Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NATURE CURE....Yoga Therapy.... Its completely all about Yoga

The Yoga Therapy or ‘ yoga-chikitsa’ refers to the treatment of diseases by means of yogic exercises which may be physical or mental or both. It is a specialised form of yogic culture. The term ‘ Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yug’ which means "to join" . It signifies unionbetween the individual soul(jivatma) and the universal soul (parmatma). It aims at obtainingrelief from pain and suffering. Basically, human evolution takes place on three different planes,namely physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga is a means of attaining perfect health by maintaining harmony and achieving optimum functioning on all three levels through complete self-control.Yogic kriyas, asanas and pranayama constitute the physical basis ofyoga. The practice of kriya sand asanas leads to excellent circulation. It also energises and stimulates major endocrineglands of the body. Yogic exercises promote inner health and harmony, and their regular practice helps prevent and cure many common ailments. They also help eliminate tensions, bethey physical, mental or emotional.Pranayama slows down the ageing process. In ordinary respiration, one breathes roughly 15times a minute, taking in approximately 20 cubic inches of air. In pranayama the breathing rate isslowed down to once or twice a minute and the breath inhaled is deep and full, taking nearly 100cubic inches of air.All yogic exercises should be performed on a clean mat, a carpet or a blanket covered with acotton sheet. Clothing should be light and loose-fitting to allow free movement of the limbs. Themind should be kept off all disturbances and tensions. Regularity and punctuality in practicising yogic exercises is essential. Generally, 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. is the ideal time for yoga practices.Yoga asanas and pranayama should be practised only after mastering the techniques with the help of a competent teacher. Asanas should always be practiced on an empty stomach. Shavasana should be practiced for a brief period before starting the rest of the exercises as thiswill create the right mental condition. Asanas should be performed at a leisurely slow-motionpace, maintaining poise and balance.Herein are described certain yogic kriyas, asanas and pranayama which have specific therapeutic values and are highly beneficial in the maintenance of health and the healing of diseases.
A disease-free system should be the starting ground for yogasanas and pranayama. There aresix specific cleansing techniques, known as Shat Kriyas, which eliminate impurities and helpcure many ailments. Of these, the following four can be practised safely.
1. Jalaneti :
Most diseases of the nose and thraot are caused by the accumulation of impurities in thenasal passage. Jalaneti is a process of cleansing the air passage of the nostrils and the throat by washing them with tepid saline water. Take a clean jalaneti pot. Put half a teaspoonful of salt in the pot and fill it with lukewarm drinking water. Stand up and tilt yourhead slightly to the right. Insert the nozzle of the pot in the left nostril and let the waterflow into it. Inhale and exhale through the mouth, allowing the water to flow out throughthe right nostril. Reverse this process by tilting your head to the left and letting the waterflow from the right to the left nostril.Jalaneti should be practised only in the morning. It will relieve sore throat, cold, cough,sinusitis, migraine, headache and cases of inflammation of the nasal membranes. Itkeeps the head cool and improves vision.
2.Vamana Dhouti or Kunjal :
This is a process of cleansing the interior of the stomach. Drink four to six glasses of tepidwater, with a little salt added to it, early in the morning on an empty stomach. Then standup, bend forward, insert the middle and index fingers of the right hand into the mouth untilthey touch the uvulva. Tickle it until you feel a vomiting sensation. The saline water thus ejected will bring up bile and other toxic matter with it. Repeat the process till all the wateris vomitted out. This should be done once a week or as and when necessary.It is beneficial for cleansing the stomach in cases of excessive bile, constipation, andgastric troubles. Persons suffering from hyper acidity should perform kunjal with unsaltedwater. It gives relief from headaches, nervous weakness, chronic cold, cough andasthma. It should not be practised by those suffering from high blood pressure, ulcers andheart trouble.
