Yoga helps improve flexibility, strength and endurance: Shammi Gupta

crop2_240x240_23may14Shammi Gupta is a Certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath from Yoga Vidya Niketan and has pursued her Masters in Yoga Shastra. She is the founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya where healthy living solutions incorporating a combination of yogic postures complimented with nutritional guidance on Sattvic food is taught. She has conducted various yoga and wellness workshops at Jaslok Hospital, ABP Cook Studio, Deloitte Consulting and other corporates and established groups in India and overseas.

Shammi Gupta has stood second in State Level Yoga Championship in 2012 and has done a Yoga Program for Doordarsan.

Shammi Gupta answered Sify readers’ queries related to the above in an exclusive chat. Read the transcript below.

Kindly give some suggestion to increase a child’s height. What and how it should be done?
Paschimottanasana & Tadasana are best recommended for increasing the height.

What is your advise for asthma patients in terms to yogasanas and also the diet?
Jal Neti, Kapalbhati, Shwasan Marg Shudhi etc. works best for asthma patient.

And please guide something for aged people between 60-70yrs. What yoga can they practise?
There are set of asanas for the older population which works on stimulating each and every part of the body. However, they can perform all the simple asana. They should do it slowly and with support.

I have two kids aged 10 and 12yrs. Can I start training them for yoga? What is the right age to get into yoga?
Kids can start from the age of 7 and 8.

How can yoga help me conceive a child I am 44 yrs female. Name some yogasanas for the same please.
All the relaxing postures and pranayama which can help you calm down completely. Will need more detail to comment further … medical history, pregnancy history, lifestyle etc.

And also suggest some yoga to get relief from menstrual pain.
Forward bending postures (take support of props in case required), restorative postures will help as well with the help of the props.

Hello Mam .. I get a lot of cramps especially at night when I sleep. Can I do some yogasanas to get rid of this?
Do standing postures. Also you can do Sarvangasana or any other postures in which your legs are pointing to the sky. Check your intake of water. That is also one of the reasons for cramps.

Which yogasana help to get relief from arthritis?
Do stretching postures

Madam can you please guide me as to how to do meditation, which is a form of Yoga? I lack concentration.
The best way to do is to fix a place where you will sit everyday almost at the same time for 5-10 mnts, close your eyes and be aware of the flow of your breathing. Let your thoughts come in the mind but you keep your focus intact on the breathing pattern only.

In a gym a cardiovascular activity is advised before starting a workout, does yoga also needs an cardiovascular activity like jogging or cycling?
5 – 10 minutes warm up is definitely a good idea.

Should Yoga be combined with weight training for weight loss or yoga alone can help?
Yoga alone can help. At the same time, it can also be combined with weight training. Your trainer can help you design accordingly.

Is it that yoga is more effective when done outdoors? How important is environment in Yoga?
Environment definitely plays an important role. You do feel great when you are doing at a place which is clean, peaceful, having a green surrounding with an open sky. However, you can practice it at home also trying to get maximum of these conditions.

What are the qualifications required if someone wants to take up Yoga as a profession or wants to become a Yoga teacher?
You definitely need to do teachers training course from some institute or can do B.A., M.A. in Yoga. However, the most important aspect is regular practice that will give you the hands on experience and make you a better yoga teacher.

What is the origin of Yoga and is that related to any particular religious belief?
Yoga is one of the branches of Indian Philosophy. It is part of Indian culture for centuries. However, it was Sage Patanjali who compiled it in the form of Patanjali Yoga Sutra. It is a philosophy and has nothing to do with religion.

My son aged 19yrs is underweight.. Can he gain weight through yoga?
I do think so. It is said in yoga that postures adapts as per your body constitution. If you need to lose weight, it helps in that. If you need to put on, it helps in that as well.

How is power yoga different from the normal yoga?
Power Yoga has an aerobic base in which there are good number of suryanamaskars. Other yoga like classical yoga is based on postures to be performed in moderation. Iyengar yoga focuses on alignment, technique and sequencing.

Good afternoon M’am. There are many types of yoga like power yoga, hath yoga, Iyengar yoga, etc. Which is the best to do?
The base for all yoga is the same. It has been interpreted differently by different schools of thought. Iyengar Yoga is definitely the best.

Which yogaasana is helpful for women with irregular periods?
Do all the asans which direct blood flow to the reproductive system like Baddhakonansan, setubandhasana, etc.

Please name a few yogasanas that need to be avoided by women.
They need to avoid any posture in which their legs are pointing up to the ceiling during menstrual cycle.

Is it true that women should avoid yogasanas with upside down positions to avoid blockages?
I have not come across anything as such.

How many times in a week should one practise yoga for best results?
Yoga can be done everyday of the week. However, designing your practice should be based on your final goal. Whether you are looking for flexibility, strength, endurance, breathing improvement etc. or combination of all, the asanas needs to be combined accordingly.

What is the best to have after yoga, juice, fruit, a meal or something else? Please tell me what is the best to consume after yoga?
If you are practicing in the morning, have your regular breakfast. If you are practicing in the evening, have your proper and complete dinner after the practice.

How many hours after yoga can we eat something?
You can eat after half an hour of yoga practice.

Should water be consumed before starting yoga exercise or while doing it?
you should not have too much water just before the practice as it will make you uncomfortable in some of the postures. You can sip water during your practice if the need be or if you are practicing for more than 30 minutes

crop1_240x240_23may14Cant yoga be practised in the late evening, that is between 8pm to 10pm, before dinner?
It is generally not recommended so late. However, you can do relaxing postures and restorative posture which will help you in your sleep.

