Karthik Patel, all of 42, is a healthy man. He plays tennis every morning with a friend in his condo and rides to his office on a bicycle whenever possible. He also undergoes a full body medical check up every four months.
Many of you might be able to identify with Karthik and his lifestyle. Why would a fit person like Karthik need to undergo a medical check up frequently? I asked him. He said he wanted to rule out any health anomaly that could be lurking. Fair enough. Everyone does it. We are wary of lifestyle diseases these days that have more mortality rate than communicable diseases. In a survey conducted by WHO in 2014, it was found that 60 per cent of deaths in India were from non-communicable diseases. It went on to say that the probability of an Indian dying from one of the four major non-communicable disease—diabetes, stroke, cancer and respiratory problems—was 26 per cent.
It is not surprising then that doctors encourage this trend of medical check ups. At a woman's day event on women's health recently, the obstetrician was quite firm on regular pap smears and breast examinations.
This was unheard of to a generation before us. That includes the physicians. They relied heavily on symptoms. It's true, however, that the diagnostic procedures and machines at that time were far inferior to what we have now.
Body, as every physician would agree, is an intelligent mechanism. It bounces back to near normal even after complicated medical procedures. The body informs us of any anomaly through symptoms. But, many a times, we fail to identify the symptoms. Or ignore them. Once a breast cancer survivor told me with regret how she simply ignored a lump near her armpit which almost took her life.
The question we should ask ourselves is, why are we so disconnected with things that are important to us, especially our own body? We are busy with our lives, work and gadgets. When we take a break from work, we are unwilling to unplug for fear of missing out on the world. We have become strangers to ourselves. We are often deaf to what our body is trying to telling us. Even when it comes to exercising, we seek out activities that stimulate us.
Here is how yoga can help you. Yoga is a journey inwards. Regular yoga practice will make you more and more aware of your environment. It keeps your mind calm while making your body agile. You become more sensitive to what is happening inside your body. When you are so connected with your body, there is no chance that the physical symptoms of diseases go unnoticed. Give at least 30 minutes of your time regularly to doing yoga asanas. Roll your mat. Let the breath clear your mind. All you stand to lose is fat medical bills.