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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Health Benefits of Yoga and Pranayama - Information



 Yoga and Pranayama "Yoga works primarily with the energy in the body, through the science of pranayama, or energy-control. Prana means also 'breath.' Yoga teaches how, through breath-control, to still the mind and attain higher states of awareness. The higher teachings of yoga take one beyond techniques, and show the yogi, or yoga practitioner, how to direct his concentration in such a way as not only to harmonize human with divine consciousness, but to merge his consciousness in the Infinite." - Paramahamsa Yogananda.  We offer consultation and lessons of yoga and pranayam to our distinguished patients. We prescribe these lessons according to the patient's health condition and ailment. In kaya Kalp, we follow a complete holistic and natural pattern of treatment, and also make certain that special attention and proper care is given to the patients by our dedicated and committed staff.  What is yoga? In practice, yoga is an applied science of the mind and body. It comes from the Hindu vedas (scriptures). Practice and study of it help to bring about a natural balance of body and mind in which the state of health can manifest itself. Yoga itself does not create health; rather, it creates an internal environment that allows the individual to come to his own state of dynamic balance, or health. Basically, yoga teaches that a healthy person is a harmoniously integrated unit of body, mind and spirit. Therefore, good health requires a simple, natural diet, exercise in fresh air, a serene and untroubled mind and the awareness that main's deepest and highest self is identical with the spirit of God. As a result, to many devotees, yoga becomes a philosophy that offers instruction and insight into every aspect of life: the spiritual, the mental and the physical. Of course, because it is all-encompassing, people who want to pick and choose from its smorgasbord can do so without being disappointed. Yoga is equally satisfying as a physical therapy alone.  Yoga breathing teachings: Karma, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana, Hatha Yoga, Kriya, Mantra, Kundalini, Laya, Ashtanga, Bikram and Anusara Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, concentration, through controlled breath.  Pranayama Yoga - Tantric Breathing Doing these tantra exercises helps to balance the energies within us. Tantra teaches that every adult has all their natural childlike energy within them, always waiting to be activated and help us be more creative, healthy, experience love, and feel happiness. Anyone can learn these home breathing techniques. All the information you need is right here on this web site and is absolutely free. Please feel free to share it with others and link to us!  Yoga Psychology Yoga is nearly 5000 years old. The sages or yogis were very keen observers of nature. They observed the postures of various animals and devised a system of exercise for human beings. Acharya patanjali one of the greatest philosopher and teacher of yoga has written a book in yoga by the name ‘Yoga sutras’ which is accepted as the basic text of ‘Yoga Darshan’.  The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “YUJ” which literally means ‘union’. It is believed that Soul; or eternal element in our body has to combine with ‘GOD’ for mukthi. The aim of yoga is detachment of eternal element or Soul from the worldly materials or desires which is the root cause for all evils and sins. To achieve this one has to be pure in mind, soul and body. This can be achieved by particising YOGA. As a field of teaching and research, yoga psychology has a recent beginning. Institutes and universities offering formal courses in the subject are very few. But its subject matter, principles and techniques are a matter of the ancient past glory of Indian society. Yoga is referred to in the Rig Veda and particularly in the Atharva Veda where there is an elaborate discussion of the individual’s psyche and well-being. However, the most systematic presentation on yoga was made by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras which, although a matter of controversy, may go back as far as 22 centuries ago. The principles and methods of Yoga described in the ancient Indian scriptures remained neglected for a long time because they were written in different Sanskrit slokas, and also because they were considered to be religious, philosophical and mystic. However, from the beginning of the 20th century, good translations and commentaries of the yogic literature were made available by Indian seers and scholars in different modern languages. The medical scientists and therapists of other fields, including psychology, began verifying yogic principles and using its techniques for promoting health and human adjustment. The practices of yoga, particularly raja yoga and hatha yoga, have withstood scientific tests and they have been found useful in curing many of the so-called incurable diseases.  However, the world of science has to acknowledge and appreciate that yoga is basically a science of mind. Even certain steps of raja yoga such as asana and pranayama are not just physical and physiological exercises. The eight steps of raja yoga present a balanced combination of the physiological yoga of vitality with the psychic yoga of meditation, and the real experience starts from the practice pf pratyahara. Yoga has been rightly defined by Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1980) as “a complete science of consciousness. It provides mastery over all stages of consciousness”. So, most of the yogic sadhanas aim to tune and control the mind. Other yoga practices and steps are a preparation for the same. Thus yoga has a close link with psychology. We know that earlier modern psychology was also defined as the study of the soul or mind which was later on spelled out in operational terms like conscious experience, behaviour and human adjustment. Yoga psychology presents a synthesis of the two disciplined of yoga and psychology. Precisely speaking, it deals with yogic concepts principles and techniques of psychological relevance. They need re-examination in the light available findings and models. It is amazing to note that many of the concepts which were brought to light in psychology in the 20th century were well-conceived and explained in the ancient literature of yoga psychology. In certain cases modern psychology has yet to match the progress made in the field of yoga psychology.  Different schools of Yoga: • Bhavana Yoga • Patanjali yoga or Astanga yoga          • Kundalini or Shakti yoga BHAVANA YOGA: The name itself indicates devotion. This includes Jnana yoga, Bhakti and Karma yoga KUNDALINI OR SHAKTI YOGA: Involves energy as power to stimulate the chakras. PATANJALI YOGA OR ASTANGA YOGA: The name itself indicates that asta means eight, angas means limbs/steps. Eight steps are recommended to gain control over the senses and for spiritual advancement. 1. YAMA - Means giving up vices. Yama involves behavioral commitments at the intellectual level like Non-Violence, Truth, Asteya (Non-Stealing), Brahmacharya (Celibacy) and Non hoarding. 2. NIYAMA - Means doing pure activities. Niyama involves behavioral commitments at the emotional level like Purity, contentment, understanding oneself through studies & Surrendering to GOD. 3. ASANA - Means posture. 4. PRANAYAMA - Involves controlling of air within the body in order to sensitize the mind to the process of self-realization. 5. PRATYAHARA - Means to withdraw one’s senses from the sense objects like a tortoise withdraws his body into his shell. 6. DHARANA - Means to fix one’s mind on an object. 7. DHYANA - Means meditation. 8. SAMADHI - Samadhi is the final stage in achieving control over sense organs. It involves persistent awareness of balanced conditions of the self.  Yoga Asana: • Yoga Asana is one among the Astanga yoga. Any posture that is comfortable can be defined as an Asana. • Asanas are of different types and numerous in number. Broadly some are sitting poses, Standing poses, Forward bending pose, backward bending poses, Lying down on the stomach poses and lying on the back poses. Yoga asanas help not only in physical exercise of the body but also helps to control breathing (prana Vayu) and increases the concentration power. • In case of yoga asanas seated postures helps to maintain spinal alignment and to create stability. Forward bending postures helps in stimulation of digestive juices and increase the spinal flexibility. Inverted poses help to stimulate endocrine system and allow for increased circulation. • While doing asanas breathing is very important i.e. breathing in and breathing out. By doing this the lungs improves its capacity and also the respiratory muscles gets toned up.   