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Yoga and You

An obvious question immediately comes to our minds regarding suitability of yogic practices to the modern man. The science or methodology which was evolved centuries ago should have been outdated and worn out for today’s civilized society. But the fact is not so because Yoga is a universal philosophy with an objective of reaching the universal goals of human life. It is because of this universal nature of the technique and its objectives that it is still applicable to the entire human race.

No principle of birth, death, breathing, living, experiencing through senses and so on have undergone any changes. Only changes have taken place with reference to our hypo critic attitudes and mental manifestations. the history of creation of human life is millions of years old where as man’s average life span is not even hundred years, this means his vision, ambitions, plans all put together with respect to the universal arrangement of human life is not even comparable. Our great ancient saints and sages evolved the science of yoga keeping in view the welfare of human race with great vision. Although they had more conducive environment for the practice of Yoga but they themselves did not need practice of Yoga as much as modern man needs it today. Because of man’s own activities for creation of comforts and conveniences the laws of nature are not respected and as a result we are subjected to a polluted and inharmonious environment. Our body, the basic apparatus for experiencing the joys and sorrows of life, undergoes various stresses physical and mental both. Our body gets many toxins from the surroundings and from the food as well. Modern medical science in spite of tremendous developments has miserably failed to provide us disease free life, though it has unique potential of emergency treatments. Yoga has great potential to build up the body’s vitality and resistance.

There is no point in advocating the great values of yoga because it is already proved over ages. Through this article it is targeted to help our readers to receive adequate motivation and guidance so that they may begin regular yogic practices and really derive results making their lives full of bliss and happiness.

What is disease?

The disease is a condition experienced in the body but its real existence is in the mind. The cause of disease lies in the mind and the effects are seen in the body. A man possesses five bodies namely.

1. Annamaya Kosa
Gross Physical Body (Sheath)
2. Pranmaya Kosa
Subtle Pranic Body(Sheath)
3. Manomaya Kosa
Subtler Psychic Body(Sheath)
4. Vijnanmaya Kosa
Subtlest Logical Body(Sheath)
5. Anandamaya Kosa
Ultimate Devine Body(Sheath)

Thus human body is superimposition of these five bodies together. The detailed explanations of each of these shall be given later on. The diseases of various kinds are linked with the following systems of the human body.

1. The digestive System.
2. The respiratory System.
3. Genito urinary System.
4. The nervous System.
5. Glandular System.
6. The cardio-vascular System.

How Yiga therapy Works?

Yoga therapy is an ingenious and useful by-product of the ancient yoga-shastra (Classical-Yoga). It yoga therapist and the patient both know the basic concept of yoga-shastra it becomes damn easy to implement the knowledge into practice and yield desired results. Miracles are experienced and can be performed by the dedicated practice of yoga. What is miracle? In fact for a person miracle is the happening the cause of which is beyond one’s understanding. For example performance of Television is a miracle for a layman where as for an Electronics Engineer it is a technology.

Likewise in higher practices of yoga one acquires capacities which are beyond imaginations of a common man but these capacities are to be used for still higher pursuits, the spiritual or physical ones. This is possible only through continued and dedicated practice. Dedicated practice means one is fully involved and his entire life style is based upon and guided by, Yogic principles and concepts. The yogic lifestyle is not enforced or thrust upon but is volunteered.

Numerous studies have now revealed the profound effects of yogic techniques upon the cardio vascular, respiratory, nervous and endocrine systems and as a results many physicians and healers are now incorporating yogic techniques along with other measures in the management of their patients’ diseases. Although practicing of yoga after falling sick is of second grade, yet it is superior to adopting other treatments which only suppress the effects of the disease and do not at all attack and influence the root cause of the disease.

Thus yoga therapy is applied in the following modes.
1. Preventive Yoga Therapy.
2. Curative Yoga Therapy.
3. Rehabilitative Yoga Therapy.

