Monday November 20, 2017

Week-long celebrations to mark the Third Edition of International Yoga Day in Belgium and Luxembourg

Yoga. Wikimedia

Brussels, April 25, 2017: Week-long celebrations will be held in Belgium, Luxembourg and prominent European Union institutions to mark the third edition of International Yoga Day on June 19, the organisers said here on Tuesday.

The Indian Embassy in Brussels will organise the events in close cooperation with yoga institutes, schools and universities in various Belgian cities, including Brussels, Antwerp, Durbuy, Ghent, Leuven, Kortrijk, Enghien, Liege, Mons, and in Luxembourg from June 17 to June 25.

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The flagship event of the third International Day of Yoga will be held at Bois de la Cambre park in Brussels on June 18, where the programme will include a public yoga session followed by specific mini-Yoga sessions emphasising the different aspects of yoga.

Rakesh Kumar Arora, Counsellor and Charge d’ Affaires at the Indian embassy in Brussels, said 6,000 yoga enthusiasts participated in the various Yoga events held in Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU last year.

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He recalled that in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his address at the United Nations General Assembly had defined Yoga as “India’s gift to the world” and had urged global leaders to observe an International Day of Yoga.

In a positive response, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in December 2014 designating June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. (IANS)

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Benefits of Trikonasana: Channeling Inner Strength, Stamina and Stability With Yoga

What exactly is yoga? Is it a religion, a philosophy, a practice or an ideology? Is it a way of life?

Practice of yoga is believed to heighten the spirit and the body.
The term Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word 'yuj' meaning to connect, join, or balance. Wikimedia
  • Yoga is a 5000-year old Indian body of knowledge
  • This combination of mental, physical and spiritual practices hold the key to a healthier life
  • The Trikonasana focuses on the mind, body, and soul of the yogi

New Delhi, August 10, 2017: I am a hurtler, and it comes naturally to me.  My days were always divided into two segments- a part that fast-forwarded through every task and the other which was rather dull and long. Once I was out of the bed, I hurtled through my morning routine and sped through every task scheduled. This was usually followed by long hours sitting at my workstation. The problem with this go-go-go attitude and then the sluggish stance was that it put me in a frantic state, leaving me worn out by the end of the day.

This went on for a few months. All this while, I kept saying, ‘My back hurts when I get up from bed’. ‘Maybe I’ve been sitting on my desk for too long, my lower back hurts’. ‘My bag is too heavy and my shoulders ache now’- words that I later realized were only another way of saying that I needed to establish a healthy routine.

Climbing stairs was exhausting, and it hurt more mentally than physically because I was not old yet, and I should have been fine doing it.

These realizations then began to be predictably followed by – “I am going to do yoga every morning, I am sure that will help.”

But I didn’t.

I talked about it all the time, read extensively about it in the Internet. Even got myself a yoga mat. I did everything to be ready for my promised early-morning-yoga-sessions, but I made zero efforts to actually do yoga.

It took me a while to recognize that things weren’t getting better. So, I decided to own up, and finally get to business, if even for 10 minutes daily in the morning. Studies suggest that doing yoga can relieve anxiety and increase flexibility and I was willing to try.


I began getting up early and diligently joined my mother for her morning sessions. After meticulously doing yoga for a month, I observed that it,

  1. Lowers stress and improves mood
  2. Boosts confidence
  3. Lowers risk of injury
  4. Helps lose weight
  5. Increases flexibility
  6. Improves strength and helps tone muscles
  7. Improves posture
  8. Supplements breathing and helps keep blood pressure in check

The Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar very aptly puts it, “Health is not a mere absence of disease. It is a dynamic expression of life-in terms of how joyful, loving and enthusiastic you are.”

One yoga asana that specifically helped me target and cure my back and shoulder trouble and has now made it to my favorite list is the TRIKONASANA.

The asana is pronounced as Tree-cone-ah-sah-nah

Trikonasana is the triangle pose
Trikonasana against the sunsent at Sunset. Wikimedia

In the Hindu mythology, the triangle is a forceful symbol and the three sides of the triangle represent the three forces of the universe,

  • The creative force Brahma
  • The sustaining force Vishṇu
  • The destroyer and force of change Shiva

Taking on similar lines, the triangle pose signifies focusing on the mind, body and soul of the yogi, its qualities being strength, the ability to support weight and the capacity to resist pressure.

Unlike most other yoga postures, this asana requires the eyes to be kept open.

It is known to stimulate all the abdominal organs, and helps in treating diabetes. The asana also assists in better digestion, and helps reduce waist fat, and enhance spinal flexibility.

However, one should avoid doing this if suffering from high or low blood pressure, migraine, neck or back injuries.

How to do the Trikonasana (Triangle pose)

  1. Stand straight with your feet comfortably wide apart.
  2. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees.
  3. Ensure that your feet are pressed against the ground and the body weight is balanced equally in both the feet.
  4. Inhale deeply, and raise both your arms from the sides, bringing them in line with your shoulders.
  5. As you exhale, bend your upper half to touch the right toe with the left hand, while the right hand points straight upwards.
  6. Now turn your head to look at the right hand in the air.
  7. Make sure both your knees are straight when you perform this posture.
  8. Hold the posture for as long as you can, as you breathe normally. Then repeat the same with the other side.

