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Martial art has always been an art that kept our jaws dropped; the swift hand movements, graceful yet tricky foot works and the journey to find inner peace. Tai chi is a form of martial arts that circles in the philosophy of yin and yang to increase the qi or chi (which means life force of an entity) through gentle and graceful movements. That’s right, no breaking of bones or repeated punching of the opponents. Although it originated as a martial art, now Tai Chi for health is being exercised by over 2 billion people worldwide.
Since the global promotion of the health benefits of Tai Chi in the early 20th century, the majority interest has shown inclinations more towards personal wellness rather than defense training.
Philosophy of Tai Chi
Its principles are drawn to softness, patience, yielding, balance, tranquility and centeredness. The manifestation of all these aspects allows one to master Tai Chi.
The philosophy of Tai Chi martial art is centered on the attitude that by using hardness to resist a force, the injury is done on both sides. Instead, one should meet the opponent in its softness and follow its motion until the incoming force is exhausted. Surprisingly the lesson is to defeat strong with pliable.
Tai Chi for health institutes the same philosophy towards the wellness of the body.
Why is Tai Chi practiced for a healthy life?
This ancient Chinese art is based on three aspects: body (jing), energy (chi) and spirit (Shen). You are not practicing on body alone but on energy too, a well-combined exercise of meditation and movement. In China, people believe that Tai Chi can delay aging and prolong longevity. This exercise is adaptable to any age groups.
People are turning to Tai Chi to improve their health for its gentle and non-strenuous applications which has shown a positive effect on balance, flexibility, muscle strength and relieving stress. It has also significantly reduced pain and minimised the degree of depression in some cases.
- More balance: We do not always fall because we stumble on something, but our body normally stays out of balance when we are not mindful. Tai Chi can help in reducing falls by correcting our posture. This is potentially beneficial to help in reducing elderly people from falling and tripping often.
- Chronic heart failures: Though there are no definite conclusions that this therapy acts as a preventive measure against cardiovascular diseases it is evident that practicing Tai Chi is an advantage in keeping checks on one’s blood pressure and heart rates.
- Reduction of chronic pain: A significant impact has been recorded to improve chronic pain by arthritis. A twelve-week course demonstrated bettering the stiffness and pain symptoms of the knee caused by osteoarthritis.
- Reduced signs of fibromyalgia: Adhering to its philosophy of tranquility the practice of Tai Chi helps to calm the mind inducing a sound sleep to sleep-deprived fibromyalgia patients. This therapy also improves other symptoms like anxiety, numbness, headaches, fatigue, concentration and memory problems.
- Stress buster: Stress is one of the most common and deadliest silent killers regardless of age. Practicing Tai Chi has been found to make stress go away. There is no direct record of reduction of stress, but subject studies have shown that mental control helped in distracting the mind to give attention elsewhere.
- Seated Tai Chi: Good news for those who cannot exercise because they are confined to wheelchairs and also for those who are bound to work chairs. Without getting up, you can relieve yourself from stress, improve oxygen intake, balance blood pressure and build muscle strength. This technique involves stretching the upper body gently along with slow and graceful movement of the arms.
If your strength is perseverance, then you are already halfway through the course because this is a slow and challenging exercise. It may take years for you to get into the principles of healing through this therapy completely.
And if you are impatient, you could start looking forward to attaining one of Tai Chi’s principles which are ‘patience’ and move forward in completing the full course.
One can always have faith in this ancient practice because there is a plausible explanation as to why it still has a profound impact on human well being. The Tai Chi for Health Institute offers a good place to learn and teach Tai Chi martial arts therapy.
Atop the Vindhyagiri hills in Karnataka, a 57-foot-tall statue stands. This is the statue of Lord Gomateshwara, or Bahubali, as he is known to the local patrons. The surrounding area is filled with temples where each of the many Jain Tirthankaras sits.
Sharavanabelagola is named after a pond that is located at the foothills. 'Bel' in Kannada means white, and 'kola' means pond. This is a sacred water body to the activities of the temples. It is a tourist attraction and a pilgrim destination located 85 kilometres from Mysore, and 145 kilometres from the capital, Bangalore.
The pond that Sharavanabelagola is named after Image source: wikimedia commons
Since the statue is placed at such a great height, pilgrims are made to make a journey to the top of the hill by foot. They are required to climb the stone steps barefoot as an act of piety and devotion. Palanquins are offered only to senior citizens who wish to worship at the temple.
In 3 B.C, when India was ruled by the Mauryan Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya became a Jain monk and took up residence in the Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri hills. He is supposedly responsible for the establishment of the temple complex at Shravanabelagola, where he lived till he died. Later on, his grandson, Ashoka made some additional changes to the place.
A shop in the tourist section that sells handmade items Image source: wikimedia commons
Every twelve years, a Mahamastabhisheka is conducted, and Jains from every part congregate to witness it. The statue is washed with water, rice flour, sugarcane juice, saffrom, sandalwood paste, gold, and silver flowers, curd, ghee, milk, and turmeric, and all the monks offer special prayers. The surrounding temples and rocks are preserved as archaeological wonders owing to the 800 edicts and inscriptions found here which span 600 to 1830.
Keywords: Shravanabelagola, Jainism, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, Karnataka
By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash
Written for a global audience, the book is targeted at kids between the ages of five and 10, the reason it is embellished with colourful images of families of different types is to appeal to children's sense of sight and drive home the message at the same time. Borthakur believes children are the best place to start because the ages between five and 10 are the most formative, where little ones pick up habits, beliefs and perceptions.
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Book, children, Guwahati, Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories, moral, story, kids, discrimination, equality
If you feel that clean and well-groomed hands are just an essential prerequisite for women, you might like to think twice. Men should equally pay attention to their hands because our hand houses 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of its skin. You can easily assume what havoc it can create in our body because in India we have the culture of eating with our hands and spaces beneath nails can become breeding heaven for germs. Moreover, clean and maintained hands boost confidence in their daily life activities. Therefore, it's important to keep your hands clean irrespective of your gender by washing or sanitizing at regular intervals. And, to keep them groomed, you don't have to visit a salon.
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. | Photo by Aurélia Dubois on Unsplash
* Clip your nails regularly: Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. After cutting your nails at a comfortable length also file them using a nail filer. Never share your nail care clipper as the germs can get transferred to your loved ones. Also, don't forget to use grime remover to remove hidden germs in corners and beneath nails. Also, you may like to file your nails to have a smooth finish.
* Good quality Nail Clipper: Do not use a rusted or chromium coated nail clipper as it might be harmful to skin and might cause dangerous bacterial infections.
* Stop the habit of nail chewing: Sometimes anxiety or extreme boredom can lead to chewing of nails. This habit only makes your nails uneven and ugly. Sometimes, our unclean nail folds give rise to viral, bacterial or fungal infections, which in turn can make us sick if we chew our nails.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Exfoliate your hands: Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. You can buy a scrub or make one at home using brown sugar and olive oil. After scrubbing, you need to massage your hands with moisturizer.
Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. | Wikipedia
* Don't use your nails as tools: Always keep in mind that your nails are like jewels. Never use them to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters, or scraping off labels. This results in unnecessary breakage of nails, making your hands look dirty.
Never use your nails to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters or scraping off labels. | Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle