so that they can understand the works of the world and adapt themselves to the situations.

But the present educational system helps little to blossom children.  The marks mania is eroding the educational standards. I was shocked when I read a news item in a reputed news magazine that India ranked 73 out of 74 countries in a 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study based on extensive testing of nearly 5,000 upper primary students in the educationally advanced states of Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. What is more disgusting is that eighth graders from India could barely match the Math skills of South Korean third graders.

With regard to content of text books,  the same magazine in their story reported that Class 3 Urdu-medium schoolchildren in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh are being taught Hindustan kevazir-e-azam PV Narasimha Rao hai ( P.V. NarasimhaRao is India's Prime Minister).

Some tough decisions need to be taken to reform the education sector, otherwise children continue to be the victims of mediocrity.



I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in the company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as Solitude.

                                          - Henry David Thoreau

In the hustle and bustle of city life, I need one constant company that is my own solitude. Outer world is a poor substitute when it comes to inner serenity. Hours will pass like a blip of second when I sink into myself.

When I was a bachelor for 5 years after entering into government service, I never rubbed my shoulders too much with anybody. In fact, I have a very limited number of  friends . I feel scared of having too many friends as I can't carry the burden of their expectations. In fact, the liberty or the chastity of freedom has driven me to take a step of being aloof from the crowd. I really cherish my moments in solitude than meeting anybody else.

But ordinary folks never like solitude. They term it as loneliness which is different. They usually go to others to converse issues from heaven to earth till the other person gets bored from that non-sense. When you ask such people why they do so, they argue that they don't like loneliness which means that they don't want to be in their own company.  The question here is when you don't like your own company, how can others bear you ?

Some people connote solitude with elements of spirituality. There is no denying in that. Solitude is such a silent ocean of energy that will not only churn your creative juices and also gives a higher level of awareness which helps you to go to magical realms of infinite possibilities. If you want to know the gross description of solitude, read Henry David Thoreau's magnificent Work : "Walden”. Every word of Thoreau in the chapter "Solitude" touches your soul and you will relish its prose.

On Solitude, Albert Einstein says : I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity. Solitude and writing are inseparable twins. Great writing happens in the deeper chambers of your soul. I personally feel that the best inspiration comes only in solitude. It could be affirmed in the words of one wise man that "one can be instructed in society, but one can only be  inspired only in solitude".

The inventor of electric bulb Thomas A. Edison sagely says that the best thinking has been done in solitude. So do take regular chunks of solitude  to bounce back with creativity.



Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.
                           - Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Meditation is a state of restful alertness. It is the art of taming your mind without any manipulation. American Cardiologist Herbert Benson, M.D., a pioneer in meditation research, reported that Buddhist monks are capable of raising their body temperatures in near-freezing weather to the point that they are able to heat up and completely dry ice sheets wrapped around them.

Dr. Mani Bhaumik, whose book " Code Name God' is Los Angeles Times Best-seller says that Meditation is , by the way, also the mind's most blissful state, as evidenced by the significant rise of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain chemistry of deep meditators.

Our daily lives put us under enormous stress affecting physical and mental well-being. 90% of diseases are caused by stress. Latest studies reveal that our very chromosomes are affected by stress which cause us to age faster.

Scientists find an extraordinary wear and tear of telomeres of people who are leading stressful lives. Telomeres are in fact the end tips of chromosomes, little caps that protect our DNA. Telomeres play an important role in cell division and get a bit shorter every time a cell divides. There is an enzyme called telomerase which maintains and repairs the telomeres, prolonging the life of our cells. An exciting 2010 study shows that people in an intensive meditation practice had greater telomerase activity in their immune cells than those who did not meditate.

Published research reveals that a regular practice of meditation for 5 years will reduce your chronological age by 12 years. Its benefits include lowering of heart rate, blood pressure and stress related hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the immune system and increased blood levels of serotonin. A consistent practice of meditation thickens the prefrontal cortex, the so called CEO of your brain.

Psychologist Roger Thompson says that the true nature of individual is emphatically non-individual. So simply sit quiet for 20 minutes daily at appointed time so as to get inner serenity with a wide range of health benefits. While sitting for meditation, ensure that you wear loose-fitting clothes and be a witness to what is happening inside your mind.

