Dr. Sathye B. V
The total yoga procedure have certain distinct characteristics from other patterns of exercise. The usual working in many trades and skilled professions, including sports, involve the contractions and relaxations in muscular tissue; that are located mainly in both extremities. The weight training, dumb bells, springs are meant for exertion on various groups of muscles, which are related anatomically to the upper and the lower extremities. Sudden, abrupt, forceful contractions, with forceful fast, and deep breathing also accompany in this pattern of exercise. The actions are carried out by quick bends and stretches. Heavy perspiration and warmth of extremity-musculature is appreciated. It is the musculature in general, and extremity-musculature in particular, put to drastic exertion. This is true in case of athlete training, sports or even of heavy manual work.
The yogic procedures, however, have more emphasis, not on musculature, but on the clean and elastic hollow organs of the body. Unless the Lumina are appropriately irrigated with water (or Dhautee procedure requires swallowing of 22ft cotton cloth strip and then it is gradually pulled out thoroughly, gradually; is the pre-requirement of yoga-procedures) is not complete. The Shat`kriyaa concept is meant to care of Lumina and its cleanliness, rather than the capacity of muscles to contract.
It will be interesting to establish a correlation with the S`haareera concept. The total body is divided into three zones, according to architectural differentiation. The zones need not be in proximity to each other. The four extremities together are distinct, in architecture, by not possessing and accommodating the hollow structures, except the supply channels. The head and neck portion has certain hollow, structures. But still it is fully and densely packed in tissues. The body can therefore be understood to possess three architecturally different zones. One is full of tissues with minimum channels (Four extremities) other is full of hollow organs and their openings (chest and abdomen); while the third is in-between the two (head and neck region).
The weight training, dumb-bell, springs, wrestling, boxing or the usual duties, exert much more on musculature of extremities. They do not press twist and pull the zone of the body, which has many hollow organs. Another medically important point is that the health is dependent mainly on smooth working of organs in the trunk-zone. The limbs in extremity-zone can be spared or cut off. Work or exercise or sports are associated with quick change of positions. The yoga-postures, however, have a sustained bend, pull, twist, on the vertebral column. According to Ayurvedic understanding the bone component is the focus of Vaata Dosha. The vertebral column is poised to sustain still-action in many postures. Thus the hollow organ area is stimulated on one side, and the Vaata Dosha focus is put to activity without putting pressure upon the musculature. Not exerting upon the musculature, therefore, does not require faster oxygenation or quicker replenishment of blood, by quick heartbeats. Here the systems that are taxed physiologically are spared and in addition the otherwise not activated zones in the body are activated. This helps for easier elimination of waste products, better secretion of digestive organs and active cleansing of internal layers of organs, responsible for digestion. Stretching of vertebral column activates the Majjaadhaatu, inside without exhausting it. It acts upon Vaata Dosha and makes for better health.
It should be noted here that Ayurvedic intention of controlling Vaata Dosha endows the body with many factors directly leading to the recovery of the patient. The five eliminative procedures, such as therapeutic emesis, selective purgation, (Vamana Virechana), the administration of medicinal warm oils in areas susceptible, sensitive, to absorption, (Basti), shunting out tissue obstructing substances from vascular zone, (Rakta Moksha), or draining the Para nasalzone with medicine and stimulation of the portal of the head or (नस्य) are all dependent upon appropriate mobilization of Vaata Dosha. Unless the propulsive Vaata Dosha is activated, none of the above-mentioned procedures can be conductible. So the therapy meant for elimination, is mainly addressed to Vaata Dosha first and consequently to the other two. The concept of the progressive propagation of Dosha_s to create various stages of disease (Kriyaakaala) is also suggestive of the active role of the force of propagation. Thus out of the propagation force by Vaata Dosha, the rest of the substances can be disseminated. Postures in Yoga are therefore multi-pronged means to enable the regulation of Vaata Dosha.
Another feature of the postures etc.is the slow, prolonged, and conscious rhythmic breathing that accompanies it. Such type of breathing while bending, pressing, twisting, has an impact on particular organs of the trunk area, causing a squeeze and release, rhythm on them. The hollow organs in the area, by this rhythmic squeeze and release, get rid of unwanted particles stuck to the walls. These facets need to be considered in the light of the common treatment of Vaata Dosha.
