Public health doctor and yoga teacher Dr. Sakthidharan Paramasivam Karunanithi on why the ancient art of yoga is more relevant than ever in the modern world…
Self care has become so important these days. Many modern illnesses can be prevented and managed well if we remain active, eat, sleep and work well, and can find a way to cope with stress better.
Who would have thought that yoga, an ancient practice of gentle stretches, breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation, has such an important role to play in maintaining and improving our health and well-being?
Originating in India over 5000 years ago, yoga has become increasingly popular in the western world since the beginning of the 20th century. It offers a complementary set of approaches for remaining well, preventing and managing non-communicable diseases and beating stress in the 21st century.
I’ve seen my own transformation since taking up yoga practice regularly.
I’ve become more aware of my own body and am able to manage the stresses of daily life better and think more creatively. Even better, I’ve been able to lose a few kilograms of weight too, and stay there!
Yoga comprises simple exercises, breathing, relaxation and meditation techniques. Here, I discuss the top five reasons why I think yoga is a great self care tool for everyone, including doctors and nurses.
Yoga can be practised with few (if any) side effects!
Yoga has remained part of our society for over 5000 years and offers a natural, no-nonsense, time-tested exercise that can complement modern medicine.
It can improve both mental and physical health
Fundamentally, yoga helps achieve balance, strength and regulates inflammatory and stress responses in our body – root causes of many modern-day illnesses. From lowering blood pressure to improving flexibility to easing stress and anxiety…the reported benefits are wide-ranging. People who practice yoga regularly also often say they have a sense of fulfilment, love and compassion towards others and the nature.
Yoga is low-tech and low cost
You can practise those deep breaths at your desk, at the bus stop and anywhere in between! (Although there are now great digital tools that can help enhance your yoga skills too).
It’s easy to learn
Simple asanas, breathing exercises and taking a moment to be mindful is all you need to learn from a qualified teacher, and practise regularly to experience the difference it makes.
All ages and stages can have a go
Contrary to popular opinion, yoga isn’t just for fit and flexible people. Nor does one need to belong to any particular religion, faith or even be spiritual to do it. It offers such a wide range of choice to fit everyone’s needs and preferences. There are simple practices one can adopt across all ages, from tiny children to pensioners.
To find out more, including information on how to find a yoga class near you, please visit A guide to yoga – NHS. If you would like to enquire about the programmes I run, please email firstname.lastname@example.org