The ultimate goal of Yoga may be stated as the union of the Individual Soul with the Supreme Soul. The great sage Patanjali identified the eight folds or limbsof Yoga for attaining this purpose asYamas (self restraints), Niyamas (fixed observances), Asanas (posture), Pranayama (regulation of breath), Pratyahara (abstraction), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (contemplation) &Samadhi (deep and devout meditation). Although the ultimate goal is to attain deep and devout meditation, the first step is always self-restraint in behavior towards oneself and society
As Yoga is a life science that perfectly covers all aspects of human life, it directly associates the human body with the human mind and marks out a designed pathway of progress toward shaping a healthy body and pure mind. The more advanced stages of Yoga cannot be attained without this purification ofbody and mind. And a healthy body and a pure mind are indispensable requirements for Yoga. Just as all the chords of all the musical instrument need to be adjusted perfectly for a melodious tune to play, so too the body and the mind must be coordinated/attuned with each other for the union of the Individual Soul with the Supreme Soul. The means for attaining union of the body with the mind is another stated goal of Yoga.
Practicingthe first four limbs enumerated above - self-restraint, fixed observance, posture, and regulation of breath, which constituteKriya Yoga, can bring about this union between the body and the mind. Practice of Kriya Yoga uproots the causes that create imbalance in the body and the mind and maintains the balanced state of both the body and the mind. Kriya Yoga is the process of purifying and maintaining balance of the body and mind. The practice of Kriya Yoga intensifies the experience of physical health and mental stability, retains the balance of the natural state of the body and mind, and generates preventive measures so that imbalance will not be produced in future and the unification between body and mind is perfectly maintained.
A natural balance exists between the actions and reactions of the body and mind that reacts to the internal or external arousals or sensations. The internal balance is perturbed at times of reactions. This is called Vikshepa (disconcert) in Yoga. The amount and intensity of disconcert created depends on the comparative forces of the arousing event and the reactive and comprehensive force of the body and mind. Thus, Yoga trains the body and mind to maintain the balance even at times of disconcert and in cases of imbalance and helps in quickly regaining of the balance and fast recovery of the natural state.
Diseases are created when there is a disturbance in the balance of the internal system. When the whole system succeeds in regaining balance and uprooting the cause of imbalance the disease ceases whilebody and mind get rid of disease and resume healthy, natural functioning/condition. The process of bringing body and mind to its natural state and maintaining its balance is sped up by the practice of Yoga.
Determining the elements creating the disease is the first step of the Yogic Therapy. These invading elements may be external or internal. Many diseases may be caused by unnecessary and excess stress. Searching for the cause of this stress and how or why it arises is essential. Determining the root cause of the disease and taking measures to uproot them is the second step of Yogic Therapy.
Suppose the root cause of a disease is over stress, what measures can be taken to release the stress? One is to keep a distance from the stressors. Suppose the patient’s stress is due to the participation in complex competitive games like chess or bridge, s/he may stop playing them to avoid the stress, but most of the time it is not possible to get rid of the causes of stress because they are unavoidable in life. At such times, the mind should be trained to regulate the stress levels and prevent them from crossing their limits. This is the second way of maintaining stress levels. And it is possible by practicing certain Yogic processes. After lowering the level of stress, bringing the body to its natural, healthy state is the third step in Yogic Therapy.
To clarify, let us use the following example. A thorn pricks our foot while walking. To prevent any thorn from pricking, the best way is to stop walking completely. But when walking is necessary, there are still two ways that may help us avoid being pricked by thorns. One is to remove the thorns from our path and then start walking and the second is by wearing sturdy boots or shoes to protect the feet. The second option is advocated by Yoga. The Yogic Therapy aims at improving the resistance power of the body.
It is believed that germs or viruses are the cause of many diseases. To treat these diseases the external cause, i.e. the virus, is treated and medicines are given to destroy the virus. No doubt the virus gets destroyed and the disease is cured. But the condition of the body that has helped the development of virus in the body remains the same or even worsens and the body becomes prone to catch the disease again.
The conflict between human beings and the viruses producing diseases has not come to an end. Human beings invent new medicines but the viruses do not respond to the medicines after some time and more effective medicines have to be invented to prove supremacy over the viruses. On the contrary, the medication reduces the resistance power of the body to fight the virus naturally whereas the strength of the viruses is increasing day by day. The medicinal force is inadequate to fight the increasing industrialism, pollution, changing rapid lifestyle, power of viruses and on the other hand the natural resistance power is lowering because of non-utilization of pranic energy.
Yogic Therapy is inclined towards increasing the inherent resistance power of the human body and mind. The various Yogic processes help in developing a state of balance of the body and mind in any circumstances. This implies that Yoga focuses on the internal state of body and mind rather than changing the outward circumstances. The Yogic processes that create their impressions on the body have to be practiced in depth while treating the disease. In the initial stage, only those processes that will wash out the effects of the outer circumstances should be practiced. After that, the processes that will improve the internal functioning of the body should be focused on. This does not complete the therapeutic treatment. Creating a physical base that will withstand recurrence of the disease is necessary. The processes that will help this need to be practiced so that even if external circumstances become unfavorable, the improved resistance power will withstand them and the recurrence of the disease will not take place. This is the reason why
Yogic Therapy proves more effective than any other therapy. Yogic Therapy has been formulated keeping in mind all these points discussed above.
Let us briefly review the koshas.
Yoga processes are supplementary to each other. Thus, if it is difficult for someone to follow self-restraints and fixed observances, the practice of postures and breath regulation may lead to a mindset in an individual that will then help him/her follow the self-restraints and fixed observances. And follow-up regarding selfrestraints and fixed observances will improve the performance of postures and breath regulation.
Practice of the processes discussed above help in improvement in the functions of the Annamaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha and the Manomaya Kosha resulting in the condition of ease, i.e. a healthy state.
Yoga Vidya Dham, Kaivalya Nagari,
College Road, Nashik - 422005.
Phone - +91-9822770727 (for courses in ENGLISH)
+91-253-2318090 (For courses, in HINDI or MARATHI)
(Please call during 9.00 AM to 5 PM Indian Time)
E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com