SURYA NAMASKAR (SALUTATION POSTURE) • Surya namasakara is considered to be most important because, it is said that each and every muscle of the body will get toned up by doing this asana. It integrates the body, mind and breath. • Surya Namaskara helps in blood circulation, strengthens the muscles, lubricates the joints, stimulates the digestion, improves memory power and concentration. Surya namaskara includes almost 12 asanas i.e. • Salutation position (Samasthiti) • Raised arm position (Tadasana) • Hand to foot (Uttanasana) • Equesterian position (Ashwa Sanchalanasana) • Mountain position (Adhomukha svanasana) • Eight limbs position (Ashtanga Namaskara) • Cobra position (Bhujangasana)  • ASANAS USED FOR MEDITATION Siddhasana (Accomplished posture), Padmasana (Lotus posture), Gomukhasana (Cow’s face posture), vajrasana etc. • ASANAS USED FOR PHYSICAL AND MUSCULAR RELAXATION Shavasana (cadaver posture), Makarasana (crocodile posture). • PRONE POSTURES OR LYING ON THE BACK Meerudandasana, matsyasana (Fish pose) • SUPINE POSTURE Bhujangasana (Cobra’s Pose), Arda shalabasana (Butterfly pose) • SEATED POSTURE OR SITTING POSES Paschithomasana, vajraasana (Meditation), Shalabasana • STANDING POSTURE Hasthapadaasana (Forward bending pose), Trikonaasana (Triangular pose)   Some of the uses of Asanas: Name of the Asana Helps Sarvanga Asana (Shoulder stand) Migraine, Headache, Liver disorders, Hypertension and indigestion. Matsyasana (Fish Pose) Sinus congestion, Sore throat, Bronchitis Dhanurayasana (Bow Pose) Reduces abdominal fat, bronchitis, Asthma, constipation. Padmasana (Lotus Pose) Liver disorder, mental concentration Paschimothasana (Forward bending Pose) Reduces abdominal fat, strengthens the spine, regulates the menstrual problems Shiroasana (Head stand Pose) Improves memory power Bhujangasana (Cobra’s Pose) Strengthens the spinal muscles, relieves constipation. Vajrasana Concentration, digestion Trikonasana (Triangular Pose) Strengthens the lateral spinal muscles.  Benefits of Yoga:  The most important benefit of yoga is physical and mental therapy. The aging process, which is largely an artificial condition, caused mainly by autointoxication or self-poisoning, can be slowed down by practicing yoga. By keeping the body clean, flexible and well lubricated, we can significantly reduce the catabolic process of cell deterioration. To get the maximum benefits of yoga one has to combine the practices of yogasanas, pranayama and meditation.  Regular practice of asanas, pranayama and meditation can help such diverse ailments such as diabetes, blood pressure, digestive disorders, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, chronic fatigue, asthama, varicose veins and heart conditions. Laboratory tests have proved the yogi’s increased abilities of consciously controlling autonomic or involuntary functions, such as temperature, heartbeat and blood pressure. Research into the effects of yogic practices on HIV is currently underway with promising results.  According to medical scientists, yoga therapy is successful because of the balance created in the nervous and endocrine systems which directly influences all the other systems and organs of the body. Yoga acts both as a curative and preventive theraphy. The very essence of yoga lies in attaining mental peace, improved concentration powers, a relaxed state of living and harmony in relationships.  Through the practice of yoga, we become aware of the interconnectedness between our emotional, mental and physical levels. Gradually this awareness leads to an understanding of the more subtle areas of existence. The ultimate goal of yoga is to make it possible for you to be able to fuse together the gross material (annamaya), physical (pranamayya), mental (manomaya), intellectual (vijnanamaya) and spiritual (anandamaya) levels within your being.  Physiological Benefits: Physicians and scientists are discovering brand new health benefits of yoga everyday. Studies show it can relieve the symptoms of several common and potentially life-threatening illnesses such as arthritis, arteriosclerosis, chronic fatigue, diabetes, AIDS, asthma and obesity. 1) Asthma Studies conducted at yoga institutions in India have reported impressive success in improving asthma. It has also been proved that asthma attacks can usually be prevented by yoga methods without resorting to drugs. Physicians have found that the addition of improved concentration abilities and  yogic meditation together with the practice of simple postures and pranayama makes treatment more effective. Yoga practice also results in greater reduction in anxiety scores than drug therapy. Doctors believe that yoga practice helps patients by enabling them to gain access to their own internal experience and increased self-awareness.  2) Respiration Problems Patients who practice yoga have a better chance of gaining the ability to control their breathing problems. With the help of yogic breathing exercises, it is possible to control an attack of sever shortness of breath without having to seek medical help. Various studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of yoga for patients with respiratory problems.  3) High Blood Pressure The relaxation and exercise components of yoga have a major role to play in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure (hypertension). A combination of  biofeedback and yogic breathing and relaxation techniques has been found to lower blood pressure and reduce the need for highblood pressure medication in people suffering from it.  4) Pain management Yoga is believed to reduce pain by helping the brain’s pain center regulate the gate-controlling mechanism located in the spinal cord and the secretion of natural painkillers in the body. Breathing exercise used in yoga can also reduce pain. Because muscles tend to relax when you exhale, lengthening the time of exhalation can help produce relaxation and reduce tension. Awareness of breathing helps to achieve calmer, slower respiration and aid in relaxation and pain management. Yoga’s inclusion of relaxation techniques and meditation can also help reduce pain. Part of the effectiveness of the yoga in reducing pain is due to its focus on self-awareness. This self-awareness can have a protective effect and allow for early preventive action.  5) Back Pain Back pain is the most common reason to seek medical attention. Yoga has consistently been used to cure and prevent back pain by enhancing strength and flexibility. Both acute and long-term stress can lead to muscle tension and exacerbate back problems.   6) Arthritis Yoga’s gentle exercise designed to provide relief to joints had been Yoga’s slow-motion movements and gentle pressures reach deep into troubled joints. In addition, the easy stretches in conjunction with deep breathing exercise relieve the tension that binds up the muscles and further tightens the joints. Yoga is exercise and relaxation rolled into the perfect anti-arthritis formula.  7) Weight reduction     Regular Yoga practice can help in weight management. Firstly, some of the asanas stimulate sluggish glands to increase their hormonal secretions. The thyroid gland, especially, has a big effect on ours weight because it affects body metabolism. There are several asanas, such as the shoulder stand and the fish posture, which are specific for the thyroid gland. Fat metabolism is also increased, so fat is converted to muscle and energy. This means that, as well as losing fat, you will have better muscle tone and higher vitality level.      Yogic practices that reduce anxiety tend to reduce anxious eating. In addition, Yoga deep breathing increases the oxygen intake to the body cells, including the fat cells. This causes increased oxidation or buring up of fat cells. Yogic Exercises induce more continuous and deeper breathing which gradually burns, sometimes forcefully, many of the calories already ingested.  Psychological Benefits: Regular Yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, and centers attention and sharpness concentration. 1. Self-Awareness Yoga strives to increase self-awareness on both a physical and psychological level. Patients who study Yoga learns to induce relaxation and then to use the technique whenever pain appears. Practicing Yoga can provide chronic pain suffers with useful tools to actively cope with their pain and help counters feelings of helplessness and depression.  