In yoga there is no short cut, one must follow the principles of yoga systematically and with a clear understanding. When we say “Yoga”, it is automatically referred to the Ashtanga Yoga (Eight limbed yoga of Great ancient sage Paatanjali). Nowadays people create confusion by pronouncing yoga with different prefixes and suffixes which is nothing but projection of their compartmental specializations and their failure to specialize and wholesome Yoga (Ashtanga – Yoga). Three blind persons touched an elephant and narrated about it in their own way. The first one had touched the trunk and he told the elephant as being just like a thick pipe through which air keeps flowing in and out. The second man who touched on of the feet of the elephant commented “Elephant is just like round and round pillars”. The poor third fellow had touched the tail and quoted it being just like a rope having hard hairs at one end. So it is a criminal attitude towards such an universal and noble science if by our inexperience or limited experience we define it to be a compartmental science or philosophy. “Yoga” is such a vast and vital technology of human life that if can not be learnt and understood in one life. It is really the knowledge of yoga which gets impregnated at the subtlest mental level and transcends from one life to the next as very well correlated in the Bhagwat Gita. 15th Chapter, VIII Shloka narrates when life is separated from the body or it leaves the body the experiences or Samskaras are carried with it just as air carries the fragrance from one place to the other. And when this. Jiva (the life, Atma or soul) acquires another body its spiritual tendencies begin from the residual of previous life’s experiences or Samskaras. And thus it continues. The body is only an apparatus the performer within this, is unseen but the UNSEEN is potent enough to act through this apparatus (the human body).

The root of Yoga lies in Veda and Veda is nothing but the treasure of absolute knowledge of everything or the Divine knowledge. When our great saints used to reach the deepest stage of meditation (Samadhi) or communion with the supreme consciousness or God and so on, they got and felt the Divine knowledge which is beyond explanations, yet for the benefit of the humanity they tried to put in the form of written texts, known as Vedas.

VEDAS were written in Sanskrit language and that too in the form of enriched codes (mantras). Here it is very important to understand that if one wishes to express his experiences and feelings merely by works or languages the feelings and experiences can not be transmitted exactly as they were perceived by him. Therefore it is very important to know that capability of language chosen for the purpose of communicating ones feelings, is of vital importance. The taste of particular mango “Dashehari” grown only in India can not be exactly communicated to a German gentleman by his  friend who is expert of German language and had tasted the mango, merely by talking, detailing, explaining and counseling. He must be given a mango to taste for himself. Sanskrit is the best and supreme language to communicate ones feelings and experiences most efficiently and almost close to the real ones. This fact is now scientifically accepted and proved that it is best suited language for computers and mathematics, even Vedic-mathematics is gaining popularity these days.

The codified knowledge provided in the Veda is to be decodified and understand for which various branches of Veda were evolved which are 1133 in numbers wherein ways and manners of reading and studying Vedas are articulated. Further for the purpose of simplification and easy communication of the knowledge of Veda “Upnishadas” were created which are more than hundred in numbers but out of these eleven “Upnishadas” are main.

Absolute or divine knowledge experienced by our Rishies (Ancient-sages) during deep meditation inhibited in the Veda, is explained in various classical texts of Philosophy by which one reach the state of deep meditation or Samadhi or communion with the supreme soul or the God. Thus the goal of knowledge is reached through its implementation into practice and originally the practiced experience of Rishies was put in the from of Veda the knowledge with the specific objectives of reaching ultimate goals of human life. The universal goals of human life shall be narrated later on.

Noblest Cause: From tiniest insects to the Royal kings and entire kingdom of the creatures is always busy making efforts to safeguard themselves from any kind of sufferings and sorrows, yet they are not free from it. Because of ignorance man tries to acquire means of pleasures like running behind mirages but these turn out to be unreal, transient and momentary and ultimately cause pains and suffering. Therefore for an inquisitive man who wants to know the reality of pains and pleasures, life and death the four subjects are of concern.

