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Health on TV may not work for you.

YOU MAY have been dutifully rolling out the yoga mat at 5 am to emulate your favourite yoga guru doing asanas on TV, but the reality is that this could land you in trouble.

Besides yoga, the idiot box is full of programmes on fitness, food and general health which if imitated can be more detrimental than beneficial.

While shows are useful in spreading awareness, yoga taught in a class differs from what is shown on TV. " We advise proper body warm up and cool down with joint movements which are generally not done on a televised show. Moreover, due to time constraint, the movement between asanas is fast which doesn't give you any idea about how long you should hold the breath," says Swami Anand of Aastha Yoga and Ayurveda Centre. Also, most yoga postures have complementary postures which should be done alongside.

" For a forward bending posture, there is a backward bending posture which balances it out. However, on television, you would be shown random postures clubbed together as beneficial for a particular disease. So you never get to know about the proper sequence," Anand says. However, yoga guru Suneel Singh, who propagates yoga postures on various national channels, feels there is enough caution exercised on TV shows. " We don't show advanced postures like head stand or shirsasana and scorpio pose or vrischika asana since they should only be done in the presence of a yoga instructor," he says.

Shruti Saxena, a prenatal fitness expert, feel a trainer must be brought into programmes that feature workouts for special situations like pregnancy. " Even being guided in aerobics by a show isn't safe. Adopting the wrong posture for someone with a weak back may land him or her in trouble," she says.

Experts feel the airing of programmes on celebrities and their diets that keep them slim also give birth to various misconceptions. " If somebody says she lost weight by eating six bananas a day what message are you going to carry home? The fact is that everyone is different and just following a person's regimen blindly can have an adverse impact," says Dr Geetika Ahluwalia, chief dietician, Delhi Heart and Lung Institute.

Generally, the content of health shows is guided by experts but even then the responsibility lies with the viewer. " The viewers should understand that the opinions presented are for a broader audience which may or may not work for them," says Dr Ahluwalia, who appears regularly on televised health shows.

-- Manu Moudgil

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 17, 2010
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