A Must for A Sound Mind & Sound Health
A sound health is most valuable gift of Nature to an individual. In reality it is essential for a happy and successful life. This is the greatest wealth and life is meaningless without it. Man can make proper use of it for material, moral, intellectual and spiritual progress. Enormous wealth fails to bring it back in case it is lost and then physical, mental and spiritual development becomes a dream to achieve. Mental health is all the more important than physical health. Even great doctors and scientists have accepted and realized the role of mind. They agree with one voice that it is infact the mind that moves the body and controls all the function of life. Most of the diseases are caused due to imbalance of mind. It includes an effective method for the right development of body, mind & spirit. In fact it is the sufferers who understand the true worth of health and not those who are quite healthy.
Now a question arises as to how many of us are really healthy. The answer certainly would be “ a few “. When we look around we find people quite tired, exhausted, frustrated, depressed & miserably in state of mental tension. This is no health and life. Thus the importance of this topic dealing with “Yoga & true health” is self-evident. We need to discuss some aspects of health, vitality, mental alertness and the role of yoga in promoting the same. The following allied points can be noted for our detailed consideration.
- Right concept of relevant yoga.
- Diagonosis of diseases from yoga point of view.
- Significance of health consciousness.
- Correct attitude towards health.
- Ideal characteristics of good health.
- Why yoga is the only way for good health.
- A few masterminded thoughts & formulate for attainment of health.
The above points shall be discussed on the basis of my personal experiences & understandings of yoga therapy, more so as they have kept me fit for 61 years.
Right Concept of Relevant Yoga
Yoga is one of the very important six systems of the ‘Indian Philosophy’. Though basically it is the same but it is known through many names viz. Bhakti Yoga, Gyan Yoga, Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Laya Yoga, Naad Yoga, Bindu Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Dhyan Yoga, Hatha Yoga etc. The methods through which they are practised are different but their goal is the same and that is “Liberation”, Eternal Peace, Bliss & Self-Realization. Here we shall mainly confine ourselves to and talk about “Ashtang Yoga” which is “Supreme” and contains the rest. It yields definite results and it practice leads the individual towards perfect physical health, mental peace & self-realization. It has eight subdivisions. They are Yama (restraint of passions), Niyama(religious observance), Asanas(Yogic Postures), Pranayama (regulation & control of breath), Pratyahara(withdrawl of senses from their objects), Dharna(concentration), Dhyana(meditation) & Samadhi(trance). It is the science of soul and is an art for living an exalted blissful life full of vigorousity. People in all countries of the world, more especially the westerners, are being attracted and fascinated, for they feel confident that they would secure, without any doubt, eternal peace, pleasure, everlasting youth, spiritual uplift and finally a state of self-realization through it.
Along with Ashtang Yoga, Yoga Acharyas have laid due emphasis on ‘Shat Karmas’(six processes); for these processes deal minutely with the functioning of various glands in the body. They assure proper working of nervous, respiratory system, digestive system, excretory system and various other systems in the body. This ‘Shat Karma’ include Dhauti((cleansing of the intestines and the stomach), Basti (cleansing of the rectum), Neti(cleansing of the nasal passage), Tratak(steady gaze), Nauli(moving the urethra right and left) and Kapalbhati(cleansing of the cranium with conscious forceful exhalations of breath). These help in cleansing the body internally by eliminating the waste, poisonous and harmful deposits that the bodily systems could not assimilate properly. If not removed, these cause various diseases, reduce the span of life and prove fatal in the long run. Alongwith these we have Asanas (health giving body postures), mudras (symbolic seals), Bandh(body binds or locks), Pranayama(control of prana through breathing exercises), Pratyahara (abstraction), Dharna(concentration), Dhyana(meditation) and Samadhi(trance). Asanas are performed for muscular power, Mudras for steadiness through control of Nerves and Bandh for control of various muscles. Pratyahara is for ‘Will Power’ and Pranayama helps for internal purity. Dharna, Dhyana and Samadhi are meant for attaining true knowledge of the Self and the Eternal truth and finally the state of Self-Realization. Thus it becomes clear that how rational, logical and scientific is the approach of Yoga that, if performed and practised in a right manner under guidance of a competent Sadgurudev(Spiritual master), one is sure to attain the goal. The striver is bound to get the powers that enable him to distinguish between the Absolute Truth and the falacity in addition to many more physical and mental powers.