2. Mental Performance A common technique used in yoga is breathing through one nostril at a time. Electroencephalogram (EEG) studies of the electrical impulses of the brain have shown that breathing through one nostril results in increased activity on the opposite side of the brain. Some experts suggest that the regular practice of breathing through one nostril may help improve communication between the right and left side of the brain. Studies have also shown that this increased brain activity is associated with better performance and doctors even suggest that Yoga can enhance cognitive performance.  3. Mood Change And Vitality Mental health and physical energy are difficult to quantify, but virtually everyone who participates in Yoga over a period of time reports a positive effect on outlook and energy level. Yogic stretching and breathing exercises have been seen to result in an invigorating effect on both mental and physical energy and improved mood.  Yoga Psychology as a Basic Science Yoga psychology is both a positive and a normative science. As such it not only analyses human Personality and its growth, but sets normative ideals and prescribes techniques to achieve such objectives. Expansion of consciousness and making oneself the master of ones mind are the broad objectives of Yoga psychology.  The topographical aspect of mind as Freud, towards the end of the 19th century, in terms of conscious, subconscious and unconscious levels, was well-conceived in Yogic literature dormant, which was called the level of nidra or sushupti (deep sleep). Going a step ahead, Yoga accepts the fourth level-tueiya, i.e., transcended consiousness or the superconsious mind. When the mind reaches such a height of sadhana, cognitions do not remain dependent upon the senses, the individuality is transcended, and the mind acquires equanimity. This is called awaking of the superconcious mind.  The psychodynamic aspect of the mind has been described in terms of the id, ego and the superego. Psychoanalysis emphasizes that in order to live a normal life; an optimum strength of ego is must to counterbalance the forces of the id, ego and super ego. It underlines that too strong an id makes a person impulsive and sociopathic, and that too strong a super ego makes him mentally ill. But what happens the ego becomes very strong and dominant? According to Yoga psychology, in such a condition the individual becomes egoistic and develops ahamkara (pride), which is the root cause of all psychosomatic problems.  This brings to the forefront the concept of the evolution of the mind as conceived in yoga psychology. Consciousness has a wider connotation in yoga. It may be sensorial, intellectual or psychic. Sensorial consciousness is based on sense experiences, whereas the intellectual consciousness is based on cues and their interpretation through the intellect. On the other hand, the psychic consciousness or vivid and sound meditation produces for the attainment of this psychic consciousness or super conscious mind through the awakening of kundalini. The awakening of kundalini takes place through gradual aestivation of the seven chakras (psychic centers). They are mooladhara, swadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddhi, ajna and sahasrara. The literature prescribes the conditions, precautions and methods of sadhana for stimulating the chakras and awaking the kundalini. Awakening of the dormant 90% of mind and union of the kundalini Shakti awakened in mooladhara with pure consciousness of sahasrara is called self-realization. This evolution of mind through Yogic sadhana is a gradual process. It brings balance and harmony in the personality and makes life blissful.  It is only that there has been a global interest in the quality of human life and psychological well-being has been conceived of by the psychologist in terms of happiness and satisfaction or gratification subjectively experienced by the psychologists in terms of happiness and satisfaction or gratification subjectively experienced by the individuals (okun & stock, 1987). This affective reaction of satisfaction need not be positively related to the objective conditions of life. One may be dissatisfied with life inspite of having plenty of material and family richness (Lawton, 1983). The psychological or subjective well-being is more a question of our own attitude and approach to life situations and events. Freedman (1978) has shown that cognitive processes such as aspiration, social comparison and adaptation level have much to do with it. Long ago Yoga psychology emphasized the role of positive cognition, thinking and approach for achieving pleasure and satisfaction in life. Yogic practices reduce negative thinking and negative emotion. Bhakti Yoga and Ishwarapranidhana of raja Yoga provide the useful techniques of dedication to God and offering prayers with a feeling to help build positive attitudes and techniques of confidence. The practices of Shiva bhavana and maître bhavana as described in Yoga Vashishtha psychotherapeutic significance has been established by a number of studies conducted earlier in Kashi Manovigyanshala at Varanasi. The SWAN model presented by Paramahamsa Niranjanananda is good cognitive technique of self-appraisal. The four letters of SWAN refer to the strengths, weaknesses, Ambitions and Needs of individuals. They provide objective criteria of self-appraisal and parameters to evaluate progress in self-awareness and satisfaction. The modern cognitive approach to life was well understood in Yoga psychology. In the second sloka of his Yoga sutras patanjali defied yoga as control of the chittavrittis (modifications of mind). He mentioned the following five vrittis or cognitive modifications of mind. They are: 1. Pramana      -     Proof or valid cognition, 2. Viparyaya    -     Illusion or invalid cognition, 3.  Nidra           -    Objectless verbal cognition, 4. Smriti            -    Memory or recollection of past cognitions. These vittis, when related to narrow worldly gains and losses, become sources of affliction or pain and are called klista vrittis. But they can be transformed into aklista vrittis by making them positively and spiritually oriented. Patanjali has mentioned two broad of controlling the vrittis. They are (1) abhyasa (practice) of meditation other Yogic practices and (2) vairagya (detachment).       The cognitive mental modifications of Klista nature lead to pain and misery. Yoga psychology has enumerated five such basic distresses known as pancha kleshas. They are (1) avidys (ignorance or nescience), (2) asmita(egoism), (3) dwesha (hatred), and has underlined that avidya or flase notion lies at the root of all other distress. Avidya does not ultimate gives pain. These kleshas give to rise to psychological and problems. Yoga psychology explains them and their management on the basis of the attachment-detachment model of mental health. Asakti (attachment) and vairagya(detachment) are two. Asakti means attachment with anasakti (non-attachment) being between the two. Asakti means attachment with worldly affairs and things. Literally, It means narrowing the area of consciousness. This leads to raga, depression and other mental and psychosomatic problems. Vairagya is the height of the nivritti way of life which is too difficult to be achieved by normal householders. It is ideal mode of life set by the saints and rishis. Yoga psychology prescribes anasakti as the middle path to enjoy lasting happiness and peace without being involved and disturbed as the middle path to enjoy lasting happiness and peace without being involved and disturbed by asakiti. An elaborate description of the asakiti-anasakti model of mental health has been presented by Bhushan (1994). As regards methods of study, looking within is the primary method of understanding yogic experiences. This is different from the ordinary method of introspection used in psychology. Visualization, awareness and witnessing the images in a neutral manner with drashta  bhava are the keys of yogic meditation and sadhana. The principle of homeostasis or balance is central in yoga psychology. It holds that any sort of imbalance in the physical, psychological or pranic system creates problems and disorders and the cure lies in rebalancing it. Another scientifically sound concept is acceptance of individual differences. yoga psychology presents a clear description of different types of human personality and prescribes different yogic practice for them. The most important one is based on the three gunas of sattwa, rajas and tamas. These gunas are largely acquired and so through them a desired transformation in attitude and personality is possible by yogic practices.  