Jiddu Krishnamurthy, the eminent Indian philosopher guides us to witness the mind and thoughts like a lizard on the wall. Don't attempt to stop or change the thought pattern and be a witness . Take a deep breath with eyes closed. The posture is simply sit on ground with folded legs and spine erect or sit comfortably on a chair.

Meditation facilitates you to concentrate your energies more on present moment than brooding over past or wavering for future. Dr. Bhaumik says that once meditation becomes a regular practice in your life, you become part of something much larger than your individual self. !


Who don't like sleep ? Nobody ! But, majority of people care little to this important daily ritual.

What is sleep ? It is defined as a natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially shut off.

Though scientists have done considerable research on sleep disorders and sleep states in mammals including humans, there seems to be no clear-cut answer why 'sleep' is essential and continuous research is still going on.

Sleep is a natural restful state of body and mind. If you do your day's work to your best of ability, the psychological factors contribute to get a good sleep. In fact, your sleep cycles are in symphony with Nature's cycles.

According to Ayurveda good sleep is called Sukh Nidra. I see majority of people including myself don't take an afternoon nap due to which we look tired and facial gestures clearly reflect this. You must take at least 10 - 15 minutes cat nap in the afternoon to rejuvenate your body and mind. This nap is so essential for people who are in the mind-intensive works like scientists, journalists, writers, chauffeurs etc. That's why the internet giant Google has kept nap pods for its employees.

You can't lead your normal routine if you are sleep deprived. If you want to be healthy all through your life, you should not neglect sleep. Doctors advise us to retire to sleep at the same time in the night daily thereby body adjusts to the biological rhythms.

In fact, your quality of thought severely hampers if you don't sleep enough. An adult (18 plus) requires to sleep at least 7.5 to 9 hours. Health experts say that a healthy man with good sleeping habits need not require 'alarm' to wake up in the morning. Once, he completes his sleep, he automatically rises up effortlessly.

The hormone that is responsible for your sleep is melatonin. Each of your sleep cycle is a combination of both Non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and REM stages that lasts about 90 minutes. Hence when you sleep, keep your sleep time in multiples of 90 minutes. Suppose, if you sleep at 10 pm, you must wake up at 5.30 am invariably, because the 5th cycle of 90 minutes elapses at 5.30 am and sleeping beyond that time, you can't wake before 7 am.

When you understand the mechanics of sleep that dictates your body rhythms, physical and mental vitality blooms your life !


Success does not require a lengthy sermon. In one word, it is perseverance.  When success embraces you, it itself becomes a great narration. 

 In the world when one becomes a celebrity, each of his or her act is seen from a magnified glass. When I flip through the newspapers, tabloids, magazines, I feel that a paradigm shift is needed in the journalistic ethos.  Instead of concentrating their energies for  attracting more eyeballs,  the scribblers must honestly do their jobs with novelty.  The problem in fact is, only a handful of them do what is supposed to be done and rest fall into mediocrity.

One way to find a loyal reader is to write in an engaging tone. The secret  lies on the subject you choose. If you write on people of everyday life, it would attract more loyal readers. I always give my first preference to read  such stories where the person shows  unmatched resolve in  achieving  his/her set  goals. 

Rishipal, 45,  an ordinary cook in a police force in Delhi, India but with an  immense passion for fitness.  When I sit with him for a chat, his radiant eyes and raised biceps narrated half the story.  No tricks were involved but only  four years of workout through a  natural process, he contends.  It means, he has not used any supplements, protein powders in the process of body-building. 

His daily workout includes 3 km run in the morning after which, he has a set of exercises on sophisticated machines that would tone up his muscles and different parts of the body.

When asked, how he got this whole idea, Rishipal says that God plans us to live this way, where as most of us are not adhering to the fitness regimen. When asked about the food he eats, Rishipal says that he takes six bananas after one litre of water in the morning, then starts exercise. His breakfast includes baked badam, soya and multi-grams. He advises you to have solid breakfast in the morning. His special diet includes 1 ltr milk with 20 eggs.

Rishipal's  secret behind keeping this  envious body lies in this dictum :  No artificial sweets at all.  If I require glucose, I take it from natural sources like fruits.

With a wink of smile, Rishipal wraps up the chat with these concluding remarks : Even if you lure me with money  to skip these workouts, I don't ! 

What Rishipal says can't be dismissed as  it is a Science of Body !