When I was young, I and my brothers and sisters used to walk to school, which was around 3 - 3 and half Km. from home. I was working for a few years...again running to catch a bus or train and then walk for 20 mts. from the bus stop! I never thought it as stressful at that time...young age?! After my two sons joined school, I started doing exercises, which continues even now!
I learnt yoga seriously when I was 35. I was in Hosur at that time where I had many friends. We asked a master to come from Bangalore once a week and teach us yoga! I learnt Surya namaskara from him and do it even now! I feel that this has all the postures - important postures of yoga and activates all parts of our body. I used to do 12 namaskaras and it has reduced to 5 now, though. After doing other small exercises and yoga postures, I finish off with surya namaskara.
I thought since I take care of myself so carefully, I will always be healthy. But I became a diabetic at the age of 53 and BP also joined shortly. Stress? Maybe. It was after menopause. I have heard that many women get some sort of permanent ailment after menopause which hurt me a lot for a long time. Is it true? But I couldn't believe I had diabetes! But, thank god, I never felt weak. Learnt Sudarshana Kriya (Art of Living). It is very good. But after doing it promptly for 6 - 7 months, somewhere I stopped doing it! I am going for walks with my husband regularly and do cycling in the exercise cycle (regularly!). Sometimes we skip walking but I see to it that I do some sort of exercise everyday.
I noticed a few years back that I was waking up early, at about 2 or 3 am in the morning and never went back to sleep. This aggravated slowly and for the past 3-4 months I started full 'no sleep nights' continuously for 3 to 4 days often. I was not able to sleep even for 15 mts. in the afternoon. Then sleep again for 3,4,5 hours for a week or so and again 'no sleep' nights. My doctor asked me to have dinner early and walk for half an hour before sleeping. No, it didn't work. Hot water bath before sleep...oohmm, no, it didn't work. My Ophthalmologist asked me to take a tsp. of poppy seeds in hot milk before going to bed...I took it for more than a month. No reaction. More than not sleeping, I was worried about the side effects of it. Will my memory weaken...or some nervous problem crop up, etc. As per doctor's advice, I took .25 mg of Anxit for a few days. He said that it will regularise the sleep. I used to wake up at 1 am even after taking the tablet. Funny thing is, I never felt weak. I was doing the regular household work as usual. My relatives used to call me in the morning and ask 'thookkam?!' (sleep?). I don't like to watch TV at night. I read sometimes. But my eyes became tired after sometime. My son was playing 'sleep inducing' music...but it didn't help! Both husband and son used to look at my face often after 9 pm. If they think that I am feeling sleepy, they would switch off the TV, put ear plugs in my ears (they think that I might wake up with the stabilizer or road traffic sound!) and compel me to sleep. 10 mts. and I will wake up and sit up! Sometimes I was so restless that I was not able to even lie down peacefully.
Then one doctor told me, 'never go for sleeping pills, go for meditation, stop worrying about mundane things. Family means, problems will be there. You have to take care of your health.' My son took me to a 'therapautic yoga' teacher. She is a student of Yogacharya Krishnamaachari. She taught me breathing exercises. I practice this exercise everyday. I used to get headaches in the early mornings on 'no sleep' days earlier (it was not there in the morning!). I feel better mentally, now. I am back to the old active self, my relatives say. OK, I don't sleep for 7-8 hours, but at least for 5 hours, now!
I feel I am coming out of all health problems because of the Surya namaskara I was doing all these years and now breathing exercises. This is the first step to meditation, the yoga teacher said. I was going there once a week for 3 weeks. Now, once in two weeks.
Tension is the worst enemy. I had some skin problem, though it has reduced now, because of tension. No medicine can cure ailments which come because of tension. We must keep on telling ourselves that 'we will cross this phase soon'. Life is full of ups and downs.
Now, do warm up exercises, surya namaskara and then 'inhale....exhale' slowly'! You will feel good!
Picture courtesy: Wikipedia