Yoga psychology as an applied science The relevance of an academic discipline lies in its utility and application in finding solutions to the problems facing the individual and society. From this viewpoint, yoga psychology has special significance. Some of the issues and areas in which it has important applications are mentioned below.  1.promoting health Yoga believes in total health. But it does hold that health has three integrated aspects, i.e., physical, psychological and spiritual. We cannot think of good health by taking care of one aspect and ignoring the other ones. The fact is that if we ignore the mental or the spiritual aspects, physically also we cannot remain healthy. Each aspect of health influences the other. Total good health means physical fitness, mental ability and spiritual verve. Yoga stands for both physical and mental well-being and higher spiritual attainments. Thus it presents a wider spectrum that the modern viewpoint of psychosomatics. Good illustrative books are now available which discuss in detail the possible effects of yogic asanas, pranayamas, pratyahara and meditation techniques on the body, mind and expansion of consiousness(e.g. Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, 1993; Swami Satyananda Saraswati,  1996; Motoyama, 1979). Tracing the link between yoga and oriental medicine has concluded that yoga is based on the holistic knowledge of different aspects of a person’s being. A good number of studies have established the beneficial effects of meditation and other yogic practices in managing anxiety (jangid et al, 1988; Sharma & Agnihotri, 1982) depression and other types of neurotic disorders (Jaug, 1975; Nagarathna & Nagendra,1980).  They have been found equally useful in treating stress-related psychosomatic disorders like diabetes (Divekar, 1982), tension headache (Sethi et al, 1981), hypertension and schemic heart (Swami Karnananda Saraswati, 1982; Ornish, 1990). Studies have been conducted to examine the effects of yogic practices on neural functioning, including the ANS and brain waves (Ramamurthi, 1977; Varma, 1979). However, more well-designed experimental research is needed to examine the physiological based of the different yogic techniques. Similarly the psychotherapeutic use& rational for the effects of specific asanas, pranayamas & meditation techniques, like antar mouna, ajapa japa, chidakash dharana, etc. needs to be confirmed through planned experimental studies. There is also the need to review and integrate the findings of research conducted at a large number of centers in different places. According to yogic theory, diseases develop because of imbalance in the psychosomatic and pranic systems. The yogic practices restore the balance and remove the toxins from the nadis and the body systems. The same practices help build a defense against disease and promote healthy living. The practice of health yoga has special cleansing and balancing effects on the body and mind.  2. Developing positive attitudes and feelings Everyone wants to be happy and to enjoy life, but because of our faulty approach and negative feelings we often carry fear, apprehension and suffer agony in life. Verma (1988) has proposed a dual factor theory of mental health according to which the factors or conditions contributing to positive and negative mental health are different. As such, the absence of certain factors contributing to negative set and health does not lead to positive mental health. Yogic practices psychological well-doing by providing the insight to perceive positive affect, pleasure and satisfaction .Understanding and practicing  the principles of karma yoga reduces the magnitude of expectation and consequential frustration. A study conducted recently under the guidance of Swami Niranjanananda  Saraswati (1996) by the extension wing of Bihar Yoga Bharati, Munger, on a total of 1140 prisoners of24 jails in Bihar is worth mentioning here . Yoga training was provided to the convicts in three spells, each of 15 days duration. Pre and post comparison of data indicated that the prisoners who participated in all three programs reported as physically fitter and the mentally happier. There was a substantial reduction in their negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and depression, as well as in interpersonal conflicts. Better sleep and mental peace were also reported. Ninety –six prisoners who were addicted to tobacco and smoking bidis took a sankalpa (resolve) to give up the habit, and surrendered their tobacco, bidis, etc. to the yoga teacher. To what extent the psychological and behavioral modifications are sustained is the subject of a follow up study which the Institute is carrying out. Encouraged by the yoga training, the Government of Bihar has taken a policy de3cision to introduce yoga training in all the 82 jails of Bihar on a regular basis. With this objective,136 life convicts, Selected on the basis of their yogic skills and aptitude, have been give Yoga Teacher Courses by qualified sannyasins of Bihar School of yoga ,so that they may now act as yoga teachers to provide yoga training in the on a regular basis.  3. Improving concentration, abilities and skills Most of our problems in life are on account of excitations, and the flickering and fluctuating nature of the mind. Selected yogic practices enhance the mental alertness. Creative ability and learning capacity of individuals (Swami Muktananda Saraswati, 1982). This has received support from the recent finding of a research report undertaken on young scientists by Shelvamurthy(1966).The results indicate that , compared to the control group of young scientists who were given yoga practices performed better in concentration, memory, cognitive management of situations, stress management, coping with hot and cold conditions, etc. such finding provide a basis for the introduction of yogic practices in different training programs .The initiative taken by the Central Government and many State Governments to introduce yogic training for school students is in the right direction.  4. Promoting a congenial organizational climate and work proficiency Recent experience of introducing yogic practices in management programs shows that it may serve as a good relief in reducing organizational stress and in promoting a congenial work climate. The practice of yoga nidra, certain selected asanas, pranayamas and meditations are useful to relax and quieten the mind (Bhole, 1981; Datey, 1978; singh etal, 1978). They can be conveniently introduced in an organizational setup to promote alertness, congenial feelings, job satisfaction and work proficiency.  5. Combatting social problems Certain studies like that of Kaul (1993) have shown that selected yogic practices are beneficial in managing drug addiction and alcoholism. Similarly, violence, group conflicts and prejudices prevail in society mostly on account of ego problems and emotional instability. As stated earlier, since the yogic practices are capable of reducing aggression and negative feelings, and are helpful in quietening the mind, they serve as important tools to combat many problems. The experience of conducting yoga programs in jails (referred to above) provides convincing data on positive transformations in feelings, attitudes and expectations of the convicts in the jails and improvement in their interpersonal relationships. The principles of yoga psychology can, therefore, be used as corrective measures for promoting desirable social behaviour and minimizing many social problems based on distrust and hatred. The yogic literature says that a predominance of tamas, which often creates social problems, is minimized and transformed into rajas or sattwa dominance by yogic practices. This theoretical assertion needs more experimental verification and proper application.  6. Promoting the self Yoga is not only a curative and preventive measure for diseases and social maladies, but also a promotive science of the human personality. The practice of meditational techniques brings a qualitative change in human personality and they are capable of taking the self to a higher level. Expansion of consciousness, development of extrasensorial capabilities and sambhava, coupled with feelings of no-attachment are some of the characteristic features of a realized person. The self at this level of psychic development is called ‘sarveshwar’. This is a blissful life in which individuality is transcended and the mind acquires complete equanimity.


