The Yoga Connection
    Category: Column By : Shanti Shamdasani Read : 1264 Date : Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 08:41:12

    Today, we are seeing a rather notable and growing trend within the middle and upper classes to improve their health. Obesity is the main reason why people are seeking healthier lifestyles, as obesity is no longer a “rich nation” disease. In nations such as Malaysia and Thailand, a third or more of the population is now classified as obese. Needless to say, with obesity comes other illnesses.

    In the quest to fight fat and have a healthier lifestyle, one of the biggest trends is the growing popularity of yoga. What is surprising is the massive expansion of yoga. For example, Bikram Hot Yoga will be opening up five additional new branches, and this is Jakarta only, excluding Bali and other big cities in Indonesia. Some may say yoga's stated health benefits are in the realm of pseudoscience. However, at the very least, people are learning how to breathe better and mediate.

    In parallel to the growth of yoga is the increased use of dietary supplements, such as multivitamins, minerals and individual vitamins. These dietary supplements offer the promise of improved health, although their actual effectiveness is subject to debate. Despite this, consumers are willing to pay for these supplements in pursuit of good health.

    Along with yoga and supplements, there is also increased interest in pilates, massage, acupuncture, acupressure, ozone treatments and various other options said to help improve health (along with the old standby, exercise). Even lower income population have mbok jamu (herbal lady) or tukang pijet (masseurs).

    What many are seeking could be termed “integrated care.” It is personalized, participatory, and relationship-based care, emphasizing a holistic healing to achieve a total wellness that includes an individual's emotional, mental, spiritual, and social goals along with a physical one. The primary therapies used to achieve these goals are healthy habits, such as balanced nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep, and positive outlook. Integrative healthcare skillfully uses the best of both conventional and other strategies to attain these goals. On the other hand, conventional care tends to focus more narrowly on preventing and treating diseases.