Yoga as Alternative Medicine

April 20th, 2023 by

Yoga is an ancient system of healing that has been practiced for thousands of years. It has gained popularity in recent years as a form of alternative medicine due to its ability to promote physical, mental, and emotional health. In this blog post, we will explore some of the core concepts of yoga as an alternative medicine and highlight the importance of calming the mind towards overall wellbeing.

Yoga a Holistic Healing System

Yoga is a holistic system of healing that works on the mind, body, and spirit. It is based on the concept that the human body is a complex system of interconnected parts, and that when one part is out of balance, it affects the entire system. Yoga postures or asanas are designed to bring balance to the body by stretching, strengthening, and relaxing the muscles, while pranayama or breathing exercises help to regulate the flow of energy in the body.

The Importance of Mindfulness

Yoga emphasizes the importance of mindfulness, which is the practice of being fully present and aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Mindfulness helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and promotes a sense of calm and wellbeing. In yoga, mindfulness is cultivated through the practice of meditation, which involves focusing the mind on a single point of concentration.

The Role of Chitta

Chitta is a Sanskrit term that refers to the mind or consciousness. In yoga, it is believed that the state of the chitta is closely linked to physical and emotional health. According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the chitta can be disturbed by various mental states such as fear, anger, or desire. By practicing yoga, we can calm the chitta and bring it into a state of balance, which leads to greater wellbeing.

Yoga for Specific Health Conditions

Yoga has been found to be effective in managing a variety of health conditions, including back pain, arthritis, anxiety, and depression. Certain yoga poses and breathing techniques can help to alleviate physical symptoms and improve overall health and wellbeing. Additionally, yoga can be practiced as a complementary therapy alongside traditional medical treatments.

The Benefits of Regular Yoga Practice

Regular yoga practice has numerous benefits for physical, mental, and emotional health. It can improve flexibility, strength, and balance, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and boost overall mood and wellbeing. By cultivating a regular yoga practice, we can create a strong foundation for long-term health and wellbeing.

In conclusion, yoga is an effective form of alternative medicine that promotes holistic health and wellbeing. By focusing on the mind-body connection and cultivating mindfulness and calmness, we can improve our physical, mental, and emotional health. Whether practiced as a complementary therapy or as a standalone practice, yoga offers a powerful tool for promoting long-term health and wellbeing.

How to Avoid Stress Leading to Distress

February 22nd, 2023 by

Yoga is a great way to help avoid stress snowballing into distress. This ancient practice of calming the mind and body can be used as a preventative measure for burnout and stressful situations, or it can be used to manage existing levels of distress. Practicing yoga regularly has been proven to reduce cortisol levels, improve sleep quality, and enhance psychological well-being.

Stress Hormones

Yoga has been proven to be an effective way to avoid stress and burnout. Practicing yoga helps to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol, while also stimulating the production of endorphins which are known to promote feelings of wellbeing. Yoga can help you to develop better coping skills and become more resilient in the face of difficult situations. When practiced regularly, it helps to foster a deeper sense of self-awareness which can lead to more effective responses when faced with stressful circumstances.

It is important to remember that yoga is not a magic bullet; it takes time for the body and mind to adjust and adapt to its calming effects. But if practiced regularly and consistently, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for helping managers and working professionals manage stress levels.

From Where to Start

A good place to start is by creating a consistent practice that works for you. Identify what type of yoga best matches your needs, be it restorative or fast-paced vinyasa flow, or a moderated traditional hatha yoga and choose a style that resonates most with you. Incorporating breathing exercises into your routine can be helpful as they promote relaxation while also helping you stay present in the moment. Additionally, practicing mindfulness meditation or guided meditations before beginning your physical practice can provide focus and help clear the mind of any negative or intrusive thoughts that may arise during your practice.

Emotional Resilience

Moreover, another benefit of regular yoga practice is that it helps build emotional resilience. Research suggests that practicing yoga increases one’s capacity to cope with difficult emotions, enabling them to process their emotions in a healthy way rather than letting them spiral out of control. Additionally, research shows that regularly practicing yogic exercises such as deep breathing can help induce relaxation and mindfulness which helps indicate when a person might need to take a break from everyday stressful activities before it escalates into distressful situation.

Ultimately, yoga can help prevent stress from converting into distress if done consistently over time. It’s important not just on those days when life isn’t too overwhelming but also when everything seems calm; regular practice will aid in strengthening mental resilience so that even on those tough days there is an underlying foundation of calm regardless of external events taking place around us.

