I am not sure if you know but when you have reached the age of 25 in Guernsey, you are eligible for a FREE chest and heart screening at the Chest and Heart Clinic based in the grounds of the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.

My Mum and Dad recently attended for their 5 year check-up and my Mum suggested I went along for a session too. I must admit I wasn’t sure it was something I needed to do, there is the whole fear factor of potentially finding out that there is something abnormal with your lungs and/or heart and therefore perhaps ignorance is bliss – which is silly really, because if there is something abnormal, the sooner you find out the more chance you have of doing something about it.

So anyway, trying not to give it too much thought, I went along on Tuesday morning missing my morning Chai as you have to fast from midnight and can only drink water. Still it was worth any temporary discomfort and needless to say – from a Yogic and health perspective - I found the whole experience incredibly fascinating. I need to get a life, I know!

You start by having your height checked before before you stand on this incredible machine which is somehow (no point trying to figure out the how) able to measure your weight, your body fat index - even managing to tell you what percentage of fat you have around your organs - your metabolic age (strangely mine is 4 years below my actual age, and my Dad’s is an incredible 14 years below his age – I hope I have inherited his genes!!) and your bone density.

You then lie on a comfortable bed and have your blood pressure checked (all good) and some blood taken from your arm to check your cholesterol levels before various wires are attached to your chest to check the state of your heart. I must admit that the lady taking the reading got a little bit excited because usually the lines on her screen move a little bit but my reading was really straight (or something like that), which indicates a healthy heart, hoorah.

Aside from the health aspect the heart result thing got me rather excited too because it potentially supports all the literature which tells you that Yoga and a vegetarian diet is good for your heart. Who knows. Same could be said for metabolic rate too, although my Dad doesn't practice Yoga these days so perhaps it is genetics too, hmmm.

You then have your lung capacity checked by blowing into a plastic tube. This was far more challenging than I expected and it took me an embarassing three attempts to figure out how to get a proper reading. Thankfully it was normal, which was a relief, Yoga is meant to improve your breathing after all!

You then go and see another woman who gives you the results of your cholesterol blood test – she was surprised as mine was at a particularly good level, especially after Christmas, another thanks to Yoga and a vegetarian diet I guess – and checks your blood sugar levels from the pee sample you have to provide – all fine.

And that is it, your results get checked by a doctor who attends the clinic every week and a copy gets filed on your personal file at your doctor’s surgery so they have a record for the future, and then you get a recall in 5 years.

I can highly recommend, not only do I feel it is really important that we have some understanding of what is going on within our body – especially if we need to take action to improve our health – but as a yoga practitioner and teacher, I like the fact that I now have some way of knowing – in 5 years time – whether my Yoga practice is improving and/or maintaining my current state of health and sense of wellbeing. It goes without saying that I hope it would do, but at least now I will actually have some figures to work with.

Please do not worry about what you may find, whether your weight is higher than you would like, or whether you will get lectured for your diet or the amount of alcohol you drink (you won't), you are as you are, accept it, and if the results show that improvements should be made then just start practising more Yoga and see what happens, no big deal!!

Just remember, we only get one life in this lifetime (as far as we know), and if you can’t do it for yourself, perhaps do it for your family and friends instead.
Love and light.