3.Kapalbhati :
Kapala means ‘skull’ and bhati means ‘shine’. This is a respiratory exercise for the abdomen and diaphragm. The channels inside the nose and other parts of the respiratorysystem are purified by this exercise. In the process, the brain is also cleared.Sit in a comfortable position, preferably in padmasana. Exercise the diaphragm byexhaling suddenly and quickly through both nostrils, producing a hissing sound. Inhalingwill be automotive and passive. The air should be exhaled from the lungs with a sudden,vigorous inward stroke of the front abdominal muscles. The abdominal stroke should becomplete and the breath should be expelled fully. While inhaling, no willful expansion isnecessary and the abdominal muscles should be relaxed. This exercise should be donein three phases, each consisting of 20 to 30 strokes a minute. A little rest can be taken inbetween . Throughout, the throacic muscles should be kept contracted.Kapalbhati enables the inhalation of a good amount of oxygen which purifies the bloodand strengthens the nerve and brain centres. This kriya provides relief in many lung,throat and chest diseases like chronic bronchitis, asthma, pleurisy and tuberculosis.
4.Trataka :
In yoga, four exercises have been prescribed for strengthening weak eye muscles,relieving eye strain and curing of eye disease. They are known as ‘ Trataka ‘ ,which insanskrit means ‘ Winkles gaze at a particular point." or looking at an object withawareness. The four tratakas are : Dakshinay jatru trataka in which, with face forwards,the eyes are fixed on the tip of the right shoulder ; Vamajatru trataka, in which the eyesare fixed on the tip of the left shoulder ; Namikagra trataka, in which the eyes are focussed on the tip of the nose, and Bhrumadhya trataka, in which the eyes are focussedon the space between the eyebrows. These exercises should be practiced from ameditative position like padmasana or vajrasana. The gaze should be maintained for aslong as you are comfortable, gradually increasing the period from 10 to 20 and then to 30seconds. The eyes should be closed and rested after each exercise. Persons with acutemyopia should perform the tratakas wit h their eyes closed.
1. Shavasana ( Dead body pose ) :
 Lie flat on your back, feet comfortably part, arms and hands extended about six inchesfrom the body, palms upwards and fingers half-folded. Close your eyes. Begin byconsciously and gradually relaxing every part and each muscle of the body ; feet, legs,calves, knees, thighs, abdomen, hips, back, hands, arms, chest,shoulders, neck, headand face. Relax yourself completely feeling as if your whole body is lifeless. Nowconcentrate your mind on breathing rhythmically as slowly and effortlessly as possible.This creates a state of complete relaxation. Remain motionless in this position,relinquishing all responsibilities and worries for 10 to 15 minutes. Discontinue the exercisewhen your legs grow numb.This asana helps bring down high blood pressure, and relieves the mind, particularly forthose who are engaged in excessive mental activity. This exercise should be done both atthe beginning and at the end of the daily round of yogic asanas. During a fast, shavasana soothes the nervous system.
2.Padmasana ( Lotus pose ) :
 Sit erect and stretch your legs out in front of you. Bend one leg to place the foot on thethigh of the other, the sole facing upwards. Similarly, bend the other leg too, so that theheels are opposite each other and placed in such a way that they press down on the other side of the groin. Keep your neck, head and spine straight. Place your palms oneupon the other, both turned upward and cupped, and rest them on the upturned heels alittle below the navel.Padmasana is a good pose for doing pranayama and meditation. It helps in the treatmentof many heart and lung diseases and digestive disorders. It also calms and refreshes themind.
3.Yogamudra :
 Sit erect in padmasana. Fold your hands behind your back, holding your left wrist with theright hand. Take a deep breath. While exhaling, bend forward slowly keeping your handson your back. Bring your face downwards until your nose and forehead touch the floor.While inhaling , slowly rise back to the upright position. The practice of this asana tonesup the nervous system, builds up powerful abdominal muscles and strengthens the pelvicorgans. It helps pep up digestion, boosts the appetite and removes constipation. It tonesup and relaxes the nerves of the head and face. It also strengthens the sex glands.
4.Vajrasana ( Pelvic pose ) :
 Sit erect and stretch out your legs. Fold your legs back, placing the feet on the sides ofthe buttocks with the soles facing back and upwards. Rest your buttocks on the floorbetween your heels. The toes of both feet should touch. Now, place your hands on yourknees and keep the spine, neck and head straight. Vajrasana can be performed evenafter meals. It improves the digestion and is beneficial in cases of dyspepsia,constipation, colitis, seminal weakness and stiffness of the legs. It strengthens the hips,thighs, knees, calves, ankles and toes.
5.Shirshasana ( Topsyturvy pose ) :
 Shirsha means ‘ head ‘ . In this asana, one stands on one’s head. Kneel on the ground,interlocking the fingers of both hands. Place the ‘ fingerlock ‘ on the ground in front of you,keeping the elbows apart. Support your head on the fingerlock. Then raise your feet slowly so that the calf muscles touch thethighs. Breathe normally. This is the first stage which should be done perfectly as thebalance of the final posture depends mainly on this stage. Next, raise your knees first andthen slowly raise the feet so that the whole body is straight, like a pillar. This is the finalpose. Return to the original position by reversing the order, step by step. The duration may be gradually increased by a further 10 seconds eachweek.Regular practice of shirshasana will benefit the nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive,excretory and endocrine systems. This asana helps cases of dyspepsia, seminalweakness, varicose veins, arteriosclerosis, jaundice, renal colic and congested liver.
6.Viparitakarani ( Inverted action pose ) :
Lie flat on your back, with your feet together and arms by your side. Press your palmsdown, raising your legs to a perpendicular position without bending the knees. Your palmsshould touch the waist. Then straighten your legs. The trunk should not make a rightangle with the ground but simply an upward slanting position. The chest should not pressagainst the chin but be kept a little away. To return to the ground, bring your legs downslowly, evenly balancing your weight.Through this asana, the muscles of the neck become stronger and blood circulation isimproved. The functioning of the cervical nerves, ganglia and the thyroid also get simproved.
7.Sarvagasana ( Shoulder stand pose ) :In Sanskrit ‘sarva’ means whole and ‘anga’ means limb. Almost all parts of the body areinvolved in and benefit from this asana. Lie flat on your back with your arms by the side,palms turned down. Bring your legs up slowly to a 90 o angle and then raise the rest ofthe body by pushing the legs up and resting their raise the rest of the body by pushing thelegs up and resting their weight on the arms. The body, legs , hips and trunk should be kept asvertical as possible. Focus your eyes on your big toes. Press your chin against yourchest. Hold the pose for one to three minutes. Return to the starting position slowly reversing the procedure.Sarvangasana helps relieve bronchitis, dyspepsia, varicose veins and peps up thedigestion. It stimulates the thyroid and para-thyroid glands, influences the bran, heart and lungs. It helps lymphatic juices to circulate in the brain and strengthens the mind. Thisasana should not be done by those suffering Viparitkarani from high blood pressure, heartdisease and eye trouble.
8.Matsyasana (Fish pose ) :
Sit in padmasana. Bend backwards and lie flat on your back without raising your knees.Press your palms beneath the shoulder. Push the hip backwards thus making a bridge-like arch with the spine. Then making hooks of your forefingers, grasp your toes withoutcrossing your arms. Maintain this pose and breathe rhythmically and comfortably.Reverse the order and return gradually to the starting position of Padamasana.Matsyasana is beneficial in the treatment of acidity, constipation, diabetes, asthma,bronchitis and other lung disorders.
9.Uttanapadasana ( Left-lifting pose) :
Lie on your back with leg and arms straight, feet together, palms facing downwards, onthe floor close to the body. Raise your legs above two feet from the floor without bendingyour knees. Maintain this pose for some time. Then, lower your legs slowly withoutbending the knees. This asana is helpful for those suffering from constipation. Itstrengthens the abdominal muscles and intestinal organs.
