International Yoga Day and the art of Yoga

International Yoga Day was celebrated on June 21. Being the longest day in the year in the Northern Hemisphere (Summer Solstice), June 21 has special significance in the perspective of Yoga. Earlier in 2011, The Art of Living foundation in a conference held in Bangalore had signed a proclamation to have the UN and UNESCO declare June 21 as the World Yoga Day. On December 11, 2014, India’s permanent representative at the UN General Assembly introduced the draft resolution and the text was adopted by other member states without a vote. So the day was born. June 21 – International Yoga Day.

A day before it, I got a SMS message from the Ministry of Ayush, Government of India. It states, “Rejuvenate with Yoga: it enriches the consciousness and makes one alert, aware and active. Live life to its full potential.”

Among other things, Yoga has one of the best exercises for flexibility of the muscles and joints. People who have a family history of rheumatism and people with stiff joints will do well to make Yoga a habit. Its regular practice will make the body pliable and supple and will prevent from regular aches and pains. Experts say it is best learned from a practitioner.

As one cartoonist illustrated, one guy tried to learn Yoga from a radio show. As the show-host described on the show, he put himself up into all sorts of convolutions of a Yoga pose. Finally, he is sitting all twisted up. To his dismay, he was told by the host that since the time is up he will tell it next week about coming out of this pose.


The amazing health benefits of garcinia cambogia

Man has this tendency of reinventing everyday stuff from time to time. It seems so, because, from common fruits and vegetables to the health benefits of exercising daily; people find everything to be of extreme use when it comes to solving their particular health problems.

Sometime ago, I came across the health benefits of grape seed extract. It has great value as an antioxidant, reduces the risk of cancer, increases the glow of your skin and even helps you to live longer. But why do we need to consume an extract? I do not know. Grape seed extract is expensive. While on the process of eating grapes one can simply chew down the seeds also. I tried it, and I find the bitter-sweet taste of grapes-plus-the-grape-seeds acceptable; at least from the standpoint of all the health benefits it gives.

Not so long ago, while surfing the internet I came across the health benefits of a thing called garcinia cambogia extract. No sooner than it, I found out this garcinia cambogia is also called malabar tamarind. Also known as kudam puli in Kerala, it is an indispensable ingredient for making regular fish curries. Every household in Kerala is supposed to have garcinia cambogia in their kitchen shelves.

According to people, garcinia cambogia is great for fat loss. It has an ingredient called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which promotes fat loss and inhibits the conversion of carbohydrates into fat. It helps to keep your blood sugar and cholesterol in check. It also increases the level of serotonin, a brain chemical, which may make you feel less hungry.

So does this garcinia cambogia really work?

Garcinia cambogia extract is a weight-loss product available on the medical or health supermarket shelves and finds favor with bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. It may work for certain people, but may not be worth the hype. Remember that it is only scientifically proven in animals to promote weight loss. The effect on humans is still debatable. Nevertheless, people who need to lose weight and who have this garcinia cambogia in their homes can try it out first thing in the morning. Those who are overweight and follow a diet and exercise program can safely add more of this stuff to their diet and observe its effectiveness.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Before starting any diet or exercise program you have to consult with your doctor.

The Maggi debacle and some afterthoughts on lead

Maggi is banned in Kerala among other Indian states. The name that was synonymous with noodles in India and a huge revenue earner for Nestle, the Swiss parent company, is desperately trying to stay afloat on the markets it once ruled.

As a school kid, I was used by the occasional Maggi promotional truck inside our school premises where the teachers would go out and enjoy Maggi noodles on our behalf. The students were not allowed by the headmaster.

Maggi noodles, according to India’s food safety regulator which ordered nationwide testing, contained more than permissible levels of both lead and MSG.

Lead has long been in debate for its pernicious nature. It was used in paints (and is still used!) and even used for coating household utensils to prevent corrosion and increase durability. But after being found to have detrimental effects on the cognitive abilities of children, it is totally banned in many developed countries including the United States.

Lead is a metal found on earth. So why is it considered harmful when other metals like iron, copper, and zinc are considered essential minerals for the human body? Well, one reason might be that it is not naturally occurring on the earth’s surface. Man had dug deep to bring it up.

Lead is poisonous on many counts and is considered a neurotoxin. Lead, even when ingested in small quantities can enter the cell cytoplasm, a process called inclusion, where it can potentially damage the cell’s genetic materials. As a result, our offspring might be born with genetic defects.

A few years ago, a Chinese-toymaker-businessman had committed suicide because of the losses he incurred in a contract with the American toymaker Fisher-Price. His shipment was disallowed after it was found to have more than permissible amounts of lead in the paint he used on the children’s toys.

A few weeks later, I was appalled while traveling through a small village in Kerala when I saw a smith’s shop-sign stating that they will lead-coat your household utensils! Knowledge disparity? Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NGOs, please take note.