Yoga and Pranayama

"Yoga works primarily with the energy in the body, through the science of pranayama, or energy-control. Prana means also 'breath.' Yoga teaches how, through breath-control, to still the mind and attain higher states of awareness. The higher teachings of yoga take one beyond techniques, and show the yogi, or yoga practitioner, how to direct his concentration in such a way as not only to harmonize human with divine consciousness, but to merge his consciousness in the Infinite." - Paramahamsa Yogananda.

We offer consultation and lessons of yoga and pranayam to our distinguished patients. We prescribe these lessons according to the patient's health condition and ailment. In kaya Kalp, we follow a complete holistic and natural pattern of treatment, and also make certain that special attention and proper care is given to the patients by our dedicated and committed staff.

What is yoga?

In practice, yoga is an applied science of the mind and body. It comes from the Hindu vedas (scriptures). Practice and study of it help to bring about a natural balance of body and mind in which the state of health can manifest itself. Yoga itself does not create health; rather, it creates an internal environment that allows the individual to come to his own state of dynamic balance, or health. Basically, yoga teaches that a healthy person is a harmoniously integrated unit of body, mind and spirit. Therefore, good health requires a simple, natural diet, exercise in fresh air, a serene and untroubled mind and the awareness that main's deepest and highest self is identical with the spirit of God. As a result, to many devotees, yoga becomes a philosophy that offers instruction and insight into every aspect of life: the spiritual, the mental and the physical. Of course, because it is all-encompassing, people who want to pick and choose from its smorgasbord can do so without being disappointed. Yoga is equally satisfying as a physical therapy alone.

Yoga breathing teachings:

Karma, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana, Hatha Yoga, Kriya, Mantra, Kundalini, Laya, Ashtanga, Bikram and Anusara Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, concentration, through controlled breath.

 

Pranayama Yoga - Tantric Breathing

Doing these tantra exercises helps to balance the energies within us. Tantra teaches that every adult has all their natural childlike energy within them, always waiting to be activated and help us be more creative, healthy, experience love, and feel happiness. Anyone can learn these home breathing techniques. All the information you need is right here on this web site and is absolutely free. Please feel free to share it with others and link to us!

 

Yoga Psychology

Yoga is nearly 5000 years old. The sages or yogis were very keen observers of nature. They observed the postures of various animals and devised a system of exercise for human beings. Acharya patanjali one of the greatest philosopher and teacher of yoga has written a book in yoga by the name ‘Yoga sutras’ which is accepted as the basic text of ‘Yoga Darshan’.

The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “YUJ” which literally means ‘union’. It is believed that Soul; or eternal element in our body has to combine with ‘GOD’ for mukthi. The aim of yoga is detachment of eternal element or Soul from the worldly materials or desires which is the root cause for all evils and sins. To achieve this one has to be pure in mind, soul and body. This can be achieved by particising YOGA.

As a field of teaching and research, yoga psychology has a recent beginning. Institutes and universities offering formal courses in the subject are very few. But its subject matter, principles and techniques are a matter of the ancient past glory of Indian society. Yoga is referred to in the Rig Veda and particularly in the Atharva Veda where there is an elaborate discussion of the individual’s psyche and well-being. However, the most systematic presentation on yoga was made by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras which, although a matter of controversy, may go back as far as 22 centuries ago.

The principles and methods of Yoga described in the ancient Indian scriptures remained neglected for a long time because they were written in different Sanskrit slokas, and also because they were considered to be religious, philosophical and mystic. However, from the beginning of the 20th century, good translations and commentaries of the yogic literature were made available by Indian seers and scholars in different modern languages. The medical scientists and therapists of other fields, including psychology, began verifying yogic principles and using its techniques for promoting health and human adjustment. The practices of yoga, particularly raja yoga and hatha yoga, have withstood scientific tests and they have been found useful in curing many of the so-called incurable diseases.

However, the world of science has to acknowledge and appreciate that yoga is basically a science of mind. Even certain steps of raja yoga such as asana and pranayama are not just physical and physiological exercises. The eight steps of raja yoga present a balanced combination of the physiological yoga of vitality with the psychic yoga of meditation, and the real experience starts from the practice pf pratyahara. Yoga has been rightly defined by Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1980) as “a complete science of consciousness. It provides mastery over all stages of consciousness”. So, most of the yogic sadhanas aim to tune and control the mind. Other yoga practices and steps are a preparation for the same.

Thus yoga has a close link with psychology. We know that earlier modern psychology was also defined as the study of the soul or mind which was later on spelled out in operational terms like conscious experience, behaviour and human adjustment. Yoga psychology presents a synthesis of the two disciplined of yoga and psychology. Precisely speaking, it deals with yogic concepts principles and techniques of psychological relevance. They need re-examination in the light available findings and models. It is amazing to note that many of the concepts which were brought to light in psychology in the 20th century were well-conceived and explained in the ancient literature of yoga psychology. In certain cases modern psychology has yet to match the progress made in the field of yoga psychology.

 

Different schools of Yoga:

  • Bhavana Yoga
  • Patanjali yoga or Astanga yoga         
  • Kundalini or Shakti yoga
BHAVANA YOGA: The name itself indicates devotion. This includes Jnana yoga, Bhakti and Karma yoga
KUNDALINI OR SHAKTI YOGA: Involves energy as power to stimulate the chakras.
PATANJALI YOGA OR ASTANGA YOGA: The name itself indicates that asta means eight, angas means limbs/steps. Eight steps are recommended to gain control over the senses and for spiritual advancement.
1. YAMA - Means giving up vices. Yama involves behavioral commitments at the intellectual level like Non-Violence, Truth, Asteya (Non-Stealing), Brahmacharya (Celibacy) and Non hoarding.
2. NIYAMA - Means doing pure activities. Niyama involves behavioral commitments at the emotional level like Purity, contentment, understanding oneself through studies & Surrendering to GOD.
3. ASANA - Means posture.
4. PRANAYAMA - Involves controlling of air within the body in order to sensitize the mind to the process of self-realization.
5. PRATYAHARA - Means to withdraw one’s senses from the sense objects like a tortoise withdraws his body into his shell.
6. DHARANA - Means to fix one’s mind on an object.
7. DHYANA - Means meditation.
8. SAMADHI - Samadhi is the final stage in achieving control over sense organs. It involves persistent awareness of balanced conditions of the self.

Yoga Asana:

·         Yoga Asana is one among the Astanga yoga. Any posture that is comfortable can be defined as an Asana.
·         Asanas are of different types and numerous in number. Broadly some are sitting poses, Standing poses, Forward bending pose, backward bending poses, Lying down on the stomach poses and lying on the back poses. Yoga asanas help not only in physical exercise of the body but also helps to control breathing (prana Vayu) and increases the concentration power.
·         In case of yoga asanas seated postures helps to maintain spinal alignment and to create stability. Forward bending postures helps in stimulation of digestive juices and increase the spinal flexibility. Inverted poses help to stimulate endocrine system and allow for increased circulation.
·         While doing asanas breathing is very important i.e. breathing in and breathing out. By doing this the lungs improves its capacity and also the respiratory muscles gets toned up.