10.Halasana ( Plough pose ) :
Lie flat on your back with legs and feet together, arms by your side with fists closed nearyour thigh keeping your legs straight, slowly raise them to angles of 300, 600 and 900,pausing slightly at each point. Gradually, raise your legs above your head without bendingyour knees and then move them behind until they touch the floor. Stretch your legs as faras possible so that your chin presses tightly against the chest while your arms remain onthe floor as in the original position. Hold the pose from between 10 seconds to threeminutes, breathing normally. To return to the starting position slowly reverse theprocedure.This asana relieves tension in the back, neck, and legs and is beneficial in the treatmentof lumbago, spinal rigidity and rheumatism, myalgia, arthritis, sciatics and asthma.
11.Bhujangasana ( Cobra pose ) :
Lie on your stomach with your legs straight and feet together, toes pointing backwards.Rest your forehead and nose on the ground. Place your palms below the shoulders andyour arms by the side of the chest. Inhale and slowly raise your head, neck, chest andupper abdomen from the navel up. Bend your spine back and arch your back as far asyou can looking upwards. Maintain this position and hold your breathe for a few seconds.Exhale, and slowly return to the original position.This asana has great therapeutic value in the treatment of diseases like cervicalspondylitis, bronchitis, asthma and eosinophillia. It removes weakness of the abdomenand tones up the reproductive system in women. It exercises the vertebrae, back musclesand the spine.
12.Shalabhasana ( Locust pose ) :
Lie flat on your stomach, with your legs stretched out straight, feet together, chin and nose resting on the ground, looking straight ahead. Move your arms under the body,keeping them straight, fold your hands into fists and place them close to the thighs. Now,raise your legs up keeping them straight together and stretching them as far back aspossible without bending your knees and toes. Hold this position for a few seconds andrepeat four or five times.This asana helps in the treatment of arthirits, rheumatism and low backache. The wholebody is strengthened by this asana especially the waist, chest, back and neck. Personssuffering from high blood pressure or heart disease should not practice this asana.
13. Dhanurasana ( Bow pose ) :
Lie on your stomach with your chin resting on the ground, arms extended alongside thebody with the legs straight. Bend your legs back towards the hips, bring them forward andgrasp your ankles. Inhale and raise your thighs, chest and head at the same time. Keepyour hands straight. The weight of the body should rest mainly on the navel region.Therefore, arch your spine as much as possible. Exhale and return slowly to the startingposition, by reversing the procedure.Dhanurasana provides good exercise for the arms, shoulders, legs, ankles, back andneck. It also strengthens the spine. It relieves flatulence and constipation and improvesthe functioning of the pancreas and the intestines. It should not be done by those with aweak heart, high blood pressure and ulcers of the stomach and bowels.
14.Makarasana ( Crocodile pose ) :
Lie flat on your abdomen. Spread your legs, with heels pointing towards each other. Bringyour left hand under the right shoulder and grasp it. Grasp the left shoulder with your righthand, keeping the elbows together, one upon the other on the ground. Your face shouldbe between your crossed hands. Relax and breathe normally for two or three minutes.Then gradually go back to the sitting position.This asana completely relaxes both the body and the mind and also rests the muscles. Itis beneficial in the treatment of hypertension, heart disease and mental disorders.
15.Vakrasana :
Sit erect and stretch legs out. Raise your right knee until your foot rests by the side of theleft knee. Place your right hand behind your back without twisting the trunk too much.Then bring your left arm from in front of you over the right knee. Place your left palm onthe ground near the heel of your right foot. Push your knee as far as to the left arm. Twistyour trunk to the right as much as possible. Turn your face to the right over the rightshoulder. Release and repeat on the left side.This asana tones up the spinal and abdominal muscles and nerves and activates thekidneys, intestines, stomach, adrenaline and gonad glands. It relieves cases ofconstipation and dyspepsia.