The regulation suggested for Vaata Dosha indicate that there should be tightening of strips causing kneading like impact on the internal organs (Bandhana–Unmardana, Gaad`hapattairnibadhneeyaat). Efforts should be made to bend and flex the body (Vinaamayet). The encompassing of the organs can be effective measure on Vaata Dosha (Vesht`ana). The postures etc. maintained after proper, prolonged teaching contributes to all the requirements of restoring the balance of Vaata Dosha. In Yoga, the bends, flexions, overextensions cause the kneading like movement over the internal organs. The various turns cause the body torque. The locking of the thighs is as effective as tight bandaging, but without bandages e.g. Padma, Vajra and Svastika.
The Bandhana, Peed`ana, Unmardana, Gaad`hapatta–Nibandhana, Vinaamana; all directed by various Ayurvedic authorities, as components of management of Vaata are effected by various yoga procedures and with minimum exhaustion. Stretching of vertebral column and pressure of bulk muscles of thighs and legs; acts upon the very foci of the Vaata Dosha. The capacity to take in is the beginning of the release of activities of other propagation forces in the body. The Praan`a of Ayurveda is described as one responsible for the wear and tear of existing tissues. If the intake of food, water, air, is limited, the resultant work load on others is also minimized and as such control of intake is tissue-conservative, to a particular extent.
The Yogic procedures are better performed when the previous intake of food is digested. To achieve this easily digestible nourishing food must be taken in moderate quantities. The sustained body poising in particular bend, press, pull posture imparts on the body organs, coiling, encircling, kneading, encompassing etc. By this, the Vaata Dosha helps the organs to get rid of pathogenic substances. The capacity to perform postures, without pain indicates that the digestion is somewhat proper.
The mental training, for control of intake spells for control of mind. The control of desires for many objects, by itself is a broad-spectrum preventive method. As the intake is reduced to a desired level, there are minimum chances of being in contact with harmful substance. The human weaknesses lead to many contacts with disease provocative agents. The vices, with their many facets, are known for centuries together. But their contact cannot be avoided, due to the unrestricted desires of the mind. The training of controlling intake creates a self accepted ban on wrong desires and the chances of health maintenance are much increased.
The control of Vaayu as advised by yoga is achievable through rigorous training, step by step. As a common measure against all diseases, controlling of Vaayu, according to Ayurveda is also essential. The Vihaarachikitsaa therefore in the form of yoga-procedures helps the subject in many ways.
The effect of tissue conservation, ultimately leads to delayed geriatric changes. Physical exercise can be classified into two. One meant for exertion or related to solid tissues of the body. Another is meant for the welfare of the hollow organs or Lumina of the body (Kosht`ha). Where greater movements of the extremities are involved, it is of an exertive type for solid tissues. Where the trunk portion is bent, hyper-extended, twisted gradually and that pose is maintained with elongated conscious rhythmic breathing, this is the exercise to help the functioning of organs, rather than supporting structural tissues. When disease strikes the functioning organs, defects are to be corrected first. Yogic procedures are, therefore, better to activate organs and avoid exertion of supportive extremities. The two types therefore can conveniently be Labelledas supportive-tissue-exercises with contraction; and hollow organ exercise with relaxation and conservation of strength.
The four factors meant for controlling a disease are palliative measures, eliminative procedures, modification of food intake and proper Behaviouror Vihaarachikitsaa. Out of these four factors control of Behaviourfor promotion of health and immunity from disease, can be achieved by the less exertive group. The exertive group on the other hand is going to tax the tissues and it is not advisable in many diseases.
Ancient yogic texts discuss Vaayu as the product arising out of the loss of tissues.This Vaayu is termed as Praan`a. The capacity to exert for intake, can manifest itself only when the present existing tissues are consumed in part. Praan`aayaama is elongation of this process of consumption. The yogic-texts explanation of Vaayu itself guides one as which one out of the two exercises mentioned in the preceding paragraph is to be chosen for conservation of health by all for a long period.
The Physician Charaka distinguishes between desired and non-desired exertions. In the desired one he includes specific sports etc. In the non-desired he records only one example I.e. lifting the luggage. The luggage is a thing not desired, but has to be completed. It is not desired, because it has the potential of propagating Dosha to tissues and can cause diseases.