SURYA NAMASKAR (SALUTATION POSTURE)
  • Surya namasakara is considered to be most important because, it is said that each and every muscle of the body will get toned up by doing this asana. It integrates the body, mind and breath.
·         Surya Namaskara helps in blood circulation, strengthens the muscles, lubricates the joints, stimulates the digestion, improves memory power and concentration.
Surya namaskara includes almost 12 asanas i.e.
  • Salutation position (Samasthiti)
  • Raised arm position (Tadasana)
  • Hand to foot (Uttanasana)
  • Equesterian position (Ashwa Sanchalanasana)
  • Mountain position (Adhomukha svanasana)
  • Eight limbs position (Ashtanga Namaskara)
  • Cobra position (Bhujangasana)

·         ASANAS USED FOR MEDITATION
Siddhasana (Accomplished posture), Padmasana (Lotus posture), Gomukhasana (Cow’s face posture), vajrasana etc.
·         ASANAS USED FOR PHYSICAL AND MUSCULAR RELAXATION
Shavasana (cadaver posture), Makarasana (crocodile posture).
·         PRONE POSTURES OR LYING ON THE BACK
Meerudandasana, matsyasana (Fish pose)
·         SUPINE POSTURE
Bhujangasana (Cobra’s Pose), Arda shalabasana (Butterfly pose)
·         SEATED POSTURE OR SITTING POSES
Paschithomasana, vajraasana (Meditation), Shalabasana
·         STANDING POSTURE
Hasthapadaasana (Forward bending pose), Trikonaasana (Triangular pose)


Some of the uses of Asanas:
Name of the Asana
Helps
Sarvanga Asana (Shoulder stand)
Migraine, Headache, Liver disorders, Hypertension and indigestion.
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Sinus congestion, Sore throat, Bronchitis
Dhanurayasana (Bow Pose)
Reduces abdominal fat, bronchitis, Asthma, constipation.
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Liver disorder, mental concentration
Paschimothasana (Forward bending Pose)
Reduces abdominal fat, strengthens the spine, regulates the menstrual problems
Shiroasana (Head stand Pose)
Improves memory power
Bhujangasana (Cobra’s Pose)
Strengthens the spinal muscles, relieves constipation.
Vajrasana
Concentration, digestion
Trikonasana (Triangular Pose)
Strengthens the lateral spinal muscles.

 

Benefits of Yoga:

ü  The most important benefit of yoga is physical and mental therapy. The aging process, which is largely an artificial condition, caused mainly by autointoxication or self-poisoning, can be slowed down by practicing yoga. By keeping the body clean, flexible and well lubricated, we can significantly reduce the catabolic process of cell deterioration. To get the maximum benefits of yoga one has to combine the practices of yogasanas, pranayama and meditation.

Regular practice of asanas, pranayama and meditation can help such diverse ailments such as diabetes, blood pressure, digestive disorders, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, chronic fatigue, asthama, varicose veins and heart conditions. Laboratory tests have proved the yogi’s increased abilities of consciously controlling autonomic or involuntary functions, such as temperature, heartbeat and blood pressure. Research into the effects of yogic practices on HIV is currently underway with promising results.
ü  According to medical scientists, yoga therapy is successful because of the balance created in the nervous and endocrine systems which directly influences all the other systems and organs of the body. Yoga acts both as a curative and preventive theraphy. The very essence of yoga lies in attaining mental peace, improved concentration powers, a relaxed state of living and harmony in relationships.
ü  Through the practice of yoga, we become aware of the interconnectedness between our emotional, mental and physical levels. Gradually this awareness leads to an understanding of the more subtle areas of existence. The ultimate goal of yoga is to make it possible for you to be able to fuse together the gross material (annamaya), physical (pranamayya), mental (manomaya), intellectual (vijnanamaya) and spiritual (anandamaya) levels within your being.

 

Physiological Benefits:

Physicians and scientists are discovering brand new health benefits of yoga everyday. Studies show it can relieve the symptoms of several common and potentially life-threatening illnesses such as arthritis, arteriosclerosis, chronic fatigue, diabetes, AIDS, asthma and obesity.

1) Asthma
Studies conducted at yoga institutions in India have reported impressive success in improving asthma. It has also been proved that asthma attacks can usually be prevented by yoga methods without resorting to drugs.

Physicians have found that the addition of improved concentration abilities and  yogic meditation together with the practice of simple postures and pranayama makes treatment more effective. Yoga practice also results in greater reduction in anxiety scores than drug therapy. Doctors believe that yoga practice helps patients by enabling them to gain access to their own internal experience and increased self-awareness.

2) Respiration Problems
Patients who practice yoga have a better chance of gaining the ability to control their breathing problems. With the help of yogic breathing exercises, it is possible to control an attack of sever shortness of breath without having to seek medical help. Various studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of yoga for patients with respiratory problems.

3) High Blood Pressure
The relaxation and exercise components of yoga have a major role to play in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure (hypertension). A combination of  biofeedback and yogic breathing and relaxation techniques has been found to lower blood pressure and reduce the need for highblood pressure medication in people suffering from it.

4) Pain management
Yoga is believed to reduce pain by helping the brain’s pain center regulate the gate-controlling mechanism located in the spinal cord and the secretion of natural painkillers in the body. Breathing exercise used in yoga can also reduce pain. Because muscles tend to relax when you exhale, lengthening the time of exhalation can help produce relaxation and reduce tension. Awareness of breathing helps to achieve calmer, slower respiration and aid in relaxation and pain management.

Yoga’s inclusion of relaxation techniques and meditation can also help reduce pain. Part of the effectiveness of the yoga in reducing pain is due to its focus on self-awareness. This self-awareness can have a protective effect and allow for early preventive action.

5) Back Pain
Back pain is the most common reason to seek medical attention. Yoga has consistently been used to cure and prevent back pain by enhancing strength and flexibility. Both acute and long-term stress can lead to muscle tension and exacerbate back problems.


6) Arthritis
Yoga’s gentle exercise designed to provide relief to joints had been Yoga’s slow-motion movements and gentle pressures reach deep into troubled joints. In addition, the easy stretches in conjunction with deep breathing exercise relieve the tension that binds up the muscles and further tightens the joints. Yoga is exercise and relaxation rolled into the perfect anti-arthritis formula.

7) Weight reduction
Regular Yoga practice can help in weight management. Firstly, some of the asanas stimulate sluggish glands to increase their hormonal secretions. The thyroid gland, especially, has a big effect on ours weight because it affects body metabolism. There are several asanas, such as the shoulder stand and the fish posture, which are specific for the thyroid gland. Fat metabolism is also increased, so fat is converted to muscle and energy. This means that, as well as losing fat, you will have better muscle tone and higher vitality level.

    Yogic practices that reduce anxiety tend to reduce anxious eating. In addition, Yoga deep breathing increases the oxygen intake to the body cells, including the fat cells. This causes increased oxidation or buring up of fat cells. Yogic Exercises induce more continuous and deeper breathing which gradually burns, sometimes forcefully, many of the calories already ingested.