How to treat Arthritis with Yoga & Ayurveda

October 31st, 2022 by

Arthritis is one of the most common chronic diseases which affect many people around the world. The term arthritis is a general term which describes any inflammation in synovial joints accompanied by severe pain & in some cases immobility. There have been many researches around arthritis, yet its real cause is not clear to the scientists, hence there is not an effective treatment which can cure it. Most of the doctors prescribe painkillers or anti-inflammatory pills which cover the problem instead of curing it. According to Yoga and Ayurveda arthritis is not a disease by itself but an accumulation of toxins and malfunction of prana

Yoga and Ayurveda – the sister sciences

There is an ancient and deep connection between Yoga and Ayurveda. Both sciences began as an oral tradition that was passed down through generations before finally being written in books. They developed together and they have influenced each other within the years. In India Yoga & Ayurveda are considered as remarkable holistic systems that take into consideration all aspects of health and well-being – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Both sciences hold the same view that humans are miniatures of nature. This means that principles that are present in Universe are also present in us. Both these sciences have eight branches, the ‘eightfold’ paths of Ashtanga Yoga and Ashtanga Ayurveda. That is why Yoga and Ayurveda are also known as “sister sciences”. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj”, which means union and the word Ayurveda is composed of two syllables i.e., Ayur which means life and Veda which means knowledge; thus Ayurveda means the knowledge of life or the science of life.

Arthritis from Ayurveda point of view

Ayurveda holds the view that all the activities of the universe are mainly governed by moon and rain, sun and wind. These functions keep the balance in nature. The same functions take place in the human body due to their minute energies, which are known as doshas. The literary meaning of the word dosha is that which causes decay, destruction or vitiates others when in aggravated condition. However, in the case of the three doshas when they are in balance they maintain health and when they get disturbed they cause disease. When the three dosha become imbalanced, Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines which will assist the individual in balancing the dosha that has been disturbed.

The Ayurvedic Rishis included arthritis in many of the nervous system disorders. Basically according to Ayurveda arthritis is primarily a vata (air) dosha disorder which is due to accumulation of toxins in the joints and lack of digestion fire (indigestion). Poor eating habits and weak digestion allow impurities – toxins to accumulate, to circulate and to build up in the joints. This inhibits joint function, mobility and comfort. So, the way to treat arthritis is to stimulate the digestive fire and to vanish the toxins from the body.

Ayurveda suggests two general rules to enhance the digestive fire and to reduce the toxins. Firstly, according to Ayurveda we should cook the food with immune-enhancing spices such as cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric, ginger and black pepper and secondly we should avoid the factors that cause toxins such as leftovers, processed foods, ice-cold foods and drinks, and fried foods.

Extra Tips:

  1. In case of Arthritis you should drink one big glass of warm water with lemon juice day and night
  2. Boil five peppercorns with ten basil leaves and drink every morning for two weeks
  3. Apply cinnamon paste on your joints

Arthritis from Hatha Yoga perspective

Hatha yoga is the science of body purification. The main objective of Hatha Yoga is to create an absolute balance between all the activities of body and mind. To achieve this balance Hatha Yoga uses certain techniques, that is Shatkarma (body cleansing techniques), Asana (body postures), Pranayama (expansion of breath), Dharana (concentration techniques) and Meditation. The bija (seed) mantra ‘Ha’ stands for sun, which is related to the right side of the body (pingala nadi), while the bija mantra ‘Tha’ stands for moon, which is related to the left side of the body (ida nadi). Therefore the concept of Hatha Yoga is to bring harmony between these forces. The ultimate goal of Hatha Yoga is Raja Yoga (The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali).

According to Hatha Yoga the root cause of any disease is ignoring the initial signs of imbalances at the mental and pranic level. Our body communicates these imbalances but due to our improper lifestyle we are not aware of these imbalances and disease manifests. In the science of yoga arthritis is a symptom of metabolic malfunction and insufficient circulation of energy or blockage of energy in the joints. In other terms acidic wastes and toxins (mostly from indigested food), accumulate in the joint fluid, irritate the sensitive nerve fibers in the joint by causing pain and stiffness. This is how arthritis starts. In this case, what we have to do is to clean the body from these impurities by triggering the digestive fire and by inducing the motion in the joints, in order to have again movable and flexible joints.

Suggested Hatha Yoga techniques:

  1. Shatkarma (cleansing techniques) for arthritis:

Jala Neti & Kapalabhati

2. Asana (body postures)

Surya Namaskar

Pawanmuktasana (pict1), Bhujangasana (pict2), Shashankasana (pict3), Urdhva Hasta Uttanasana (pict4), Trikonasana (pict5), Vakrasana (pict6) Shavasana

3. Pranayama (expansion of breath):

Yogic (sectional) breathing

Please note that all the above suggested treatments of Yoga and Ayurveda do not replace any medical treatment that your doctor has suggested you. In the beginning they should be practiced under the guidance of an expert yoga teacher or ayurvedic doctor.