(i)  Heya-
What is the reality of Pains of sufferings which every one discards?
(ii) Heya Hetu –
What is the rootcause of pains or sufferings from where it originates?
(iii Haan –
What is the state of total absence of pains and sufferings?
(iv) Haanopaya –
What is the technique of complete elimination of pains and sufferings from ones life?

pondering over these four aspects or the questions the following inquiries come forward.

1. Who experiences the pains and sufferings? One must think continuously, who am I? the gross body which is composed of seven humors (Dhatus) I an not, the five cognitive sense-organs viz. senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell apprehending respective objects viz sound, touch, form, task and odor, I am not. The five cognitive organs of actions namely hands, feet mouth excretory and genitourinary I am not. Thus I am neither body, name, shape nor status and other identities as well. I possess a body, a name, a personality just as I say, “I possess a bag”. This means “I, in possession of a body is different from the body. ‘I’ is different than body name etc. and pains and sufferings are not its real nature, had it been so it would never have tried to avoid and abolish pains and sufferings.

This clarifies that the real self is unseen and it is consciousness where as the seen body is unreal and short lived or mortal. Life is said to be in existence as long as the unseen consciousness is in association with the seen body. Therefore we human beings have to understand the body first, then the mind and the subtlest consciousness later through various stages of yoga.

2. There must exist another component whose basic nature is pains and sufferings. It’s nature is opposite to that of consciousness. Ignorant affinity in the association of consciousness and gross matter is the root cause of pains and sufferings. But to understand this is matter of great yoga practices which require determination for continuous efforts. Once one experiences the transient nature of the gross world with respect to ever existing consciousness he sees clearly the root of the pains and then it becomes easier for him to effort to eliminate it and reach the state of blissful happiness.

3. There is need to accept the existence of another component which is universal in nature and has exact similarity with the unseen consciousness but entirely opposite to the qualities of gross matter. This is super consciousness which is all pervading and all penetrating, omnipotent and omnipresent. This is completely filled with absolute knowledge and unalloyed blissful happiness.

What is happiness?

Happiness is the very nature of the self, it means ‘happiness’ and ‘self’ are not different. If you want to reach the happiness you must have to reach the self. Yoga is the path to reach the ‘self’.

There is no happiness in any object of the entire world. We imagine through our ignorant mind that we can derive happiness from the objects. Hankering after the outsides materials world mind goes out, it experiences misery. When it’s desires are fulfilled it returns to its own place and enjoys the ‘happiness’ that is the ‘self’ within. Similarly in the states of deep sleep, samadhi or fainting and when the object desired is obtained or object disliked is removed, the mind becomes inward-turned and enjoys pure self or ‘happiness’. Thus the mind moves without rest, alternately going out of the self and returning to it. Under the tree the shade is pleasant but out in the open the sun’s heat is scorching. A person who has been walking outside in the sun experiences soothing cool under the shade into the sun and then back into the shade is a fool. A wise man stays permanently into the shade.
Similarly the MIND of the one who knows the truth does not leave the self (the happiness). The MIND of the ignorant on the contrary revolves in the world feeling miserable and for a little time returns to the self to experience happiness. The world is just a mustard seed mind is bigger than that. The world is created by the mind it means the world is only thought. When the world disappears means when there is no thought the mind goes to the self having no other business and it then experiences happiness. When the world appears, thought processes begin and one goes through miseries. In Ashtanga Yoga there is a stage of pratyahara practice which is nothing but training ones own mind. And training the mind is tougher than training a Tiger. But in yoga it is done under the guidance of able Guru, the spiritual master.
The human life is created with twenty five basic elements called “Tathwas”.

  • Five gross elements known as “panch mahabhootas” – Earth, water, fire, air and ether.
  • Five subjects of senses called “tanmatras “ – Sound, touch, smell, taste and form.
  • Five organs of actions “karmendriyas” – Hands, feet, mouth, genital organs and excretory organs.
  • Five organs of senses “jnanendriyas” – Eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin.
  • Three psychic elements called “chitta” – Mind, ego and intellect.
  • One the nature of everything “prakriti”. This determines the qualitative extent of various elements as fire has a “prakriti” the nature of heating and that in variations and thus comes the degree of heat to so and so temperature.
  • One, the motivational force or the root of activities “purusha”. Purusha is defined as one who has paurusham-capacity to do anything.