 

Psychological Benefits:

Regular Yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, and centers attention and sharpness concentration.

1. Self-Awareness
Yoga strives to increase self-awareness on both a physical and psychological level. Patients who study Yoga learns to induce relaxation and then to use the technique whenever pain appears.
Practicing Yoga can provide chronic pain suffers with useful tools to actively cope with their pain and help counters feelings of helplessness and depression.

2. Mental Performance
A common technique used in yoga is breathing through one nostril at a time. Electroencephalogram (EEG) studies of the electrical impulses of the brain have shown that breathing through one nostril results in increased activity on the opposite side of the brain. Some experts suggest that the regular practice of breathing through one nostril may help improve communication between the right and left side of the brain. Studies have also shown that this increased brain activity is associated with better performance and doctors even suggest that Yoga can enhance cognitive performance.

3. Mood Change And Vitality
Mental health and physical energy are difficult to quantify, but virtually everyone who participates in Yoga over a period of time reports a positive effect on outlook and energy level.
Yogic stretching and breathing exercises have been seen to result in an invigorating effect on both mental and physical energy and improved mood.

 

Yoga Psychology as a Basic Science

Yoga psychology is both a positive and a normative science. As such it not only analyses human Personality and its growth, but sets normative ideals and prescribes techniques to achieve such objectives. Expansion of consciousness and making oneself the master of ones mind are the broad objectives of Yoga psychology.

The topographical aspect of mind as Freud, towards the end of the 19th century, in terms of conscious, subconscious and unconscious levels, was well-conceived in Yogic literature dormant, which was called the level of nidra or sushupti (deep sleep). Going a step ahead, Yoga accepts the fourth level-tueiya, i.e., transcended consiousness or the superconsious mind. When the mind reaches such a height of sadhana, cognitions do not remain dependent upon the senses, the individuality is transcended, and the mind acquires equanimity. This is called awaking of the superconcious mind.

The psychodynamic aspect of the mind has been described in terms of the id, ego and the superego. Psychoanalysis emphasizes that in order to live a normal life; an optimum strength of ego is must to counterbalance the forces of the id, ego and super ego. It underlines that too strong an id makes a person impulsive and sociopathic, and that too strong a super ego makes him mentally ill. But what happens the ego becomes very strong and dominant? According to Yoga psychology, in such a condition the individual becomes egoistic and develops ahamkara (pride), which is the root cause of all psychosomatic problems.

This brings to the forefront the concept of the evolution of the mind as conceived in yoga psychology. Consciousness has a wider connotation in yoga. It may be sensorial, intellectual or psychic. Sensorial consciousness is based on sense experiences, whereas the intellectual consciousness is based on cues and their interpretation through the intellect. On the other hand, the psychic consciousness or vivid and sound meditation produces for the attainment of this psychic consciousness or super conscious mind through the awakening of kundalini. The awakening of kundalini takes place through gradual aestivation of the seven chakras (psychic centers). They are mooladhara, swadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddhi, ajna and sahasrara. The literature prescribes the conditions, precautions and methods of sadhana for stimulating the chakras and awaking the kundalini. Awakening of the dormant 90% of mind and union of the kundalini Shakti awakened in mooladhara with pure consciousness of sahasrara is called self-realization. This evolution of mind through Yogic sadhana is a gradual process. It brings balance and harmony in the personality and makes life blissful.

It is only that there has been a global interest in the quality of human life and psychological well-being has been conceived of by the psychologist in terms of happiness and satisfaction or gratification subjectively experienced by the psychologists in terms of happiness and satisfaction or gratification subjectively experienced by the individuals (okun & stock, 1987). This affective reaction of satisfaction need not be positively related to the objective conditions of life. One may be dissatisfied with life inspite of having plenty of material and family richness (Lawton, 1983). The psychological or subjective well-being is more a question of our own attitude and approach to life situations and events. Freedman (1978) has shown that cognitive processes such as aspiration, social comparison and adaptation level have much to do with it.

Long ago Yoga psychology emphasized the role of positive cognition, thinking and approach for achieving pleasure and satisfaction in life. Yogic practices reduce negative thinking and negative emotion. Bhakti Yoga and Ishwarapranidhana of raja Yoga provide the useful techniques of dedication to God and offering prayers with a feeling to help build positive attitudes and techniques of confidence. The practices of Shiva bhavana and maître bhavana as described in Yoga Vashishtha psychotherapeutic significance has been established by a number of studies conducted earlier in Kashi Manovigyanshala at Varanasi. The SWAN model presented by Paramahamsa Niranjanananda is good cognitive technique of self-appraisal. The four letters of SWAN refer to the strengths, weaknesses, Ambitions and Needs of individuals. They provide objective criteria of self-appraisal and parameters to evaluate progress in self-awareness and satisfaction. The modern cognitive approach to life was well understood in Yoga psychology. In the second sloka of his Yoga sutras patanjali defied yoga as control of the chittavrittis (modifications of mind). He mentioned the following five vrittis or cognitive modifications of mind. They are:
  1. Pramana      -     Proof or valid cognition,
  2. Viparyaya    -     Illusion or invalid cognition,
  3.  Nidra           -    Objectless verbal cognition,
  4. Smriti            -    Memory or recollection of past cognitions.
These vittis, when related to narrow worldly gains and losses, become sources of affliction or pain and are called klista vrittis. But they can be transformed into aklista vrittis by making them positively and spiritually oriented. Patanjali has mentioned two broad of controlling the vrittis. They are (1) abhyasa (practice) of meditation other Yogic practices and (2) vairagya (detachment).
     
The cognitive mental modifications of Klista nature lead to pain and misery. Yoga psychology has enumerated five such basic distresses known as pancha kleshas. They are (1) avidys (ignorance or nescience), (2) asmita(egoism), (3) dwesha (hatred), and has underlined that avidya or flase notion lies at the root of all other distress. Avidya does not ultimate gives pain.
These kleshas give to rise to psychological and problems. Yoga psychology explains them and their management on the basis of the attachment-detachment model of mental health. Asakti (attachment) and vairagya(detachment) are two. Asakti means attachment with anasakti (non-attachment) being between the two. Asakti means attachment with worldly affairs and things. Literally, It means narrowing the area of consciousness. This leads to raga, depression and other mental and psychosomatic problems. Vairagya is the height of the nivritti way of life which is too difficult to be achieved by normal householders. It is ideal mode of life set by the saints and rishis. Yoga psychology prescribes anasakti as the middle path to enjoy lasting happiness and peace without being involved and disturbed as the middle path to enjoy lasting happiness and peace without being involved and disturbed by asakiti. An elaborate description of the asakiti-anasakti model of mental health has been presented by Bhushan (1994).

As regards methods of study, looking within is the primary method of understanding yogic experiences. This is different from the ordinary method of introspection used in psychology. Visualization, awareness and witnessing the images in a neutral manner with drashta  bhava are the keys of yogic meditation and sadhana.

