YOGA AN EFFECTIVE TOOL TO FIGHT NCDS
The ancient Indian practice of Yoga can definitely help in the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which account for at least 70 percent of deaths worldwide. This is the firm belief of Swami Purnachaitanya- Director of Programmes and Senior International Trainer with the Art of Living Foundation. The World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics indicate that NCDs mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases are the main causes of death with more than 36 million dying annually. And the trends in NCDs morbidity and mortality in Botswana are no different from the global picture.The high burden of NCDs is attributed to a change in population lifestyles, which include physical inactivity because of the changing nature of work, alcohol, smoking and substance abuse particularly among the youth and pollution. While the problem of NCDs is a not an easy one because it is caused by so many factors including lifestyle choices, Purnachaitanya said exploring Yoga, as one of the possible solutions is worth it as it has the ability to bring together the body, soul and mind for a holistic approach to health and well-being, including physical, mental and spiritual realms of the human being. Almost 80 percent of most health problems are entirely created by stress, according to Purnachaitanya. That is why a holistic intervention like Yoga can contribute to building resilience against NCDs. “It allows for ‘real’ rest, deep restoration which brings us to balance and allow our bodies into a healing place. Yoga can definitely influence our entire lives and help us make shifts to live in a way that is better for us and cope with the challenges of life with more harmony and vitality,” he said interview recently during a visit to Botswana. “Yoga is not just a set of exercises. It is a philosophy of discipline and meditation that transforms the spirit and makes the individual a better person in thought, action, knowledge and devotion,” he said. Yoga, he added, is the most ancient practice that also increases the mental health and boosts immunity. When we are stressed, Purnachaitanya explains, our minds get agitated and we produce certain hormones in the body, which lower our immune system, affect our digestion, blood pressure and many other organs in the body. Highlighted in World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030, is that the routine practice of Yoga is a valuable tool for people of all ages to make physical activity an integral part of life and reach the level needed to promote good health. It claims that regular practice of Yoga and meditation fights the free radicals, regulates the blood glucose metabolism and prevents any heart disease. “So just by regular practice of some breathing techniques, Yoga meditation, people the world over have had huge improvements”, shares Purnachaitanya. The travelling teacher,who has dedicated his life to teaching Yoga around the world and serving humanity says, the practice of Yoga can also help fight stigma, especially the self-inflicted one. “It helps one to accept where they are in life and how they give meaning to life”.