16.Ardhamatsyendrasana :
This is the half position of Matsyendrasana, which is named after the great sageMatsyendra. Sit erect on the ground, stretching your legs in front of you. Insert your leftheel in the perineum, keeping the left thigh straight. Place your right foot flat on the floor,crossing the left knee. Pass your left arm over the right knee and grasp the big toe of yourright foot. Grasp your left thigh from the rear with your right hand. Turn your head, neck,shoulders and trunk to the right bringing your chin in line with the right shoulder. Maintainthis position for a few seconds, gradually increasing the duration to 2 minutes. Repeat thesame process on the other side for the same duration.This asana exercises the vertebrae and keeps them in good shape. It helps the liver,spleen, bladder, pancreas, intestines and other abdominal organs, and also stretches andstrengthens the spinal nerves. This asana is beneficial in the treatment of obesity,dyspepsia, asthma and diabetes.
17.Paschimottanasana (Posterior stretching pose ) :
Sit erect.Stretch your legs out in front of you, keeping them close to each other. Bend your trunkand head forward from the waist without bending your knees and grasp the big toes withyour rest your forehead on your knees. With practice, the tense muscles become supple enough for this exercise. Old persons and persons whose spine is still should do thisasana slowly in the initial stages. The final pose need be maintained only for a fewseconds. Return to the starting position gradually.Paschimottanasana is a good stretching exercise in which the posterior muscles getstretched and relaxed. It relieves sciatica, muscular rheumatism of the back, backache,lumbago and asthmatic attacks. It is also valuable in constipation, dyspepdis and otherabdominal disorders.
18. Gomukhasana ( Cow-face pose ) :
Sit erect on the floor, with your legs outstretched. Fold your leg back. Place your left footunder the right hip. Similarly, fold back the right leg and cross your right foot over your leftthigh. Place your right heel against the left hip. Both soles should face backwards, oneover the other. Now interlock your hands behind your back. See to it that if your right legis over the left, then your right elbow should face upward and the left elbow downward.This position is reversed when the leg position is changed. Hold the pose for 30 secondsand then repeat the procedure reversing the process. The practice of gomukhasana willstrengthen the muscles of the upper arm, shoulder, chest, back, waist and thigh. It isbeneficial in the treatment of seminal weakness, piles, urethral disorders and kidneytroubles. It also relieves varicose veins and sciatica.
19.Pavanmuktasana ( Gas-releasing pose ) :
Lie flat on your back, hands by your side. Fold your legs back, placing your feet flat on thefloor ; make a fingerlock with your hands and place them a little below the knees. Bringyour thighs up near your chest. Exhale and raise your head and shoulders and bring yournose between your knees. This is the final position. Maintain this pose for a few secondsand repeat three to five times. Reverse the procedure to get back to the original position.This asana strengthens the abdomineal muscles and internal abdominal organs like theliver, spleen, pancreas and stomach.It helps release excessive gas from the abdomen and relieves flatulence. Personssuffering from constipation should do this exercise in the morning after drinking lukewarmwater to help proper evacuation of the bowels.
20.Chakrasana ( Lateral bending pose ) :
Stand straight with your feet and toes together and arms by your sides, palms facing andtouching the thighs. Raise one arm laterally above the head with the palm inwards up toshoulder level and palm upwards when the arm rises above the level of your head. Then,bend your trunk and head sideways with the raised arm touching the ear, and sliding thepalm of the other hand downwards towards the knee. Keep your knees and elbowsstraight throughout. Maintain the final pose for a few seconds. Then gradually bring yourhand back to the normal position. Repeat the exercise on the other side.This asana induces maximum stretching of the lateral muscles of the body, especially theabdomen. It strengthens the knees, arms and shoulders and increases lung capacity.
21.Trikonasana ( Triangle pose ) :
Stand erect, with your legs apart. Stretch your arms up to shoulder level. Bend your trunkforwards and twist to the left, looking upwards and keeping your left arm raised at anangle of 900. Place your right palm on your left foot without bending the knees. Maintainthis pose for a few seconds. Then straighten up and return to the normal position. Repeatthe procedure on the other side.Trikosana is an all-round stretching exercise. It keeps the spinal column flexible andreduces the fat on the lateral sides of the body. Besides, it stimulates the adrenal glandsand tones up the abdominal and pelvic organs.