The principle of homeostasis or balance is central in yoga psychology. It holds that any sort of imbalance in the physical, psychological or pranic system creates problems and disorders and the cure lies in rebalancing it. Another scientifically sound concept is acceptance of individual differences. yoga psychology presents a clear description of different types of human personality and prescribes different yogic practice for them. The most important one is based on the three gunas of sattwa, rajas and tamas. These gunas are largely acquired and so through them a desired transformation in attitude and personality is possible by yogic practices.

 

Yoga psychology as an applied science

The relevance of an academic discipline lies in its utility and application in finding solutions to the problems facing the individual and society. From this viewpoint, yoga psychology has special significance. Some of the issues and areas in which it has important applications are mentioned below.

1.promoting health
Yoga believes in total health. But it does hold that health has three integrated aspects, i.e., physical, psychological and spiritual. We cannot think of good health by taking care of one aspect and ignoring the other ones. The fact is that if we ignore the mental or the spiritual aspects, physically also we cannot remain healthy. Each aspect of health influences the other. Total good health means physical fitness, mental ability and spiritual verve. Yoga stands for both physical and mental well-being and higher spiritual attainments. Thus it presents a wider spectrum that the modern viewpoint of psychosomatics. Good illustrative books are now available which discuss in detail the possible effects of yogic asanas, pranayamas, pratyahara and meditation techniques on the body, mind and expansion of consiousness(e.g. Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, 1993; Swami Satyananda Saraswati,  1996; Motoyama, 1979). Tracing the link between yoga and oriental medicine has concluded that yoga is based on the holistic knowledge of different aspects of a person’s being.

A good number of studies have established the beneficial effects of meditation and other yogic practices in managing anxiety (jangid et al, 1988; Sharma & Agnihotri, 1982) depression and other types of neurotic disorders (Jaug, 1975; Nagarathna & Nagendra,1980).  They have been found equally useful in treating stress-related psychosomatic disorders like diabetes (Divekar, 1982), tension headache (Sethi et al, 1981), hypertension and schemic heart (Swami Karnananda Saraswati, 1982; Ornish, 1990). Studies have been conducted to examine the effects of yogic practices on neural functioning, including the ANS and brain waves (Ramamurthi, 1977; Varma, 1979). However, more well-designed experimental research is needed to examine the physiological based of the different yogic techniques. Similarly the psychotherapeutic use& rational for the effects of specific asanas, pranayamas & meditation techniques, like antar mouna, ajapa japa, chidakash dharana, etc. needs to be confirmed through planned experimental studies. There is also the need to review and integrate the findings of research conducted at a large number of centers in different places.

According to yogic theory, diseases develop because of imbalance in the psychosomatic and pranic systems. The yogic practices restore the balance and remove the toxins from the nadis and the body systems. The same practices help build a defense against disease and promote healthy living. The practice of health yoga has special cleansing and balancing effects on the body and mind.

2. Developing positive attitudes and feelings
Everyone wants to be happy and to enjoy life, but because of our faulty approach and negative feelings we often carry fear, apprehension and suffer agony in life. Verma (1988) has proposed a dual factor theory of mental health according to which the factors or conditions contributing to positive and negative mental health are different. As such, the absence of certain factors contributing to negative set and health does not lead to positive mental health. Yogic practices psychological well-doing by providing the insight to perceive positive affect, pleasure and satisfaction .Understanding and practicing  the principles of karma yoga reduces the magnitude of expectation and consequential frustration.
A study conducted recently under the guidance of Swami Niranjanananda  Saraswati (1996) by the extension wing of Bihar Yoga Bharati, Munger, on a total of 1140 prisoners of24 jails in Bihar is worth mentioning here . Yoga training was provided to the convicts in three spells, each of 15 days duration. Pre and post comparison of data indicated that the prisoners who participated in all three programs reported as physically fitter and the mentally happier. There was a substantial reduction in their negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and depression, as well as in interpersonal conflicts. Better sleep and mental peace were also reported. Ninety –six prisoners who were addicted to tobacco and smoking bidis took a sankalpa (resolve) to give up the habit, and surrendered their tobacco, bidis, etc. to the yoga teacher. To what extent the psychological and behavioral modifications are sustained is the subject of a follow up study which the Institute is carrying out. Encouraged by the yoga training, the Government of Bihar has taken a policy de3cision to introduce yoga training in all the 82 jails of Bihar on a regular basis. With this objective,136 life convicts, Selected on the basis of their yogic skills and aptitude, have been give Yoga Teacher Courses by qualified sannyasins of Bihar School of yoga ,so that they may now act as yoga teachers to provide yoga training in the on a regular basis.

3. Improving concentration, abilities and skills
Most of our problems in life are on account of excitations, and the flickering and fluctuating nature of the mind. Selected yogic practices enhance the mental alertness.
Creative ability and learning capacity of individuals (Swami Muktananda Saraswati, 1982). This has received support from the recent finding of a research report undertaken on young scientists by Shelvamurthy(1966).The results indicate that , compared to the control group of young scientists who were given yoga practices performed better in concentration, memory, cognitive management of situations, stress management, coping with hot and cold conditions, etc. such finding provide a basis for the introduction of yogic practices in different training programs .The initiative taken by the Central Government and many State Governments to introduce yogic training for school students is in the right direction.

4. Promoting a congenial organizational climate and work proficiency
Recent experience of introducing yogic practices in management programs shows that it may serve as a good relief in reducing organizational stress and in promoting a congenial work climate. The practice of yoga nidra, certain selected asanas, pranayamas and meditations are useful to relax and quieten the mind (Bhole, 1981; Datey, 1978; singh etal, 1978). They can be conveniently introduced in an organizational setup to promote alertness, congenial feelings, job satisfaction and work proficiency.

5. Combatting social problems
Certain studies like that of Kaul (1993) have shown that selected yogic practices are beneficial in managing drug addiction and alcoholism. Similarly, violence, group conflicts and prejudices prevail in society mostly on account of ego problems and emotional instability. As stated earlier, since the yogic practices are capable of reducing aggression and negative feelings, and are helpful in quietening the mind, they serve as important tools to combat many problems. The experience of conducting yoga programs in jails (referred to above) provides convincing data on positive transformations in feelings, attitudes and expectations of the convicts in the jails and improvement in their interpersonal relationships. The principles of yoga psychology can, therefore, be used as corrective measures for promoting desirable social behaviour and minimizing many social problems based on distrust and hatred. The yogic literature says that a predominance of tamas, which often creates social problems, is minimized and transformed into rajas or sattwa dominance by yogic practices. This theoretical assertion needs more experimental verification and proper application.

6. Promoting the self
Yoga is not only a curative and preventive measure for diseases and social maladies, but also a promotive science of the human personality. The practice of meditational techniques brings a qualitative change in human personality and they are capable of taking the self to a higher level. Expansion of consciousness, development of extrasensorial capabilities and sambhava, coupled with feelings of no-attachment are some of the characteristic features of a realized person. The self at this level of psychic development is called ‘sarveshwar’. This is a blissful life in which individuality is transcended and the mind acquires complete equanimity.







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Disclaimer: These articles is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. we used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.