Diagnosis of various diseases from Yoga point of view
Under yoga therapy it is believed that a good health does not mean that one is free diseases and ailments but that all the physical organs and the various systems in the body should function properly. Further there must be a harmonious development of physical, mental and spiritual powers. Thoughts, that is what one thinks or one’s mental make up, is responsible for one’s health. One fall a victim to a disease or deformity when minds gets polluted with bad thoughts. Though it affects whole of the body but the particular organ which has been weakened by irregular flow of bio-energy is the worst affected. The waste product gets accumulated in that part of body. Diseases are also caused due to imbalance in Vaat(wind), Pitta (bile) and Cough(Phelgm) in the body which again to due to wrong way of living and thinking. These are correlated with five main life currents Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana & Samana. These are very minutely connected with the five main elements Prithvi (Earth), Jal (Water), Agni(Fire), Vayu(Air) and Akash(Ether) respectively. All the systems in the body are interconnected with each other and so when one of them is adversely affected an imbalance is caused in all of them. As a result of this, they not only function sluggishly but also get exposed to degeneration due to harmful internal and external agencies.
Pran Shakti sustains and regulates all important metabolic functions of the human body. Prana Vayu affects digestion of food, Apana regulates excretion assimilates the food and finally Udana is responsible for metabolism and throat organs. Thus Pran Shakti is of great importance for smooth functioning of the bodily system and so pranayama(Control of breath) must be given the top priority. Now as “mind” is closely connected to “Prana”, the control of breath (Pran) helps in control of ‘mind’ which is turn helps elevation of mental and spiritual powers. Negative thinking is another factor that deteriorates health. It weakens ‘mind’ and ‘Pran Shakti’. Excessive, under or wrong eating, fear, worries, anxieties, anger, taking alcohol or other intoxicants, excessive intakes of tea, coffee and smoking etc. are other things that have adverse effects on the health of an individual and so one should try one’s best to keep away from them.
Significance of health
It has been observed that man of today is more conscious and concerned about money and material wealth rather than his health. Though the human body has far more importance than anything else in the world but people seem to take more care of their vehicles for maintenance as compared to their bodies, the carrier of their own lives. They forget that good health is the first need for a happy and prosperous life. A good care must be taken of it and in the event of a trouble the reason must be decided through introspection i. e. looking within for the irregularities. It should always be borne in mind that “good health” primarily depends on a healthy body, mind & environment. The atmosphere, society and the behavior of main is very closely associated with the health of man. Through Yoga and concentration only it is possible to understand the association between health and yoga. Yoga’s relevance to health culture is obvious as its practice and techniques deal with the conscious control of the body and emotions by “man within”. In yoga four types of consciousness has been described:-
- Physical consciousness :- How body functions.
- Thought consciousness :- How thoughts affects the body.
- Mental consciousness :- How mind(man) controls the thoughts and body.
- Absolute consciousness :- To see the real truth in one’s consciousness. or realisation
In the fourth type of consciousness when an individual enters he achieves the supreme height and walks in the higher planes. This is an integration of internal and external powers and pertains to association between the inner-self to the Supreme-Self. Thus yoga means ‘Addition’ i.e. ‘Linking’ or Association of Self with the Rest. The word ‘Yoga’ has been derived from Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which means ‘addition’ or joining of two into one. This not only means a union of ‘Pran and Apan’. ‘Soul and Super Soul’, ‘Mind and body’, but also a union of an individual with the external agencies, powers and environment. All creatures of this universe, undergo a continual process of evolution with the environmental conditions, is a hard fact established by all scientists of the world. Thus if an individual lives in tune with the environment and succeeds in establishing a harmonious union with the external powers through yoga, the chances of his falling a victim to diseases and maladies become bleak. Hence yoga keeps one in a state of constant consciousness and awakening for one’s health.