Prana means ‘ vital force ‘ and Ayama means ‘ control ‘ in Sanskrit. Thus Pranayamameans the control of the vital force through concentration and regulated breathing. Bymeans of controlled breathing that is, inhaling and exhaling by holding the breath for afixed time and changing the rhythm of inspiration and expiration, it is possible to influencethe life-force in the body. It increases one’s resistance to respiratory diseases.The best position in which to practice pranayama is the padmasana or lotus pose. The important thing is to keep the back, neck and head in a straight line. If necessary, use your right finger and thumb on eitherside of the nose to control the right and left nostrils during inhalation and exhalation. In practicising pranayama, a ratio of two to one should be maintained throughout, that is, the exhalation time should be double that required for inhalation. For instance, if inhalationtakes 5 seconds, exhalation should take 10 seconds. Some varieties of pranayama beneficial in the treatment ofcommon ailments are as follows :
1. Anuloma -viloma :
This is also known as Nadishuddhi pranayama. Sit in any comfortable meditative pose,keeping your head,neck and spine erect. Rest your left hand on your left knee. Close yourright nostril by pressing the tip of your right thumb against it. Breathe out slowly throughthe left nostril. Inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril, keeping the right nostrilclosed. Close your left nostril with the little finger and ring finger of your right hand andexhale through the right nostril. Then inhale through the right nostril, keeping the leftnostril closed and, lastly, exhale through the left nostril, keeping the right nostril closed.This completes one round ofanuloma-viloma. Repeat the entire process. Inhaling andexhaling should be done very slowly, without making any sound.This pranayama is a process of purification. It strengthens the lungs and calms thenerves. It helps cure cough and cold, insomnia, chronic headache and asthama.
2.Ujjayi :
Sit in any comfortable meditative pose. Inhale slowly, deeply and steadily through bothnostrils with a low uniform sound through the glottis. Hold your breathe for a second ortwo after inhaling and then exhale noisily only through the left nostril, keeping the rightnostril closed. Do this as often as required. This pranayama clears the nasal passage andhelps the functioning of the thyroid gland and benefits respiratory disorders, especiallybronchitis and asthama. Persons suffering from high blood pressure should not practiceujjayi.
3.Bhastrika :
Bhastrika’ means ‘bellows.’ It is performed by instant and quick expirations of breath.There are many varieties of bhastrika. The simplest technique is as follows : Sit inpadmasana. Do 20 strokes of kapalbhati. Inhale and exhale rapidly, making a puffingsound. This is a good exercise for abdominal viscera and lungs.
4.Sheetali :
Sit in padamasana or any other comfortable posture. Stick your tongue out about aninche from the lips, rolled up at the sides to form a channel like a bird’s beak. Suck in airthrough the channel. After a full inhalation, slowly close your mouth, hold your breath andexhale slowly through both nostrils. This completes the exercise. Repeat as required. Thispranayama cools the body and mind, activates the liver and bile and has beneficial effectson the circulation and body temperature.
5.Sitkari :
IN sitkari a sound is produced while inhaling by opening the mouth a little, placing the tipof the tongue against the lower front teeth and then sucking the air in slowly. After holdingyour breath, exhale through both nostrils. This exercise helps to control thirst, hunger andlaziness.
6.Suryabhedan :
Surya-nadi ‘ is the right nostril and ‘ ChandraNadi’ is the left nostril. In this pranayama,one always uses the right nostril for inhalation. Sit in padmasan or any other suitableposture. Keep your head, neck and back straight. Inhale through the right nostril. Hold your breath and then exhale through the left nostril. Hold your breath and then exhalethrough the left nostril. Repeat as often as required. This pranayama increases gastricjuices and helps digestion. It also fortifies the nervous system and clears the sinuses.
7.Bhramari : 
In this pranayama, the buzzing sound of a bee is produced and hence it is calledbhramari. Keep your mouth closed while inhaling. Exhale through both nostrils, producingthe humming sound of a bee. This pranayama affects the ears, nose, eyes and mouthand makes the complexion glow. It also helps those suffering from insomnia.

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