Exercising the mind, body and soul
In the daily stress and busyness of everyday life, exercise might often slip down in the list of one’s priorities. In my opinion, some bit of daily exercise, regardless of form, is critical for maintaining not just a healthy body but a healthy mind and soul as well. In today’s post, I not only share my experience and insights, but also posts written by three fitness experts and dear friends of mine Mini Shastri, Jill Hui, Vesna Jacob.
To begin with, here is a quick glimpse at my own daily fitness regimen. This is something I enjoy and is well-suited to my PCOS diagnosis. I do cardiovascular exercises combined with weights training and kickboxing. Aside from being a fun exercise, I actually reduced my fat percentage by kickboxing all summer. For fat loss interval training is extremely effective. It consists of high-low intensity activity. Combine cardio workouts with weight training, which will add definition and tone your muscles and allow fat to burn faster and through the day.
Another wonderful form of exercise, for mind, body and soul is yoga. Here is what yoga guru Mini Shastri, who I have known for 25 years says: “There is an instruction that I repeat in every class I teach in several different ways: Power your asana posture (no matter how challenging) keeping the softness in your breath. Yoga has anti-ageing qualities and by balancing the nervous system tackles the root cause of many diseases. It stimulates each system, helps the mighty lymphatic and immune system, and creates intricate balance in our endocrine system (especially adrenals and thyroid). It works at a level beyond the muscles tone and flexibility. It brings fluctuating emotions, temperaments which are in our control and add a point of stillness – strengthening the mind-body integrity, creating a foundation for a healthy body and a positive outlook on life.”
With yoga comes meditation, which is essential for a healthy mind and soul, and for ensuring peace of mind and positivity. My dearest friend Jill Hui of @Totally Gorgeous Girl! says meditation alters the brain in many positive ways. “When we meditate, we activate the pre-frontal cortex of the brain — the seat of high thinking – releasing neurotransmitters, including dopmanine (anti-depressant) serotonin (self-esteem), oxytocin(pleasure), melatonin (regulating our sleep pattern) to name but a few. No single medical drug can incorporate all of these at the same time. When the mind, body and spirit are in harmony happiness is natural. Meditation is gradual and requires patience but as the process deepens you will enjoy ease and synchronicity in your life – these are signs that you are connected to your own being.
In 2008, I also started Pilates with Vesna Jacob. I loved doing Pilates with her, but unfortunately had to give up my training because I moved to London for a couple of years. This is how she explains the benefits Pilates: “This is a technique invented 90 years a go by Joseph H. Pilates. Originally called Body Contrology by Pilates himself, it focuses on improving flexibility and strength for overall body, but doesn’t build bulk. It is a low impact way of exercising which is easily adjusted to everyone’s physical conditions which makes it suitable for any age group or physical condition. It focuses on the core of the body which represents deep abdominal muscles, transverse muscles and back muscles. Therefore, it is very effective equally for people who are recovering, starting or are the exercise veterans and are looking for challenging workouts.” Vesna’s workouts are fun, safe and very effective and benefit the mind, body and soul in all 3 planes.
Make exercise a part of your daily regime. The key is being consistent with your workouts – Four to five days a week, 1 hour a day. The trick is to find a form of exercise that YOU enjoy and stick to it.
Have a workout regime that works for you? Tell me in the comments below or use #stayrealstayyou on Instagram @shagunkhanna