Also please guide on the eating habits while doing yoga.
You need to eat sattvic diet – refers to food which is natural, juicy, seasonal, local, fresh. You need to be empty stomach before your practice and can eat normal food after half an hour of your practice.

What is the best yoga exercise for 40 plus working males that helps in good digestion of food?
All the asanas which gives good massage to your abdominal region are recommended for good digestion.

Can I learn yoga through online tutorials
May be but not sure how effective it could be as you will need somebody to check your postures and do proper alignment.

Should one be dieting along with yoga for the maximum effect?
One need to eat right and that has to be followed always whether you are practicing Yoga or not.

What are the foods to be taken before and after yoga?
You need to be empty stomach before practice. You can eat after half an hour of your practice – Proper normal food.

The best time to do yoga is early in the morning, but my work does not permit me. Can i do a session in the evening or night?
Evening is fine too. You have to make sure you are empty stomach for that.

what are the cautions to be taken care of while doing yoga so hat one doesn’t hurt oneself?
I have spoken about the general rules already. Make sure that your body is warmed-up before you get into stretching and holding. Check your breathing and the most important thing, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Stop at the point when body says so.

should one be extremely flexible to do yoga?
Not at all.. Yoga is not only about flexibility. It is also about strength, endurance, peace etc. One can start at any level and then slowly take forward.

Can Yoga be done for weight loss?
Absolutely, it can be done for weight loss. You would need to know the proper combination of the asanas.

Hello Maam kindly guide me towards boosting my energy level and physical strength.
Do Suryanamaskar regularly. You can do only few slowly by holding each posture and you can also do fast by your cardiovascular health.

I am chithra and 44 years old. Please can u suggest a yoga for reduction of Fat at the waist. I occassionally do surya namskar to the tune of 30 times at a stretch.
Do slow suryanamaskar, hold each posture of Suryanamskar for 30 seconds while engaging each and every part of your body. You can do Paripurna navasana (full boat), Ardha Navasana (half boat), Bhujangasana (cobra), Salbhasana etc. Also, watch your diet. That can be the main culprit.

Should non veg food be completely avoided while doing yoga?
Food is very much a cultural thing. There is no such hard and fast rule for this.

Can I refer to a Yoga DVD and do the yogic exercise or should I do it only under supervision?
If you are a beginner, it will a good idea to start with a well qualified teacher so that you can get the right knowledge the first time as that will do the job of establishing foundation for you. Once you are aware of the basic rules, you can always follow a DVD and decide for yourself if the respective Yoga DVD is suiting for you or not.

Can yoga be done during one’s menstrual cycle?
yes, Yoga can be very much done during menstrual cycle. Depending on your mood during menstruation, you can do almost everything or you can choose to do forward bending postures and restorative postures for relaxation. However, avoid any posture in which your legs are up pointing towards the ceiling.

What is the first or basic yogic exercise that a beginner in Yoga should do?
depends on lot of factors… your age, flexibility, strength, medical condition, past exercise experience etc. However, if you are new, go slow with the posture so that your body can learn that something is happening to it and can start cooperating and adapting slowly without posing any risk for injury.

Is it very important to remain empty stomach before doing any yogic exercise?
Yes however, you can have something light around an hour ago, say tea and biscuite as an example. After eating food, our blood flow is directed to the digestive system for digestion. Any other kind of activity will interfere with the process of digestion.

What are the basic rules to be followed while doing Yoga M’am?
Basic Rules of Yoga, You should have an empty stomach definitely 4-5 hours after a heavy meal. Your clothing should be less or lose so that you are comfortable in your movement during posture. You should be practicing yoga in a neat and clean area preferably open area The asanas should be followed in a particular sequence you should have perfect coordination of body movement and breathing during your practice You should know which asanas are not to be practiced in case you are suffering for any problem Each movement should be slow and well engaged No jerky movement Listen to your body, stretch a little more than your comfort zone Do not push too much

It is said that its very important to do breathing exercises everyday in the morning. Is pranayam and breathing exercises same or do they differ?
Ans: Breathing exercises refers to the exercises in which we are manipulating our breath. In Pranayama also, we are manipulating our breath however, at the same time, we are also retaining our breath. Both are different.

I am not so flexible woman. I am aged 24yrs. How can I increase my flexibility?
Suridhi, you are young enough to work on your flexibility. Start working on the asanas which brings flexibility. Choose the asana which will work on different muscles and muscle group and practice it regularly. You will soon see the result.

Is eating sattvic food very essential if we are doing yoga?
Even if we are not doing yoga, still we should have sattvic food on a regular basis for our own general well being.

Hi Madam, Can you please tell me what is exactly sattvic food?
Sattvic food refers to pure, clean and wholesome food. It is natural, easily digestible, light & juicy in nature. As it is believed that food affects mind. Sattvic food promotes sattvic nature in you, brings energy, strength and determination.

1) i am a male 54 years old and would like to reduce my tummy what are the simple asanas should i do 2 ) what are the asnas for getting good sleep
For Reducing Tummy, you can do Purna Navasana (full boat), Ardha Navasana (half boat), Bhujangasana. (be careful in case of back pain). Yoga Nidra and Tratak (candle gazing) are the best way to get good sleep.

what is the best yoga to adopt for controling blood pressure.
Depending on the current level of BP, many breathing exercises and relaxing postures can be practiced. Ujjayi Pranayama is one of the most recommended Pranayama for BP, popular for showing immediate result. Apart from that, Jiva Mudra, Singha Mudra, Alternate Nostril Breathing, Chandra Bhedan & Brahmari breathing also shows great result.

Hi Mam, Is it possible to practice Yoga in the breaktime (20 mins ) in office?
absolutely possible, you can practice office yoga and also eye exercises during the break.