The role of Yoga – Asana in the Lower backache

August 28th, 2022 by

Backache is one of the most common physical disorders by which many people suffer today. It is estimated that between 60% and 70% of the population will suffer from an incident of acute or long-term lower backache at some stage during their life. Most orthopedic doctors know that the effectively treatment and therapy of backache can be a long term and frustrating affair for the doctor and for the patient. For this reason, doctors mostly prescribe painkillers, anti-inflammatory pills or in excessive cases they put injections, which cover the problem instead of curing it. However, research has shown that yoga offers a simple, effective and permanent cure to many chronic lower backache sufferers. If it is so then why many new yoga practitioners complain about lower backache after their yoga classes?

What causes the lower backache?

The majority of backaches are caused mostly by the sedentary lifestyle characterized by lack of exercise and overweight. These factors apply an excessive strain in the lower back region causing muscular insufficiency, stiffness or inflexibility of lower back muscles. This will gradually lead to a state of tight painful spasm in the relevant region which initially becomes semi-permanent and if not cured will become chronic. Furthermore, backache is caused by slipped disc, arthritis or degenerative joint disease. However, an acute lower backache commonly arises after bending forward with the knees straight trying to lift a weight from the floor. Lower backache can also occur by a trivial jolt or insignificant movement such as cough or sneeze.

What is the role of Yoga in lower backache

As yoga-asana is becoming more and more popular the last decades, the number of yoga practitioners has been notably increased in all the yoga studios and in all gym which include yoga classes in their schedule. Nevertheless, along with the increased number of yoga practitioners, a rise of lower backache complains has been aroused by the practitioners,especially beginners. But how can this be possible since a lot of researches have proved that yoga can lead as therapy to lower backache?

In ancient times, yogis used to practice yoga-asana with safety and awareness. They were able to maintain their body healthy by keeping their mind completely focused during their practice to absorb in detail the benefits of practice. This kind of practice approach is nowadays almost rare in a yoga studio and exceedingly unlikely to find in a vinyasa or power yoga class because of the yoga class structure’s fast flow.

In the current age of Kali Yuga, our minds are possessed with an intense passion of materialism. The time is limited and valuable, hence students prefer to attend 45’ to one-hour vinyasa or power yoga classes, to finish quickly because they have to return back to their office or to their chores. In such classes the time is limited and the flow is fast, so that they meet the demands of our daily busy lives. This means that there is not sufficient space to look right into the heart of asana and to establish the steadiness of mind so that it arrives at its deepest levels. Fast flow classes are composed by a lot of forward bending and this can be a reasonable cause of the lower backache, especially for the beginners. Many students do not have the relevant flexibility of the hamstrings which is prerequisite for the safety of the lower back. During a forward bend tight Hamstrings generate tension to the sitting bones (ischial tuberosity) and in combination with limited flexibility of hip joints, they prevent pelvis to rotate forward, hence bending does not happen from the hips (as it should have) but from the lower back and tension starts accumulating in the lumbar region. This repetitive tension along with weak lower back muscles and overweight create spasms in the lower back region, which in long-term will lead to lower backache.  One very common example of tight hamstrings is the rounded back, like semicircle, in all the forward bends and in adhomukhasvanasana or downward facing dog – as well.

Hatha Yoga as therapy for Lower Backache

Hatha Yoga is also known as the science of body purification. Its main objective is to create an absolute balance and a healthy state between body and mind. In Hatha Yoga Classes there is a holistic approach of the student’s personality in all levels (physical, mental, spiritual), which is achieved through asana, pranayama and meditation. Asana class structure is basically focused on body’s stimulation and relaxation. The pace is slow and calm which gives time to the students to understand the asana and adjust safely and comfortably into it. There are certain asana which are designed to increase the functional efficiency of lower back muscles with safety. When the lower back muscles become strong and flexible the lower back is protected and the lower backache is vanished or decreased. There have been recorded many cases of lower backache sufferers who have found relief after adopting a simple daily hatha yoga program for a certain period of time. This requires time, patience from the student and guidance from an expert teacher.

Recommended Yoga Program for lower backache

Asana: Balasana, pavamukhtasana, ArdhaShalambasana, Bhunjangasana, Setubaddhasana, Sarpasana, Vakrasana, Shavasana or advasana.

All the above asana should be performed under the guidance of an expert teacher and when there is no agitation of the lower backache.

Pranayama: Nadi Shodhana, Bhramari

Diet: Simple diet especially for excess weight loss. Fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses. Avoid too much sugar and spices or any food that creates constipation to you.

Besides the yoga program apply of heat in the lower back region, massage and rest are recommended as a therapeutic approach to the problem.

Be happy and practice safely.