Yoga Therapy

Science has enabled man to perform miracles. The height of a mountain or depth of an ocean is not all a problem to man. But it is a pity and painful fact that with these miracle powers man is still helpless in the hands of death and disease. Often he pays an untimely toll to death. Man should be the master of destiny, man should have the power to cure his diseases and to control his premature death. Indian yogic sciences are definite aids to this end

Yoga science is divided into three branches

Hatha yoga, Raja Yoga and the Vaidya yoga

The Hatha yoga stresses on the purification of the body. A pure body and perfect health are stepping stones to godly life and ideal life. Raja yoga stresses on purification of mind and suspension of mental operations. The Hatha yoga is mainly used in yoga therapy. Hatha yoga can be divided into 6 parts. Dhouti, Basti, Neti, Asana, Mudra and Pranayama

Yoga therapy has two aspects. One is the purification of the body by eliminating the toxins and accumulated waste materials using procedures like Dhouti, Basti and Neti.

The second aspect is the correction of pranic flow in the body through asana and pranayama

The accumulated Poisons are the nourishing food for all disease germs. If these are removed no dangerous diseases can attack our body. If these cleansing techniques are applied when diseased it will cure quickly.

The pranic flow or energy flow through the body is deteriorated during diseases and the imbalance of the pranic flow will increase the diseases. By the practice of asana and pranayama, energy flow through the subtlest channels of the body is increased. This is achieved by increasing the blood flow in the body. The blood flow is increased by the consecutive contraction/stretching and relaxation of various groups of muscles in the body.

A change in the attitude and lifestyle is necessary to help the individual to avoid the health hazards and cope with the future. The root cause of the ailment is stress. Through the various therapeutic techniques of yoga one can pluck out this root cause and provide health and harmony

WHO has recently defined health as the state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity. It is only recently that the modern science has accepted the mind and spirit as the integral part of human being. But the yogic tradition has recognized these fact centauries ago. According to yogic tradition there are 5 sheaths for human body.

They are

  • Physical body (Annamaya Kosha)
  • Pranic body (Pranamaya Kosha)
  • Mind body (Manomaya Kosha)
  • Intellect body (Vijanamaya Kosha)
  • Bliss body (Anandamaya Kosha)

Here health means the well being of all the 5 sheaths which is more vast and deep than the definition given by WHO

An individual needs proper balance of the 5 sheaths to be in a state of complete health. Pathogenesis according to yoga sastra can be explained as the disturbance occurring in the Manomaya kosha due to the interactions with the physical world. This disturbance in Manomaya kosha is called as Adhi.The stress disturbs the Prana in Prana maya kosha and finally manifests as diseases in Annamaya kosha. Due to the ailment, the individual becomes unhappy and low individual caliber. Thus he become completely ill health and imbalanced in all the 5 layers of existence.

The integrated approach of Yoga Therapy uses Asanas, Kriyas and Yogic diet for development to Annamaya kosha, Pranayama for Pranamaya kosha, meditation and devotional session for Manomaya kosha, notional correction for Vijanamaya kosha and working in relaxation for Anandamaya Kosha. Usage of all these practices is required for curing stress related diseases. Thus by these yogic techniques health, harmony and peace can be brought to the suffering humanity.

Asanas have their main purpose in making the nerves and muscles stronger and keep the spine flexible. As a machine cannot work without strong tape or chain which connects all portions of the machines, our body machine cannot work with out healthy, strong nerves and muscles. This is why asanas are essential for health.

The main purpose of Mudras is to keep the glands in health and proper function. These glands have great responsibility in maintaining physical health and mental equilibrium. The body becomes weak, invalid and diseased and finally falls prey to premature death due to lack of adequate secretions of endocrine glands. So the glands are the conductors, preservers and destroyers of the body. The practices of mudras are essential to regulate the glands in marinating normal health.

All created things are made up of prana or vital force. So prana is also the creator, conductor and preserver of the body. The process by which the expansion of the prana is managed is called Pranayama .Pranayama especially helps to maintain strong heart and lungs.

Hatha yoga was used by the Indian monks for prevention of diseases. Through Hatha yoga we can treat diseases like Heart diseases, hyper tension, coronary thrombosis, diabetes, asthma, gastric ulcer, carcinoma at the preliminary stages, dysentery and other chronic diseases. Yoga methods can claim the highest place among all systems of cure because the body’s self healing mechanism is promoted by activating the endocrine glands or by increasing the pranic flow through the body or by removing the blocks to the flow of pranic energy in the body .In all other systems of cure some other external agents are used as medicine which may act as toxins. Yogic therapy also improves the standard of life of the diseased person.

Therapeutic Applications

  1. By the practice of Dhouti karma, diseases like Kasa(cough), Swasa(dypsnea), Splenomegaly, skin diseases and 20 types of Kaphaja diseases are cured
  2. by practicing Vasti karma, diseases like Ascites, Tridoshaja diseases etc are cured
  3. Kapalabhati cures all diseases of the head
  4. Practices of Trataka cures diseases and all discomforts of eye
  5. Indigestion and related diseases are cured by Nauli
  6. Practice of Mayurasana cures diseases of sinus and diseases like Jwara, Gulma etc
  7. Bhadrasana is an anti dote to poison
  8. Matsyendrasana stimulates gastric fire and cures many terrible diseases
  9. The practice of Sarvangasana balances the endocrine system of the body
  10. The best among all asana, The Pascimothasana makes the breath flow through threw sushman, stimulates gastric fire and cures all diseases of man

Limitations of Yoga Therapy

  1. The practice of yoga cannot be prescribed as a medicament. Yoga is way of life and the patient must adopt it as a part of his life
  2. In acute conditions of diseases and in painful stages, it is not easy to perform asanas or other kriyas.
  3. Even though the cure of diseases through yoga is permanent, it is time consuming
  4. This method of treatment cannot be practiced with out the cooperation of the patient. The patience and determination of both the patient and physician is important here