Health is wealth. People spend a fortune to be healthy and even more trying to find a cure for diseases. There is a constant exploration to find a magic pill to relieve them of all diseases. But there’s no magic pill as such.
For thousands of years, yoga has been practised in India to achieve harmony with both body and mind. It is also widely used by Indian ayurvedic practitioners to treat various ailments and diseases by balancing the production of hormones in the body and helping proper functioning of the organs. And yoga doesn’t cost much!
Yoga works more subtly. Let us analyse some of the healing powers of yoga and its benefits to alleviate pain and cure certain ailments.
Studies have revealed that people who practice yoga have reduced anxiety, lower blood pressure, a better respiratory function and an overall improved physical fitness and mental stamina. It can be used to lessen the negative effects of infertility, lung disease, insomnia and arthritis too.
Meaning of yoga
The word ‘yoga’ means “to unite” and refers to the conjunction of physical, mental and spiritual disciplines. The word originates from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. The practice of yoga stems from meditative techniques used in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. And someone who practices yoga is called a yogi.
The main yoga practices include body postures called ‘asanas’ and the breathing practice is called ‘pranayama’.
Hatha Yoga is an ancient form of yoga with healing powers to help you regain health and vitality through practice of specific asanas (postures). Reducing stress by calming the mind helps the body to heal itself, according to the National Institute of Health. And that’s exactly what Hatha Yoga promises – promoting well-being and reducing stress.
A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology stated that 80% of the 194 patients who took part in a study were successful in avoiding bypass surgery by simply making a few changes to their lifestyle. By switching to a vegetarian, low-fat diet and practising yoga, the patients showed a remarkable regression of coronary atherosclerosis.
The American Psychological Association has stated that yoga reduces stress to a large extent and has a major role to play in pain management. It was found that chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia and arthritis can also be reduced through attending yoga classes on a regular basis.
Hatha Yoga practitioners believe that the root of all diseases stems from stress and anxiety. That’s the reason why Hatha Yoga emphasises more on relaxing your mind. And the asanas are meant to be practised with a free mind. Hatha Yoga aims to cut down fatigue and relax the tense muscles, thereby releasing blocked energy.
Yoga and asthma
There have been studies conducted at prominent yoga institutions in India with regard to the successful effect yoga has on asthmatics. In one study of 255 asthmatics, 74 per cent reported a drastic improvement or cure of asthma after practising yoga methods like asanas and pranayama without taking any sort of medication.
Yoga and back pain
Back pain is one the most common ailments that affects people with a sedentary lifestyle. And muscle tension is caused by stress. Yoga provides relief by enhancing the flexibility of the spine. The asanas include gentle stretching exercises to help correct bad posture. Pranayama (breathing exercises) also relaxes the muscles within the chest and abdomen.
Yoga definitely provides a lot of benefits to harmonise the body and mind. Although yoga has no cure for cancer, but it certainly eases the pain from cancer treatments like chemotherapy. Yoga works on a psychological level to help a cancer patient recuperate from side effects like loss of sleep, loss of strength in muscles and bones and also helps to overcome fatigue.
Yoga helps restore positivity amongst patients and increases self confidence to help them get on with their day-to-day tasks, thereby improving the quality of life. Regular yoga exercises have proved to improve sleep and reduce stress, which can seriously impact an individual’s recovery after a treatment.
As with any form of exercise, regular practice of yoga is highly recommended to achieve positive results. Although not all diseases are cured by yoga, but it significantly controls your body’s metabolism and thereby helps you remain healthy.
1) National Institute of Health
2) The American Psychological Association