Fight holiday stress with Om's - yoga: 'a prescription for wellness'

Discover your inner pharmacy through yoga and boost your immune system

MONTREAL, Dec. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Can't get rid of that cold while worrying about Christmas shopping, crowds and various responsibilities?

"Stress, fear and anxiety are some of the emotions that are compromising our immune system," said Dr. Madan Bali.

An 85 year-old yoga teacher and Vedanta scholar with a Doctorate in Complementary Medicine, Dr. Bali teaches and advocates yoga as a complementary form of therapy in treating psychosomatic disorders - physical illnesses caused or influenced by emotional factors.

"During the flight or flight (i.e. stress) response, our immune system goes down and doesn't protect the body," said Dr. Bali. "It is in deep sleep that we heal most, when the body shifts to an optimal level of efficiency without the everyday, rational mind interfering."

Through yoga, one can suspend the mental chatter and reprogram the immune system to restore that optimal threshold of healing capacity.

"The brain is like a computer system being short circuited by stress and the fact that it is overloaded by today's hectic life-style," said Dr. Bali.

"Through the yoga postures - we improve the system of communication and restore the brain-body connection for optimal healing."

The body is capable of producing its own endorphins, tranquilizers and anti-depressants that are more powerful and have no side effects. With this complete pharmacy within, we need only trust our bodies to deal with any demand, even the stress of in-laws visiting for an entire week!

The wear and tear of stress has detrimental effects in the short term of the holidays but also in the long run. Dr. Bali is 85 but "biologically feels like 56" and has not missed a yoga session in 40 years because of illness.

"The key is to teach your body to trigger the relaxation response," said Dr. Bali. "The body's natural inclination after a fight or flight reaction is to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels."

Dr Bali teaches people how to manage stress consciously and set this relaxation response in motion so the body can heal itself.

Dr. Bali runs a yoga program for breast cancer patients through Sérénité, organized by the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation (www.rubanrose.org). Yoga helps the women regain control of their bodies and better manage the stress generated from the disease and its treatments.

"I like how I feel after the workout - refreshed and strengthened physically and calmer in my spirit," said one participant. "I appreciate the fact that I can do the exercises at my own level, and that we have guidance for adaptations" to limitations of movement, especially after surgery.

Yoga Bliss Studio offers drop in courses Mondays at 7pm and Fridays at 9:30am and 7pm and free information sessions upon request. The Studio is located at 3545 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges suite #090 in the Regency Medical Building in Montréal.

SOURCE YOGA BLISS

For further information: For further information: Dr. Madan Bali, PhD, Yoga researcher and instructor, (514) 932-7971 (main), (514) 808-YOGA (media requests), info@yogabliss.ca; www.yogabliss.ca

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