22 Oct Theraputic Yoga
Therapeutic Value of Yoga
B.Padmanabha Pillai, M.A.
Director of Yoga (Rtd.)
Normal functions of our body go on uninterrupted as long as our brain, heart, intestine etc., discharge their duties with out any defect. These are internal organs. They function by the autonomous nervous system. The subtle centers of the brain, circulatory system, respiratory system, and digestive system are working with out our knowledge as long as our health is nortmal.It is the involuntary nervous system that governs the automatic functions such as heart beat, peristaltic action of the intestine, circulation of blood, contraction and expansion of lungs, and kidneys and secretions from the endocrine glands. The above works are carried out with out the knowledge of the individual.But the presence of the organic function is noticed when the internal organs are strained due to some disease. The difficulty in the discharge of duties of the internal organs is traced as the cause of disease, when examined by an experienced physician.
Wrong habits are mostly the causes that create disease of the body. Spending sleepless nights, working without rest, inadequate food, hard labor etc., result in diseases like ulcer, asthma, gas trouble, diabetes, blood pressure and so on.There are many modern medicines newly discovered like anti-biotic pills and sulfa drugs which produce speedy action. Most people accept this treatment because it works on the molecular level, giving miraculous improvement with ib a short period.Most of the people are not patient enough to accept the old method working in the organs as it might take a long time to get a complete cure.
Though modern medicines show immediate results of improvement very few care to see that it undermines the intelligence of organs where by such diseases in the long run get immune to such medicines. It is in such cases that yoga therapy succeeds. This is because of the fact that we get in touch with higher consciousness of the body that controls the intelligence of the organs in the lower level. The secret of the functional divisions between the higher and lower centers has been found out by the sages of old. Th organic function of the lower level is controlled by prana ( the energy in the nervous system) in the higher level of consciousness.
This has been the result of the evolutionary process, of the body from the very ancient times.
By understanding the principle of the above connection, the yogis formulated a system which includes yogasanas, mudras, kriyas, bandhas, and pranayama. By these methods one can purify the body in its physical aspects, as well as develop the capacity in the higher levels, of consciousness.
Now let us examine how this relationship between the higher level of consciousness and the lower level of nervous system work as remedy to disease. It is here that the rhythmic and controlled system of breathing, otherwise known as pranayama is introduced, as a sure remedy to become immune to diseases. It helps to improve the resistance power, whereby the emotional stability of the organs, is regulated finally allowing the mind to keep the body at rest.
In preliminary stages it starts with some purification process like kapalabathy, Brahmamudra and agnimudra. Kapalabathy will purify the track, viz., nose, pharynx, larynx, tracheae and bronchi, and the alveolar duct to perform the practice of conscious breathing. easily. This purification process will open up the clogged nasal passages, and clears the sinuses of the mucus. This is a sure remedy for sinusitis early stages of tonsillitis, perpetual sneezing and perpetual cold.
By conscious breathing the nerve centers, situated in the medulla oblongata generates the stimulus that carries, the impulse to the muscles of the respiratory system, the diaphragm, and the intercostal muscles. This creates an introspective impulse originating in the cervical nerve roots. This impulse causes rhythmic contraction of the diaphragm. The chest cavity is increased to create more space with in the rib cage. This helps the elastic lungs to expand to contain more oxygen. There is saying that that every pinch oxygen will create a new molecule. This is how rejuvenation is affected in the body cells, where by the resistance power, is regained.
Agnisarakriya is an important remedy for ailments in the digestive system. The alimentary canal consists of stomach, duodenum, small and large intestines. Food passes through the track by means of a progressive contractual motion called peristalsis. The action caused by the involuntary muscular action is revitalized by the practice of agnisarakriya. Diseases like gastritis, colitis and other troubles due to ingestion of poison through food or bad diet are caused by slowing down or stopping of peristalsis in certain portions of the digestive system. Inflammation of any type can be cured by administration of medicine. But this does not necessarily reintroduce efficient peristaltic action. It is here that agnisarakriya help to revitalize the intelligence of the organ.
For normal happiness every body should follow a “yoga way of life”. For every facet of life, physical, mental and spiritual are being taken care of. The methods of achieving the well being have been explained in the writings of yogis of the past. Despite the great advancement in the fields of culture and civilization and development in the branches of science, technology and industry the welfare of the people and the consequent happiness of the individual have largely been ignored. Neglected and forfeited. Corruption, insecurity, violence and environmental abuse and economic depression have become a part of every day life. Discussions on the world problems, seminars and plans for major projects have brought only limited progress. The way and need for disciplined life have been pushed back. This has to be awakened only by a change in the consciousness in the individual. The problems of the individual and society are closely interwoven, Unless reasonable improvement is achieved, in the quality of individual life will never be happy. Living “a yoga way of life “ is the only remedy for that.
We speak of freedom. The real freedom lies in the soul. Individual soul ultimately unites with the universal The word yoga means yoke, to join. It comes from the Sanskrit word, yug – to join. This union of individual soul with the universal soul is called yoga. Good habits, physical exercises and spirit of services, faith and devotion will lead to mental and spiritual exercises which will end in the emancipation of the soul – the ultimate aim of life.