By Dr. S. Kulachandra Singh
Health is Wealth – Health is Happiness :
The secret of happiness is excellent health and cordial inter personal relationship with all. There is no need to explain how essential it is to be healthy. In this modern world one has no time to fall sick and also one cannot afford to be sick, as the management of sick person is becoming very costly.
Sickness is rigorous imprisonment :
When one is sick no doubt the sick person suffers physically, mentally, socially and of course economically. But he is also indirectly responsible for the unhappiness of his close relations and employer. Sickness is a sort of rigorous imprisonment.
Health – Happiness are not commodities :
One must realise health or happiness are not commodities. They cannot be purchased in the market, or can be borrowed from someone. Once state of health is directly related to his life style – namely the diet, exercises, rest he takes and the attitude with which he lives. Medical care – namely – different varieties of medicines. Surgical techniques, vaccinations etc. can prevent certain types of diseases, but they cannot make you healthy. Health is totally an outcome of once living style.
Many years back World Health Organisation had declared Health for all by 2000 AD while India had declared health for all by 1995. For this WHO had guided how to overcome malnutrition, supply clean drinking water, improve personal hygiene, vaccinations and inoculations. Family planning at all. These measures have helped to bring down certain germ oriented diseases. However there are certain Psycho-somatic diseases like Heart attack, Hypertension, Diabetes, Depression, Digestive System diseases are increasing in geometrical proportion and that too in so called educated and rich class of society. WHO has sent a warning to all developing countries especially Asian Countries like – India, that by 2020 to 2040, these countries are going to have diseases like – Coronary Artery diseases, Hypertension, Diabetes, Cancer etc. like an epidemic and that too in the age group of 30 to 40. That means those who are now in the age group of 10 to 15 are the likely candidates of this epidemic
Tension Bomb is more dangerous than Nuclear Bomb :
We know that in Second World War when atom bombs were exploded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 5 to 6 lakhs of people died on the spot, and another 3 to 4 lakhs afterwards due to its after effect. But this happened once only. Since then no atomic bomb were exploded, nor there is any likelihood.
But very few are really aware that there is one main reason which is killing billions of people every year all over the World without any distinction of caste or race or religion or nationality, and that is Tension or Stress Bomb. WHO health report says every year fifteen million people die due to stress oriented problems like Heart disease, diabetes, cancer etc. and this figure is going to raise to 4 to 5 times by 2020.
It has been conclusively proud that these diseases are mainly due to faulty life style- namely –
1) Life full of uncontrolled mental tension.
2) Faulty diet – namely diet full of dairy products, Bakery products, Animal products/processed, refined bottled or tinned food and beverages.
3) Increasing vices like tobacco, liquor.
4) Lack of physical exercises, sedentary habits leading to obesity
5) Increasing pollution in Air, Water and Food.
These are called as “RISK” factors.
So, it is obviously one wants to avoid these diseases one has to change his life style from high tension to tranquility, take proper type of food, Exercise, rest and abstain from vices.
Here comes the role of Yoga :
The science of Ashtanga Yoga is the greatest contribution of the ancient Indian culture to humanity. One of the aims of Yogic practice is to understand the mind and discipline it. It helps to develop control over the mind activities and produces on state of Harmony or integration, what is called as Samadhi – a state of balance between body mind – spirit so called ‘I’. This harmony is essential for the health. This harmony which is mainly disturbed by mind actively produces a state called as Vyadhi or Vikshepa or a state of Diseased i.e. Not at ease.
In Yoga this state has been described on feeling of sorrow, weakness nervousness, increase in breathing rate are signs of Vikshepa or what we called as stress. This stress or Vikshepa condition is produced due to the production of negative emotional impulses like Anger, Fear, Anxiety, Frustration, Greed, Jealousy. So basic attempt is needed to stop producing negative emotional impulses, and convert the same into positive emotional pattern like love, friendship, companion, sharing delight and capacity to pardon.
Stress Management through Ashtanga Yoga.
The regular practice of all the yogic procedures of eight fold yoga system namely Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi supported by proper lacto-vegetarian diet, rest and necessary adequate exercises is known to produce perfect balance between body and mind. It has been objectively proved that effect of Asanas, Pranayama, Meditation is to normalize the functions of the body, internal body systems and mind together. It is emphatically stated by Janardana Swami in his book on Yoga.