Trikonasana must not be performed if one has a neck or back injury.
The Trikonasana. In this posture, the yogi can either touch the ground, as depicted in the image, or touch their toes. Wikimedia

Benefits of the Trikonasana

  • Strengthens legs, knees, chest, and arms.
  • Stretches and moves the muscles of the legs, hamstrings, calves, hips, shoulders, chest, and spine.
  • Increases mental and physical equilibrium.
  • Reduces anxiety, stress, and back pain.

ALSO READ: Here’s how the Science links Yoga to Happiness!

As a beginner, there are a few things you can do to make the experience enjoyable, and perform the asana in the right manner,

  • Throughout the asana, ensure that your back is totally straight.
  • Do not twist along the hips while twisting the body. Only your legs move.
  • As a beginner, it might help to keep the back of your torso or heel touched against a wall to keep steady in the pose.

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Here is a List of Food to Counter Depression and Stress: Try them out!

If your depression doesn't take a backseat, here are some nutrient dense food which can help you in your fight



  • Depression is still the most overlooked and underrated issue in the World constituting one of the major reason for suicides in the recent years
  • Research proves a major role of nutrition or the effect of the food we consume in combating depression biologically
  • Eating healthy and balanced can be the first step towards self-treatment prior to seeking help

Ahmedabad, July 30, 2017: Sadness and loneliness have become rampant in the urban lifestyle but it can be dodged with few simple tricks. Depression is much more than momentary grief or sadness.

There are 7 stages of depression and the symptoms of depression are visible prominently. Many of us remain clueless when it comes to dealing with depression.  It is a state of low mood and abhorrence to activity that can contribute to a person’s inner bliss, contentment and sense of well-being.

People with a depressed mood may also feel particularly hopeless, helpless, despondent, self-persecuted or worthless. To many, it may sound like a fancy term with no meaning. Mental health, one of the most important things in life is the least talked about issue.

ALSO READ: What not to say to a grieving person in depression

According to WHO, more than 300 million people are suffering from depression globally. It is the root cause of distress, disability, and suicide all around the world. Unfortunately, India ranks first in unipolar depressive disorders.

Depression has been linked to problems or imbalances in the brain, specifically with the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. In the 1960s, the “catecholamine hypothesis” was a popular explanation for depression. According to this hypothesis, a deficiency of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine in certain regions of the brain was responsible for depression.

Lack of support of people from society combined with a fear of social stigma; prevent many from seeking the treatment they need, to live a happy, healthy and productive lives. The effective treatments include therapies, medications and lifestyle changes. Nutrition forms an inevitable part of our lifestyle.

The relationship between food, mind and soul and its effect on Vedic Chakra System, the seven energy centers or chakras within our body is well reported. The Root Chakra is majorly associated with mental health and an imbalance can cause depression and anxiety attacks. Feeding our chakras is the sole most priority for a happy life. Healthy foods are natural anti-depressants and can boost mental health by releasing GABA, serotonin, and dopamine.

Here are 8 foods which can boost your mood and help you fight depression and give it a backseat:

  1. FISH

Grilled Fish. Pixabay

Countries with high fish consumption such as Japan, China, and Peru have the lowest depression rate in comparison to countries with lower fish consumption such as North America. Depression has been linked to suboptimal levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Cold-water fatty fishes like salmon and sardines are the best dietary source of Omega-3. Deficiency of omega-3, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is linked to depression and mental disorder. Vegetarians can replace fish or fish oil with flax (Alsi) seeds in fruits and salads as an alternative source.


Roasted Turkey. Pixabay

The reason behind that delicious and sleep stealer Thanksgiving dinner is due to the presence of tryptophan in the Turkey which happens to be the precursor of serotonin in our brain which in turn produces melatonin responsible for the post-Thanksgiving coma and uplift our mood. However, vegans can find better alternatives to turkey in soy, pumpkin, walnuts, tomato, potato, mushrooms, cucumber and leafy greens.



Tryptophan is a magical amino acid (building blocks of protein) having multiple benefits such as relieving depression, anxiety, irritability, stress, behavioral problems and premenstrual syndrome. It can be found in tofu, cheese, mushrooms, and potatoes as well.



A food item made form Quinona. Pixabay


Quinoa is the seed of Chenopodium plant (Bathua) but as it is not an indigenous crop, it is not found in India. Indians then can use similar substitutes such as millets, brown rice, and buckwheat. Quinoa is a gluten-free replacement. It is rich in protein, magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and Omega-3 which helps in the release of serotonin and can make you sleep faster. The high magnesium content of quinoa controls blood pressure, mood disorders, and PMS. A happy mood is all which comes with a pack of Quinoa seeds.



Green tea. Pixabay


Good news for the tea drinkers! Not only the antioxidants present in the tea but also the presence of an amino acid known as theanine having depression fighting properties makes them euphonious negating the effect of caffeine. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is another active component present in green tea which is proven to combat depression.