It is said that the Man is supreme creation of the “God”, this is really true and factual. These twenty five elements are combined together in such a harmonious and coordinated manner that this creation of God functions amazingly. This conglomeration is so complicated and intricate that it can not be understood even during one’s one life span and when one understands, he does not need to go anywhere and do anything but to enjoy an alloyed bliss.

For reaching this stage writing texts and reading and even understanding them won’t help, one has to seek and acquire or reach an able Guru for practical guidance. Thus it is very important to get a Guru in the path of Yoga. Importance of Guru shall be explained at appropriate juncture later on.

Here we are mainly concerned with the “therapeutic projections” of Yogic principles. The human body is basic apparatus to be used as a tool to do actions and only the actions yield results and again the effects of the results may be good or bad, pleasant or otherwise is experienced by this apparatus only. So that physical-health is needed even to enjoy the outcome of one’s own actions and thus becomes the primary need.

As already narrated we possess five kinds of bodies and various functional systems within us. Digestive System is one amongst these and needs explaminations first. The digestive system mouth starts from the mouth and ends at anus in between these are various glandular attachments to add various required secretions for the digestion of the eaten foods & nutrition. The food must be digested and through this process the body must yet the following vital constituents.

(1) RASA
All kinds of fluids (secretions) come under this category such as saliva, biles, tears, insulin and so on.
(2) RAKT
(Blood) The vital fluid contained by the entire circulatory system in the body. It must have definite chemical and physical properties.
(3) MAMSA
Flesh to cover and protect the bones and give definite shape to body the muscular arrangements.
(4) MEDA
The fat which stores the energy (calories) not utilized by our body due to inactivity and lack of physical exercises.
(5) ASTHI
Bones the structural system of the body is also developed through the food and nutrition we take. This skeletal body houses various vital organs safely.
(6) MAJJA
Marrow the whitish fluid contained by all the bones to keep them functionally attached with the brainimpulses through this.
(7) SHUKRA
The semen or ovum is final and most vital fluid (component) generated by our digestive system. This is meant for only reproduction but also gives resistance

against various kinds of diseases and ailments. Thus the semen or ovum are responsible for immunity of the body. The semen if conserved over prolonged period influences the aura of the individual and creates unseen influence zone. Respiratory System (Pranamaya Kosha):

The breath which one starts right at the time of birth and continues till death, the last breath, is of vital importance. The air we inhale, is not the energy, infect air is the carrier of energy. The vital life energy is received by the body through lungs and the waste is discharged as exhalation. Now this cosmic energy “Prana” performs five distinct functions in the body to sustain, develope and promote it. These are also called Panch-Pranas namely Prana, Apan, Vyan, Udan, Saman.

PRANA
This vital breath pervades between nasal passage and the heart. It regulates the activities of various organs located in chest.

APANA
This remains in the lower portion of the body from Navel to the feet. This controls and regulates the process of defecation of stool from intestines, Urination from the bladder, semen from the scrotum and movements of the foetus, creating the digestive fire in the stomach “Jatharagni”. This also facilitates the actions of Knees, Thighs, waists and the feet.

VYANA
This prana dwells above genital organs and its main function is to reach the blood in each nerve (Nadies) gross or subtle at specific pressure and of required chemical composition so that the nerves are able to maintain their continuous co-ordination with the brain, the supreme control centre of the entire body. here it is important to mention that the blood in the nerves is a medium through which impulses of the brain are transmitted and the experiences of sense organs and sent to brain as well.

UDANA
This vital prana dwells in the throat and is active in the upper portion of the body (HEAD, BRAIN) and the vital organs located there are activated by this. This maintains the association of causal body with the gross body. The vitality of Udana Vayu could be understood from following two explanations. For staughtering any animals the neck (Throat) is slit and the association of physical with the life energy is broken easily. And at the time of heart attacks the throat is severely choked. So udana is one of the aital airs.

