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Feeling HOT HOT HOT!

European doctors told him that he would never walk again.  A severe injury to his knee during a weight lifting accident surely was to confine Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury to life in a wheelchair from the tender age of 17.  Astonishingly, six months later his knee had fully recovered.  Bikram knew if anyone could assist him with his broken knee it was his yoga teacher Bishnu Ghosh – from his College of Physical Education in Calcutta.  Ghosh, the first person to scientifically document Yoga’s ability to cure chronic physical ailments and heal the body, had taught Bikram the art of Yoga since he was only four years of age.

A model student of Ghosh, Bikram was asked to start several Yoga schools in India.  Their success was such that Bikram travelled to Japan and opened two more.  Since then he has brought his curative methods of Yoga Therapy around the world.

Val Sklar discovered Bikrams Yoga classes at age 27 after a broken hip 14 years earlier was beginning to create considerable discomfort from degenerative arthritis.  Sklar was told to prepare herself for the inevitable hip replacement and until that time to endeavour the deterioration as best she could by exercising within her pain threshold.  After 6 months of Bikrams Yoga her pain had disappeared and her joints remained healthy so long as she continued practicing.  The overwhelming results achieved by this form of exercise convinced Sklar to forgo her corporate career and she became a Bikram teacher in Pasadena, India in 1998.

This sounds astounding, so what is Bikram Yoga?
Bikram Yoga is a system of 26 postures, performed in a standard sequence.  It is a fairly vigorous style of yoga and requires a certain level of fitness on the part of the students.  As with many forms of yoga it has the benefits of improving strength and flexibility, reducing stress, promoting relaxation and it is claimed that regular practice of Bikrams Yoga can reduce the symptoms of arthritis, diabetes and even thyroid problems.  

However, one of the major differences between Bikrams and other types of Yoga is the fact that the room it is performed in is heated to temperatures of up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  In fact Bikrams Yoga is also known by many as
“Hot Yoga”.  

I get warm enough with normal yoga, why would I want to exercise in a sauna style setting?

A Bikram class is intentionally heated to warm muscles and allow you to exercise your tendons, ligaments and muscles more deeply and safely.  This is designed to help prevent injuries, and the profuse sweating is argued to flush toxins from your body increasing your general health and well being.

A novel concept that is fast gaining momentum throughout the globe, however you may have to wait a while until you get the opportunity to trial a class in New Zealand.  There are currently only a handful of centres practicing this type of Yoga throughout this country.  And by the way... if you are embarrassed to be seen sweating in public, perhaps go and spin on a bike at the gym instead!


Vitamin Deficiency - The Cure

We all know the importance of a well balanced diet, and that if we do not eat the right type and variety of foods it can affect our physical health right?  Now how do we all know this?  Very few of us have ever studied nutrition.  Is it...

a) Mum has been harping on about eating our veges for years?
b) We are told to eat 5 servings a day by the media and what we read in the paper is always right?
c) All of the above! 

But do we really know the importance of a well rounded diet ... so what if we don't get enough Vitamin C, it's not really going to matter is it?  We can always take a multi vitamin, that will fix it aye?  Well perhaps.  

For those that do have a less that adequate diet, supplements can be very useful in maintaining optimum levels of health.  Additionally, for those performing at elite levels of sport and endurance it can become difficult to gain the required nutrients purely through dietary intake.  However, the most recommended procedure with which to gain a balance of vitamins and minerals is still through your diet.  The table below outlines a number of nutrients, and the recommended foods to increase the presence of these nutrients in your body.  It also lists common signs and symptoms of vitamin deficiency.  Are you suffering from a vitamin deficiency?

Nutrient Deficiency Sign / Symptom Food Source
Vitamin A Dryness of Eyes, Dry Skin Spinach, cabbage, milk, eggs, beetroot
Vitamin B Fatigue, Anxiety, Headache, Skin Rashes, Depression Meat, green leafy veges, wholegrain cereals
Vitamin C Depression, Easy Bruising Citrus fruits, green veges
Vitamin E Anaemia Lettuce, eggs, soy products, dairy products
Calcium Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Poor Bones, Poor Teeth Low fat dairy or soy products, green leafy veges, salmon
Chromium Abnormal Blood Sugar, high cholesterol Cheese, meat, whole grains, black pepper
Iron Anaemia, Fatigue, Apathy, Hair Problems, Ridged Nails Legumes, parlsey, meat, fish, poultry, egg yolk, soy products
Magnesium Anxiety, tremors, eyelid twitches, insomnia, fatigue, muscle cramps, constipation Green leafy veges, Soy products, seafood
Manganese Hypoglycaemia Green leafy veges
Potassium Poor Appetite, Fatigue, constipation, muscle cramps Green leafy veges, tomatoes, wholegrains
Selenium Inhibit thyroid metabolism Biodynamic garlic, onions, or may require a supplement
Zinc Poor growth, low immune function, reduced sex drive, sleeping disorders, loss of taste, smell, poor hail & nails Parsley, peas, garlic, seafood, poultry, nuts, pumpkin seeds