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In a first, yoga classes held inside Hyderabad mosque | Hyderabad News

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HYDERABAD: In a first such move in Hyderabad, a mosque committee in the Old City has allowed yoga classes to fight rising non-communicable diseases and obesity. One of the three floors in the Masjid-e-Ishaq at Nawab Saheb Kunta at Tadbun has been converted into a healthcare and medical counselling centre where Yoga is also taught.
“There is not much space in the narrow lanes for walking and outdoor exercises. So, in the mosque our counsellors are not only demonstrating yoga asanas, but also giving YouTube links to some patients to follow Yoga on mobile phones to reduce their waistline,” Mujtaba Hasan Askari, who runs the clinic, told TOI.
Most women attending the mosque clinic are at risk of non-communicable diseases, including heart ailments due to their weight. Every alternate day, yoga is taught to patients in the mosque. Health counsellors follow WHO guidelines on fighting non-communicable or lifestyle diseases and have adopted Yoga as part of the healthcare regimen to keep people in the Old City fit.
The move follows a recent health survey of patients attending the clinic in the mosque. Of the 600 people, mostly women, 70% had a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 (less than 24.9 BMI is considered healthy). The clinic organisers considered various options and yoga emerged the favourite as the geo-demographic profile of Old City does not permit other options such as outdoor exercises.
Askari, who is also the managing trustee of the Helping Hand Foundation (HHF), said HHF was running the clinic in partnership with SEED, a US-based NGO. The lifestyle clinic at Masjid-e-Ishaq has two dedicated dieticians and two counsellors under the supervision of a lady doctor. Yoga is prescribed after evaluating a WHO-recommended form filled in by the patients. The focus is more on exercises and diet control than on medication.
Dietician Farhat Fatima, who evaluates dozens of patients at the mosque every day, said she was prescribing yoga as it gives the best result and can be performed indoors. “I counsel them in a way that they can relate to. If I tell them to walk daily, they cannot do it in narrow lanes,” she said.
Ayesha Sultana, 46, registered at the lifestyle clinic a month ago. A patient of diabetes and hypertension, Ayesha told TOI that her health has improved after she took to yoga. “I was not aware that diet and exercise will do wonders to one’s health. Now my dependence on medication has come down,” she said.



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