SAMANA
This prana is active in middle of the body from Navel to the Heart and is mainly responsible for uniform distribution of energy created through digestive system of the body after consumption of all kinds of food and nutritions.

There are another five sub-pranas and their functions are not so important to be mentioned here. In fact they mainly perform the protective systems of the body. they are Naaga, Koorma, Dhananjay Devdatta.

Thus the Pran maya kosha is a subtler body to keep the gross body active. The gross (Anna maya Kosha) body can be compared as a conductor whereas the Pranamaya Kosha is the electrical charge flowing through the conductor
The remaining three bodies namely Manomaya Kosha, Vijnanmaya Kosha and Ananda maya Kosha shall be dealt within the next article to follow.

Yoga therapy of Diabetes:

This ailment is most rampant amongst the people these days. Before we give the details of Yoga therapy of this dire ailment let us know about its warning signals which are generally ignored by most of the people and they come to know of the problem when it is too late.

The warning Red Signals:

1. Sweetish taste in mouth.
2. Dryness of throat thereby causing excessive thirst.
3. Heaviness and burning sensation in limbs.
4. Lethargy and too much sleep.
5. Earthy colour and odour of the body.
6. Increase of wax in ears and nasal secretions.
7. Rough and tangled hairs.
8. Local itching of genetals, paraphymosis etc.
9. Ants and flies around the spot where urine is voided.

Causative factors:

(a) Over eating so sweets, sugar, jaggery, molasses etc.
(b) Excess eating of non-vegetarian Foods such as Fish, Fowl, Crabs, pigs, ducks etc.
(c) Preponderance of fresh corn (such as rice, wheat etc.) These should be used only after storing them for 8/9 months.
(d) Eating curds all year round specially very sour and half done viz premature curds.
(e) Over eating in general clubbed with sedentary habits, undue worries, stresses and mental shocks etc.
(f) Excessive use of fluids diet.
(g) Sleeping during day time.
(h) Hereditary causes.

Recommended Course:

  • The yogic course should be designed as per specific requirement of the individual, one’s physical ability to do the course, extent of disease, age of the patient etc.
  • The practive must be done under expert guidance strictly for least two months. Thereafter peroidical consultations advancements.
  • Strict diet control/moderations.
  • Yoga Asanas like hala, Mayur, Paschinottana Asana.
  • Practice of Yoga Mudra, K-Bhati, Nauli, Uddiyana Bandha, Bhujang (Tiryaka) Shava Asana or Yoga Nidra are proven value.
  • Potato, rice, fats, Beetroot, tapioca, sugar, sweet fruits (mango etc.) are strictly for-bidden.
  • Even if one is taking easy yogasanas and simple pranayamas and kriyas it will yield results but only through regular practice with devotion and utmost faith.
  • Merely mechanical performances of yoga postures won’t help much. One must possess a positive view towards the life.
  • Sun baths, general massage, deep breathing Mantra-Japa, evening walks.
  • Periodical examination of urine and Blood for sugar is absolutely necessary.

(AN OUNCE OF PRACTICE IS WORTH TONNES OF THEORY)

Human beings possess five kinds of vodies. These are the sheaths enveloping the self (Life). Actually ‘MIND’ is the bridge between Body and Soul. On one side it perceives the body and enables the man to glimpse the profundities of the spirit on the other. Thus it becomes of vital importance to understand the mind and its function only then body could be known along with its physical phenomena, also the spirit and the spiritual goals of life can be experienced only when one has the knowledge of the MIND.

To understand the “Manomaya Kosha” or the psychin body one has to largely depend on the intelect because the five organs of senses namely Eyes, Ears, Nose, Tongue and Skin can not experience the very existence of psychic Body. It will be better to try to experience this through its effects. The existence of Electricity in a wire is accepted only through various effects of the electricity. So it becomes easier to know the MIND and its manifestations through effects to cause method.

