Yoga and Health

Article by Yoga Jnana

Yoga is more an education and a way of life which heals itself. This is because it includes values, motives and attitudes, it encompasses routines, diet, good habits and also exercise and relaxation. Yoga looks at the whole organism and in this way is called ‘non-specific’. It is important to understand this if you want to make progress in Yoga or derive its real benefits. It is not concerned with the symptoms but with the entire personality.

A symptom is just a manifestation of all these levels. There are many causes of a headache. Aspirin only acts locally. What about the root problem? Discomfort or pain is a great educator. In our modern culture, we try to avoid pain and therefore Yoga says we do not learn. This keeps us in our old habits and yet pain is the body’s signal for us to make a change in our lifestyle.

Modern materialism looks for the cause of disease externally in a disease, a virus, a germ or an infection. Yoga believes in external and internal disharmony as a cause of disease.

This is known as Prajna Aparadha – the law of balance of mind as the cause of disease. Over-emotionality brings about more severe symptoms. The more the mind is balanced, the less severe the symptoms. In this way, integration of body and mind will cause less aggravated symptoms and less severe pain.

If we allow our mind to dwell on the injury or illness, this will both exaggerate and prolong the symptoms. Pain and discomfort often has no relation with the severity of the disease. Pain is very, very subjective. People with bad health sometimes adjust and carry on whereas others with mild symptoms complain of great pain. The mind plays so great a part.

Yoga therapy helps with this. The body works under its own logic. In the western culture, we strive to analyse every detail to eradicate disease but the body works under a subtler logic. This we could call the wisdom of the body. It As long as we do not make things worse this is where we can make a start. If you interfere you make difficul ties for yourself.

How does this work? If you try to follow effects through the body, nature will close up and you will learn nothing. The mind cannot follow. It is too ineffective. In the Indian tradition, it is a long term adjustment. Remember that excess in anything can cause illness.

Too much Tamas will cause cold and thickening and also dull reflexes. It is only removed by the influx of Rajas. This, in excess, manifests as heat, agitation, hunger and anxiety. Even too much Sattva leads to nervousness.

The Yoga way is one of awareness and observation over a long period of time.

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