The Yoga-procedures when they become a part of everyday routine can cause certain effects on the mind. The person spares some minute everyday in trying to concentrate. He goes on reviewing good and bad deeds, and develops further proneness to socially beneficial schemes. He accepts that restrictions are meant for promotion of health. By such an attitude, he can adhere to a particular food diet and develops real hatred for harmful food etc. that is going to lead to disease. Repeated training to minimize extroverted demands creates a totally different attitude, which is very helpful for total management of disease. He thinks about the effect and previous cause; and this makes him adhere to prescribed food, drug and Behaviour. He trains his mind to avoid craving for particular food etc. and this helps him and the professional person in a long-term follow-up to control disease.
The person so trained, can be conditioned to ignore the sensation. Concentration on rhythmic breathing makes the pain severity, much less than otherwise. This period of transient less pain decreases his agony and he develops the method for cutting down the severity of pain. This pain reduction is without any tissue benumbing or harmful drug. This has much significance as the control of pain is done without harming the body.
The commentators on Yoga-Sootra specify that disease is one of the major factors responsible in hindering the self progress. To avoid dominance of disease, over the body an individual should encourage the study of concentration of mind. The cause for disease according to yoga-texts and Ayurvedic texts is the over dominance of Rajas and Taamas qualities in the mind. This stage can ultimately lead to wrong contact, which causes disease. If one is careful to elicit the proper history of an individual, he will find that, somewhere, sometimes the disease contact is out of a lapse by the individual. Avoiding this is a difficult task to be achieved. The avoidance, however difficult, can bear the fruit of health. Yoga-science is one of the means to prevent disease. Disease is one of the hindrances in selfendowments. This hindrance can be overcome by yoga. The means for it is repeated persuasion of yoga on the one side and progressive asceticism (self denial) for material things on the other. This Abhyaasavairaagya component to control disease or to achieve tissue endowment is important. The active participation of the patient requires both these. To reject the substance that is forbidden, by the professional person, by ones own mind; requires some training of (Vairaagya) asceticism (non-craving). A patient can do well if he develops to substances that are forbidden.
Praanaayaama reduces the diffusion of desires. Various postures make the body channels proper for the correct propagation of Vaayu. They reduce the laxness. This also causes stimulation of certain Dosha–Sthaana. Thus the Dosha located on the tissue side, finds its way out to Lumina. This in sequence leads to an elimination of Dosha either through emesis or purgation. Even excess movement of flatus is observed in some patients. Thus the Dosha propagated to (Kosht`ha) Lumina relieve the tissues of the pathogeneses. This happens by proper activation of controlling nearly the Vaata channels. Bandha helps the tissues at the location to separate the Dosha. The Jaalandhara separates sticky Kapha in the Kapha region. Ud`d`iyaana separates Pitta, Moola–Bandha acts upon the absorption of food and elimination of excreta and Vaata.
The varieties of Praanaayaama_s regularize the excessive Dosha; Sooryabhedana–Vaata, Seetkaaree, Seetalee–Pitta and Ujjaayi–Kapha. Bhasrikaa by its continuous action on foci of three Dosha, reduces the excessive three Dosha_s.
Thus it will be seen that Ayurvedic Vihaarachikitsaa can be effectively adapted by Dosha-wise and disease-specific yogic procedures. The effect on ultimate regularization of Vaayu, leads to action on other Dosha, and Dhaatu_s etc. Many of the rhythmic breathing procedures are responsible for correcting the digestive capacity. Bhastrikaa breathing was specifically useful in activating Agni in-patient resistant for many years. The scientist Shaarngadhara says that regular breathing is related to proper function of Agni. This was actually observed in many patients. Regularization of Vaayu was dependent on proper Agni where as the regulated Agni was responsible for controlling Vaayu. Both of them are inter-related. The Agni created in yogic procedures is responsible for appropriate intake in the body by Vaayu. Hat`hapradeepikaa in Vol.2/70 has elaborated this concept. Flexing, bending postures, Ud`d`iyaana, Agnisaara were all responsible for activating Agni, as they had their location near the navel.
Thus the total Vihaarachikitsaa through Yogic procedures contributes to Dosha annihilation, Dhaatu-conservation, easier elimination of Mala_s to achieve balance, better capacity of Agni better psychological attitude towards life or the diseased state.
Dr. Sathye B. V
Sr.Scientist AyuSoft. Pune
Last updated on February 9th, 2021 at 07:27 am