Yoga is an all-inclusive, finely tuned process that unites the individual consciousness to the omnipresent vast consciousness. It is more important to accept the spirituality and philosophy of Yoga than the gross relevance it has in relation to physical exercises, breathing patterns, and postures. Yoga masters control the agility of the body and mind through a state of calm and peace. This helps to eliminate all mental and physical fatigue and directs the consciousness force toward the inner self’s deeper centers. It leads to a trance-like state that allows for spiritual elevation and renovation. Only through spiritual enlightenment and the transcendent thoughts that come from an awakened mind is it possible to realize (Brahma Vidya) ultimate knowledge.
The Upanishads mention that the principles of Yoga deal with the awakening of the inner realms of the soul. Yoga is an entire discipline that strengthens and improves the physical, mental, and spiritual state. Yoga science focuses on the physical aspect of life, aiming to improve health and increase strength. In the first stage of yoga, sadhana, asanas, and pranayama are practiced along with a few yogic kriyas for refinement. As one progresses in Yoga, the physical exercises of Asanas, bandhas, and mudras help to harmonize the brain and intra-body functions and activate vital energy centers that are otherwise dormant. This category also includes the kriyas (exercises) such as Neti, Dhouti, Basti, Nauli, Vajroli, Kapalbhati, and others taught in “Hathayoga.” These are for purifying the internal system of the body. Fasting, austerity, and penance are all disciplines that help cleanse the mind and body.
In the present trend, laboratory experiments, demonstrations, and verification are the main criteria used to determine the validity of a concept or theory.
Dr. R Nagaratna, from SVYASA University, has had remarkable success in treating hundreds of patients with chest and cardiovascular problems using yogic asanas. She has been able to heal asthma patients by having them perform specific breathing exercises and pranayamas rather than taking any medications. This has helped in gaining trust and direction for the treatment of the incurable disorder. The practice of pranayama involves controlled breathing and concentration to enhance and harmonize the flow of vital energy (prana) in the body. Purification of the bronchial tubes, increasing the lung capacity, and balancing oxygen inflow and carbon dioxide outflow.
The first researchers to report systematic research findings on the effects Yoga has in treating diabetes mellitus were Dr. Dharmvir Varandani and Swami Anand. The results of their preliminary studies were presented at a scientific congress organized by the Central Council of Research in Indigenous Medicine, homeopathy, and indigenous medicine.
A large clinical study was conducted at the “Yogic Treatment cum Research Centre,” Jaipur, for three months on 283 people with diabetes of various age groups. Patients were fed a balanced diet of 98 grams of fat, 400 grams of carbohydrates, and 100 gm of protein, totaling around 2900 calories. During the study, urine, blood glucose, weight, ECG, and glucose were all tested. Under the guidance of the right person, patients practiced sarvangasanas, halasanas, mayurasanas, padahastasanas, uttanapadasanas, sirshasanas, janusirsasanas, savasana, pavanmuktasanas, etc., as well as some essential kriyas every morning and evening In their daily routine; there was a time for devotional practices, meditational sadhanas and daily prayers.
After three months, 52% of patients showed significant improvements, and the majority of them were completely cured. The rest of the patients are either in an acute state or have diabetes that has lasted longer than half their life. The positive results of continuing the treatment for a few more days were evident.
In 1977, Dr. Lakshmikanthan published an article entitled “Yoga and The Heart”. It was included in the annual issue of Yoga Life. In this article, he reported his findings on two groups of patients with hypertension at the Government Hospital for whom allopathic medicine was largely ineffective. In the first group, patients also suffered from weak hearts or cardiac problems in addition to high blood pressure. The second group of patients had healthy hearts.
Patients in the first group were made to do Shavasana with soft pillows under their legs. The second group was given additional practice of sarvangasanas, halasanas and viparitkarni Mudra. Both groups reported that patients felt relaxed and began to sleep well. In the second group, the healing effects of normalizing B. P. were quite noticeable. The first group responded positively to the medicine.
In a study of the same nature, Dr. K. K. Date also noted that Savasana had excellent effects on heart ailments. Dr. Shrinivasan from Patna, India, and Dr. Benson from the USA both recorded positive impacts on patients with different types of heart disease.
Asanas, as advised by science, are natural physical exercises that affect the mind-body system. These practices, such as stretching and compressing the muscles, regulate blood flow in an even manner. This results in energetic freshness for the body’s components. It also increases flexibility. Other fitness exercises, such as Danda-baihaka or some aerobics, may give quick results. However, they can also harden muscles and cause wear and tear due to the excessive pressure. Yoga asanas have another advantage. If one asana requires forward bending, there will be another asana in the same set that requires backward bending. This makes for a perfect sequence from a biomechanical perspective.
Sirsasana has been hailed as having the greatest benefits for both physical and mental health. It should only be performed after a sufficient amount of training and experience with other asanas. Dr. Alexandro Julian, director of the Thord Meditation Clinic Poland, conducted a scientific study of this asana. It was published before 1980. He measured the effects of sirsasana using X-rays, ECGs, EMGs, etc., on the different organs and body functions of a healthy person.
This person had a good level of mental concentration and had practiced this asana. The person was asked to perform this exercise for two to three minutes on an empty stomach, followed by Shavasana. Before, between, and after asana practice, the important parameters are sold. The immediate results were:
- A balance of serum in the blood.
- Regulation of blood flow.
- An increase in WBC counts.
These results were indicative of the prevention and treatment of heart attacks, coronary blockages, and other diseases. The x-ray shows a widening of the lung volume without pressure on the heart. The pulmonary test revealed a 33% increase in oxygen consumption when inspiration occurs and a 10% reduction in carbon dioxide changes during expiration. The respiration rate was normalized. These tests confirmed the heart’s relaxation and improved vital capacity.
In 1978, the results of a control clinical study on Bhujangasana’s effect were presented at the “First Conference on the Application of Yoga to Rehabilitation Therapy.” This asana has been found to normalize blood pressure and reduce stress.
According to the studies conducted by Kaivalyadham in Lonavala, India, sarvangasana (also known as mayurasana) and sarvangasana are best for maintaining normal fitness and health. These asanas are also easier to perform and more effective than other asanas for frail patients or those with physical weakness.
Previous studies have scientifically validated Yogasanas. They also laid the foundation for further research on the treatment of psychosomatic conditions using yoga therapy. The scope of Yoga’s application for the well-being of the masses is also expanded. These seemingly simple practices can have a profound impact on your physical and mental well-being.