Yoga and running helps retd cop conquer cancer, stroke- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: While a majority of people would be put off by stomach cancer, heart attack and surgery to remove kidney stones, Sardar Harihar Singh, 73, continues to lead a life worth enviing. Even in old age, he walks 7.5 km daily on tiptoe and performs complex yoga exercises, which in turn have helped him to recover from various ailments and medical procedures. As India gears up to celebrate International Yoga Day, Singh is the living embodiment of the ancient discipline’s ability to help people with many ailments of mind and body.

Singh started his career at Punjab Sindh Bank but later joined the police force in 1974 as a sub-inspector. After serving in the erstwhile Medak district, he was transferred to Hyderabad, where he served as Additional Superintendent of Police (Vigilance and Enforcement) until his retirement in 2007. In 2000, his morale was at an all-time low when he suffered a stroke and was bedridden for six months. He battled suicidal thoughts, but “the determination not to give up and to use running and yoga to regain my health kept me alive,” he tells Express.

Photo: Vinay Madapu

After recovering from cerebral palsy caused by stroke, he began to gain strength through light exercise. “I used to go to construction sites and work on balancing my body on the sand piles. That’s where I also started breathing exercises,” he adds. Just by running daily and practicing yoga, not only did he gain strong immunity, but he also gained better eyesight, which has been troubling him since 1980.

One after another
When he was almost fully recovered, a tumor was discovered in his stomach. In 2003 it turned out to be cancer. He underwent major surgery to remove the tumor, also losing 80 percent of his stomach. When he started to recover from this, he was found to have kidney stones, for which he was again on the operating table in 2005.

But as the number of ills kept coming, his determination grew stronger. He started to master the pranayama asana to get his body back to its peak. He ran a number of marathons and was crowned ambassador of ‘Airtel marathons’ in 2012 when he completed the circuit in 1 hour 38 minutes. Now he plays Pavanmukthasana, Mandukasana, Markatasana and Bhujangasana, simultaneously with Kapalbhati.

He also turned to the Supreme Court regarding the implementation of GO 610, which repatriated workers from various government departments, who had been recruited against the allocated quota, based on their local status. While thousands of people died from Covid-19, Singh says the deadly virus didn’t hit him because of regular yoga and running. “Even during the lockdown, I kept running in our apartment and practicing yoga,” he adds.

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