(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Yoga for Health and Well Being
Yoga for Health and Well Being
- Yoga is a path towards realisation of true nature of the self. Practitioners of Yoga in search of this spiritual goal have evolved this art and science from time immemorial. Yoga is a continuous experiential path which transcends various states of consciousness to ultimately merge with the reality or the infinite pure consciousness featured by Kaivalyam or eternal freedom.
Salient Features of Yoga:
1. Yoga is Essentially Spiritual
2. It is a Darshana (Philosophy)
3. It is a Subtle Science
4. It is an Art of Healthy Living
5. It brings Harmony
6. Yogic practices are mind centric
Principles of Yoga Therapy and Methods Yoga Therapy:
- It is important to adopt holistic lifestyle and follow a healthy regimen to live a healthy and peaceful life. The modern world is facing a pandemic of lifestyle disorders that require changes to be made consciously by individuals themselves. Yoga places great importance on a proper and healthy lifestyle whose main components are:
1. Ahara – Yoga emphasises on the need for a healthy, nourishing diet that has an adequate intake of fresh water along with a well-balanced intake of fresh food, green salads, sprouts, unrefined cereals and fresh fruits. It is important to be aware of the need for a Satvic diet, prepared and served with love and affection.
2. Vihara – Proper recreational activities to relax body and mind are essential for good health. This includes proper relaxation, maintaining quietude of action-speech-thoughts and group activities wherein one loses the sense of individuality. Karma Yoga is an excellent method for losing the sense of individuality and gaining a sense of universality.
3. Achara–Yoga stresses the importance of healthy activities such as exercise and recommends Asana, Pranayama and Kriyas on a regular basis. Cardio-respiratory health is one of the main by-products of such healthy activities.
4. Vichara– Right thoughts and right attitude towards life is vital for well being. A balanced state of mind is obtained by following the moral restraints and ethical observances (Yama and Niyama).
The Yoga therapy is based on the following doctrines and concepts:-
- Doctrine of “Chitta-vrittinirodha”, “Kriyayoga” and “Astanga” as found in Patanjal’s Yoga Sutras.
- Doctrine of “Panchakosha” (five sheaths/bodies) as found in Upanishads.
- Doctrine of various kinds of “Shuddhi” found in Patanjali Yoga Sutra and Hathayoga.
- Doctrine of opening blocked channels of vayus and prana (nadishuddhi), opening of lotuses
- and chakras, pranayamas, mudras and dristis as found in Hathayoga and Kundalini Yoga.
- Working with the mind on the lines of Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Mantra Yoga and Hathayoga.
- Working on the lines of “Karma-Jnana-Bhakti” from Bhagawadgita.
- Certain aspects of Tantra Yoga also get integrated in various Yoga practices.
Mechanism of Action of Yoga:
- The following are just a few of the mechanisms through which Yoga works as an integrated mindbody medicine:
1. Cleanses the accumulated toxins through various shuddikriyas and generates a sense of relaxed lightness through sukshma vyayama (simple movements for all body parts). Free flow in all bodily passages prevents the many infections that may occur when pathogens stagnate therein.
2. Adoption of a Yogic lifestyle with proper nourishing diet, creates positive antioxidant enhancement thus neutralising free radicals while enabling a rejuvenated storehouse of nutrients packed with life energy to work on anabolic, reparative and healing processes.
3. Steadies the entire body through different physical postures held in a steady and comfortable manner without strain. Physical balance and a sense of ease with oneself enhances mental/emotional balance and enables all physiological processes to occur in a healthy manner.
4. Improves control over autonomic respiratory mechanisms though breathing patterns that generate energy and enhance emotional stability. The mind and emotions are related to our breathing pattern and rate and hence the slowing down of the breathing process influences autonomic functioning, metabolic processes as well as emotional responses.
5. Integrates body movements with the breath creating psychosomatic harmony. In Yoga the physical body is related to annamayakosha (our anatomical existence) and the mind to manomayakosha (our psychological existence). As the pranayama kosha (our physiological existence sustained by the energy of the breath) lies in between them, the breath is the key to psychosomatic harmony.
6. Focuses the mind positively on activities being done, enhances energy flow and results in healthy circulation to the different body parts and internal organs. Where the mind goes, there the prana flows!
7. Creates a calm internal environment through contemplative practices that in turn enable normalisation of homeostatic mechanisms. Yoga is all about balance or samatvam at all levels of being. Mental balance produces physical balance and vice versa too.
8. Relaxes the body-emotion-mind complex through physical and mental techniques that enhance our pain threshold and coping ability in responding to external and internal stressors. This enhances the quality of life as seen in so many terminal cases where other therapies are not able to offer any solace.
9. Enhances self-confidence and internal healing capacities through the cultivation of right attitudes towards life and moral ethical living through yama-niyama and various Yogic psychological principles. Faith, self-confidence and inner strength are most essential for healing, repair, rejuvenation and re-invigoration.
10. Yoga works towards restoration of normalcy in all systems of the human body with special emphasis on the psycho-neuro-immuno endocrine axis. In addition to its preventive and restorative capabilities, Yoga also aims at promoting positive health that will help us to tide over health challenges that occur during our lifetime. This concept of positive health is one of Yoga’s unique contributions to modern health care as Yoga has both a preventive as well as promotive role in the health care of our masses. It is also inexpensive and can be used in tandem with other systems of medicine in an integrated manner to benefit patients.
- Yoga is the most perfect health and wellness module as it is comprehensive and holistic in its nature.
- Yogic principles of wellness help to strengthen and develop positive health enabling us to withstand stress better. This Yogic “health insurance” has achieved by normalising the perception of stress, optimising the reaction to it and by releasing the pent-up stress effectively through the practice of various Yogic practices.