By Sudhir Tiwari
Disclaimer by the author: Yogic approach to therapy is wholistic and NOT compartmentalized because it treats human being as a whole and not in parts. For example, presently, popular applications of yoga to therapy use terms like, “yoga for hypertension, yoga for stress, yoga for back ache etc.” these terms represent an approach where a person is treated as a part and not as a whole. As per Swami Kuvalyananda, primary focus of yoga is to treat the person, and as a consequence, the disease abates by itself.
“Yogic Therapy” by Swami Kuvalyananda, with regards to the genesis of disease states, that yoga believes that the disease process is rooted in the mind, where misperception, false identification/ego, likes, dislikes and the fear of letting go sit at the heart of every disease. They are collectively called “klesas”. Klesas materialize into psychosomatic disorders like disintegration, languor, inability to trust, lack of enthusiasm, sloth, addiction, delusion, inability to complete tasks undertaken and inability to makeup one’s mind. These psychosomatic disorders are called “vikshepas” and are the primal symptoms of disease. “Vikshepas”, if left unchecked, lead to mental distress, depression, disturbance in the tone of the muscle and tissues that go on to make our internal organs and irregular breathing pattern. Disturbance in the tone of muscles and organ tissues is the cause of functional, metabolic and infectious diseases like, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, cancer and others.
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The above paragraph validates that the root cause of disease is one, that manifests as many, and, the yogic approach is to address the root cause by means of various practices prescribed in yogic texts. Incidentally the factors mentioned in the prior paragraph also affect our quality of life. If our approach is measured, in terms of the above, we can prevent disease and if we react impulsively, then this very impulsive reaction can become a breeding ground for diseases.
Let us explore the mechanism of yoga practice in reference to Influence of yoga therapy on the quality of life. Simply speaking, we can all agree that life equals breath. As long as we breathe there is life in us and when we stop breathing life ceases to exist. We can thus conveniently infer that quality-of-life equals quality of breath. Better the quality of breath, higher the quality of life. We improve the quality of breath by training it. This yogic training of breath is called Pranayama and is considered to be one of the most pivotal practice in Yoga.
As per leading texts, there are eight varieties of pranayama based on specific breathing manipulations. These practices, if performed correctly, calm the mind, prevent and alleviate disease and thus improve the quality of life. Textual and scientific evidence, outlines some of the benefits of these practice as follows,
- They remove impurities of the body, mainly excessive mucus, acid and gas.
- Make the blood oxygen rich.
- Slow the resting heart rate.
- Maintain balance of the ingredients of the body, like muscle, fat etc.
- Increase metabolism and also balances it.
- Reduce stress and thus manage cardio vascular disease.
- Along with diet, they help managing diabetes.
- Help manage mental disorders like anxiety, depression, anger etc.
The above is just to name a few, when it comes to women’s health, the benefits these practices amongst many others are, they, calm the mind, improve and manage menstrual and reproductive health, improve energy levels, balance metabolism, helpful in pre-natal and post – natal health management and menopause management.
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However, one needs to keep in mind, while these practices deliver immense benefits, they need to be supported by practice supportive behaviour and life style. In closing, being wholistic in nature, these practices do not always provide instant gratification and hence should be made a part of one’s life.
(The author teaches Pranayama in Kaivalyadhama Lineage Internationally. His goal is to present yoga not just as asanas but as an experiential practice. He conducts workshops in theory and practice of Yoga, asana, traditional pranayama, meditation, chanting and Ayurveda and with his familiarity of alternative western medicine he also correlates these disciplines.)
(The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)