Sweet Potato. Pixabay

Gluten and mental health are associated. The theory suggests that the damage from gluten in the digestive system allows substances to leak out from the stomach and migrate to the brain, which some could call depression. Foods like sweet potatoes, eggs, rice, fruits, vegetables, and beans are naturally gluten-free and great sources of nutrition. Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of complex carbohydrate, high in vitamin B6 that contains L-tryptophan.

Rather than munching on sweets and simple carbohydrates, choose complex carbohydrates, such as those found in fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods and legumes must be consumed. The body converts carbohydrates into glucose more slowly than simple carbohydrates which result in less of blood sugar rise.



Moms were always right when they said, “Hari sabzia khaao!” (Eat green vegetables)  and Popeye’s  love for spinach was not unreasonable.  Green vegetables are a rich source of Vitamin C and B. Vitamin plays a key role in your brain health. Vitamins that are particularly important for brain include Vitamin C, Vitamin D and B Complex Vitamins. They are high in magnesium, B vitamins and they promote a happy mood naturally because they contain soul and mind enriching properties by nature.


Chocolates. Pixabay

Chocolates are always the answers to everything irrespective of the question! Chocolates have the best mood boosting effects! All the chocoholics tend to eat more of them as a part of self-treatment when feeling depressed. Moreover, depression stimulates chocolate cravings for unrelated reasons, without a treatment benefit of chocolate. While chocolate itself might cause a mood boost, certain ingredients added during manufacturing, such as trans fats, could nullify or even reverse the mood benefits, according to a research.

A healthy mind gives rise to a healthy body. Want to make this your mantra?

– by Harshi Jaiswal of NewsGram

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Kochi to Host India’s Biggest Integrative Ayurveda and Allopathy Conference on Aug 6

It is believed that integrative medicinal practice can be a win-win combination of western medicine and Indian ancient healing sciences.

Amrita Samyogam 2017 aims integrating Ayurveda with Allopathy.
The Conference aims at building strategies in the management of specific diseases like cancer, arthritis, and diabetes. Pixabay
  • Humanity currently facing enormous healthcare challenges
  • The Conference will bring together allopathic doctor, Ayurveda practitioners, and modern scientists 
  • Aims at the formulation of guidelines for integrative medical practice

Kochi, July 28, 2017: Kochi’s Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences is all set to host India’s biggest conference on integrative Ayurveda and modern medicine this year! The two-day event, titled Amrita Samyogam 2017, to be inaugurated by the Union Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Yasso Naik, will have 60 experts and 1,000 delegates from around the world in attendance.

The Conference, held in collaboration with Amrita University’s School of Ayurveda, will bring together Ayurveda practitioners, allopathic doctors and modern scientists. The aim is to identify strategies to integrate Ayurveda with allopathy for the management of cancer, auto-immune diseases like diabetes, arthritis, neuro-degenerative diseases and mental health.

Director, Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine, Amrita University, Prof. Shantikumar Nair believes that integrating ancient India’s Ayurveda with evidence-based modern science can “revolutionize world healthcare”. Integrative medicine is becoming a popular specialty among Western countries’ physicians as it focuses on healing by investigating the root cause rather than merely treating symptoms. “It is much more patient-centric and can positively impact chronic and lifestyle diseases for which modern medicine has now answers”, he says.


Amrita School of Ayurveda in Kochi is organising India's biggest integrative healthcare initiative.
The two-day festival is an attempt to develop guidelines for integrative medical practice. Image Source : YouTube

Focus Areas

The Conference will focus on-

  1. Identifying areas for integration of modern technological tools in Ayurvedic diagnostics, treatment procedures and drug delivery.
  2.  Evidence-based practice guidelines for cross-referrals and combination therapy, 
  3. Understanding biological mechanisms of action underlying integrative care.

Using basic science studies, examples of clinical integration and application of new technology, the event will explore how integrative medicine can be made a reality.

ALSO READ: Add Value To Your Daily Diet With Ayurveda

Amrita Samyogam 2017 is expected to trigger important collaborations, especially academic and funding, across the world in the field of integrative medicine. The event will also witness launch of an International Journal of Integrative Health and establishing of a Society for Integrative Health to promote Integrative medicine development in India.


Eminent medical experts attending the event include :

  • Dr. Jeffrey White, Director of National Cancer Institute, USA;
  • Dr. Nereo Bresolin, Neurologist, University of Milan;
  • Dr. Christian Kessler, Internal Medicine Specialist, Charite Medical University, Germany;
  • Dr. Ravi Mehrotra, Director National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, Noida;
  • Dr. Rama Jayasundar, Professor, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
  • Dr. Ketaki Bapat, Scientific Advisor to the Government of India along with many others.

Who can attend :

Faculty, medical practitioners post graduate and Ph.D scholars, internees, researchers and scientists from Ayurveda, Life Sciences and Mexican Streams.

Interested individuals can register at the college website and the last date for registration is July 31, 2017.

– prepared by Soha Kala for NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
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