If one practices Yoga regularly and as per his capacity he is assured of health, happiness and contentment. These claims have been objectively proud by scientific experiments also.
A) Dr. Herbert Benson, cardiologist of Harvard School of Medicine, USA, has proved after decades of experiment that continued practice of Meditation leads to “Relaxation Response characterized by (i) Lowering of pulse rate, breathing rate, reduction in increased blood pressure. (ii) Feeling of well being (iii) Improvement in general body resistance (iv) reducing the speed of Aging. (v) Reduces bad cholesterol level in the blood and improves the immune system.
B) In 1988-89 Dr. Dean Orrish, Cardiologist from California University of America has conclusively proved that combination of Yogic way of life namely change of lifestyle, abstinance from nicotine, proper-cholesterol free vegetarian diet regular exercise reopen the blocked coronary artery from 56 yo 62% within a period of one year. That is Yoga has the power of reversing the disease and it can By-pass the By-pass surgery provided all the above things are done together.
It has been further proved that regular practice of yogic procedures affects at all the levels of life namely physiological, psychological and spiritual.
C) The regular practice of Yogasanas is known to improve the suppleness of spine, mobility of joints, tones and reflex activity of muscles, the envious and lymphatic drainage of internal organs, and overall improves the general body resistance. Yogasanas are not just physical excercises, aimed to increase muscle bulk or power. On the contrary they help to keep the body weight near to normal, improves the flexibility and suppleness of spinal column and joints and endurance of muscle activity. This is very very essential to avoid or postpone degenerative disease of joints.
D) Pranayama is known to improve the breathing capacity developing proper control over mind and strengthen autonomous nervous system and develop proper coordination between conical and autonomous nervous system which ultimately helps to combat stress much more efficiently. In the ancient scriptures it is started.
If one practices Pranayama and other parts of yoga properly one can get rid of all diseases. But if one doesn’t practice any part of Yoga properly it can give rise to all diseases.
Hence, one should learn yoga from an experienced yoga teacher.
E) Asanas and Pramayamas are mainly known to improve the functioning of neuromusculo-grandularaxis the functioning of which is responsible for the internal Homeostasis a natural genternal body resistance.
F) Meditation i.e. to “Live With Attention Without Tension” helps to reduce the production of stress to a great extent and also helps to accept the unavoidable reality.
It is to be kept in mind that the science of Yoga never originated on a Therapy. However, the effect of total yogic living style has been proud to avoid, control and cure certain stress-oriented diseases. This therapy has to be accepted as a style of living. Just practicing same asanas or pranayams sometimes and neglecting other aspects of Yoga won’t do. Remember that only Asanas means not Yoga Therapy, or there are no particular asanas for particular diseases.
The beauty of this Yogic Therapy alias yogic way of living is, it treats the person as a whole. In yoga one does not treat a part of body like neck, back, heart, etc. It takes into account all aspects of living of an individual namely physical exercises, mental attitude, social relationship, spiritual awareness, diet and abstinence from vices. Thus it is a total holistic approach or Art of living. The purpose of this approach is not just to get rid of some diseases but also to improve the personality as a whole and enjoy the jubilant feeling of well being.
One must realize that Yoga Therapy cannot replace conventional medicine completely. However, one should not ignore Yoga Therapy. Both yoga and conventional therapy have to go together. To start with yoga can be introduced as an adjustment to other Therapy. Continued practice of Yoga way of living is known to reduce the need of medicines by 25% to 100% in 6 months to 2 years period. It is known that it can avoid surgical intervention in problems like ischeamic heart disease, backache, sinusitis, Dyspepsia at all. However, one must practice Yoga properly and regularly.
Yoga therapy does not involve mere practice of Yogasana or Pranayama only. One of the most important aspects of Yogic art of living is to follow the precepts of Yama. However one should behave in the society with other. These precepts are Truth, Nonviolence Nonstealing, Non-attachement and Brahmacharya, Control over all the sense organs and at individual level, (leanliness) attitude contentment or witnessing Self study, Self efforts realizsng the ultimate reality and to take proper lacto-vegetarian food.
The aims of these guiding principles are not to being any limitations on the freedom of a person but it helps to make oneself healthy and develop good relationship with others, which is the back bone of good quality of life.
Thus yogic way of living which involves all dimensions of life namely Diet, Exercise, Thoughts, speaking and Acts is a complete Holistic art of living. Stress Management is the by -products.