Placed in the similar conditions and circumatances, one person may experience great happiness, another may be full to grief and yet another may remain indifferent. What makes this difference in the inner life of man “It is the MIND.

Some persons perceive the world as an expression of Divinity and they always encounter harmony, happiness and beauty in all the objects. Of the world, whereas for a frustrated person the world is full of frustrated people and frustrating conditions. Also, the mind that has been craving for a particular conditions, later having encountered the object or the condition, considers it to be insignificant or sometimes, repug.

Due to ontricacies of mental functions and lack of knowledge of the MIND one does not know what one really wants. One also does not know what is the cause of one’s miner restlessness.

EVOLUTION OF THE UNIVERSE

When you enter into the realms of mind, you will be able to understand that you are not a personality of a few years, but you are an individualized continuity of existence. It is because of the lack of knowledge of mind. The enormous possibilities and latent. Potentialities are possessed by the MIND to harness the potentialities there is some specific yogic technique to unfold them. One who is going to study and understand the MIND is not MIND himself but some different entity. That is you. When you analyze your mind through enquiry, concentrate its energies and practice meditation you will be able to visualize the manifestations of the MIND. Thus when you shed the light to reason on the inner hidden recesses of your mind, the cause of miseries and sufferings will be destroyed atone.

mantra

Man’s miseries are not founded on truth but on falsehood, the falsehood and truth both can not coexist, so as soon as truth (self) is reached the falsehood is simultaneously abolished and then only bliss persists. One must enter into the study of mind with great patience and perseverance your mind is responsible for what you are and also for the circumstances that you have drawn to youself.

Your mind survives your physical death and continues to exist even after that and in times projects and creates another Body (physical through reincarnation. Your MIND at present is not completely based upon your experiences of this life alone, nor is it experiences and impressions of many past lives.

Yoga therapy of cardiac problems:

In spite of tremendous developments in the field of medical sciences there is no alternative to the disease free life. The influx of cardiac patients these days is so large and increasing at alarming rate that pace of growth of facilities to provide them adequate medical aid is lacking by a great degree. The only solution to this mismatching situation is to reduce the number of cardiac patients. The cause of most of cardiac complaints are rooted in the life style of the individual and a very few are due to physiological reasons. But to these both could be treated through yoga if one understands the underlying basis of the therapy and thus he or she must first understand the concept of yoga and yoga therapy.

The recommended regime is as follows:-

  • Para yogic exercises slowly leading to simple and easy yoga Asanas.
  • Deep breathing in Sukhasana or in lying down position slowly leading to Nari Shodhan Pranayamas, Ujjayee and Bhramri Pranayama.
  • Self Massage of entire body with auto suggestions as per guidance, at the end of daily practice.
  • Moderations in the life style and daily routines.
  • Practise of Ajapajap.
  • Practical of Yamas and Niyamas slowly leading to the practice of Astanga Yoga.
  • Practice of yamas and Niyamas slowly leading to the practice of Astanga Yoga.
  • Regular recitation of “Sree Lalita Sahastra Naamam” as per classical methodology. This alone can cure all the heart problems. (One has to study and gain guidance from experts.)
  • Listening to classical semi-classical or light and soothing music as per one’s taste and interests.
  • Creating a positive vision towards life.
  • Understanding the following duets through regular practice:-

         * Science and Spirituality.
         * Knowledge and Wisdom.
         * Individual consciousness and universal consciousness.
         * Individual self and all pervading spirit.
         * Man and God.
         * Material and Life.
         * Ephemeral and eternal.

  • Develop faith in religion which is nothing but righteous path of life.
  • Food should be simple, palatable, and digestible.
  • Avoid monotonous life style and have a change from city life to country life once a while.
  • Watch and enjoy the beauty and serenity of solitude in some natural place.
  • You must gain guidance of yoga from some able expert and must practice under his/her supervision for at least six months. Even at later stage periodical interaction of various aspects must be maintained.