By Dr. Rita Khanna
Yoga is a system of total health. We have been taking care of the physical body, trying to meet our nutritional needs with adequate vitamins and minerals. Still, we have not been trying to supplement the necessary requirements of the mind, the state of the inner being which constitutes actual health. Therefore, man has become mentally ill.
Quality of Mental Health
He does not even know how to think, what to think, or why to think; what to feel, how to feel, or why to feel. His mind is like a motor car being driven by a driver who is heavily drunk. By chance, the car may reach its destination, but more than likely it will meet with an accident along the way. Thus it is very important that we have knowledge about controlling the mind, training the mind as a whole, and thereby improving the quality of mental health. This can be achieved surely through Yoga.
External or Internal Cleanliness
You take bath every day. You keep your house clean. It is because you believe that physical cleanliness, external cleanliness is necessary for good health. Do you ever consider the same thing for the mind that particular thoughts have to be cleaned out of the mind? When a thought of fear, anxiety or sorrow comes into your mind, what do you do?
You just let yourself go; you fall into it; you do not even try to clean it out of your mind. That is why you are suffering from anxiety, fear, depression, dejection, and anger. These thoughts are hitting your mind, infecting your mind just like a virus causes havoc in your body. An idea is more dangerous, powerful,, and effective than a physical virus.
When a virus enters your body, it can be treated by certain drugs and medicines. But when a thought enters, when fear strikes, when passions and anxiety get into your mind, you do not know what far reaching effects it is going to have.
Therefore, when we talk about health, we must definitely understand that we lack proper knowledge about the health of the mind, the health of the inner being.
Yoga…Surely a System of Total Health
Yoga is a perfect practical system of physical, mental and spiritual health. According to the basic Yoga philosophy is a composition of three basic constituents: life force (Prana Shakti), mental force (Chitta Shakti), and spiritual force (Atma Shakti).
Prana is the universal life force, and this body has a certain amount of it. Our existence is a miracle of Prana Shakti. It is on account of Prana that we live, move and grow. This Prana Shakti is not the air we breathe, it is inherent in us; we are born with it.
Prana in Life
For up to four months the foetus lives on the mother’s Prana, but from the fifth month on, it develops an independent Pranic unit. Life is the manifestation of Prana. When Prana is flowing in the correct voltage, you feel strong, energetic, enthusiastic, and all your sense faculties are sharp. But when the voltage falls, you feel physically weak and exhausted.
Besides Prana, there is another Shakti in the body called mind or consciousness through which we are able to think, remember, analyse and differentiate. There are so many mental faculties within us and they all are manifestation of the mental Shakti. Prana Shakti and mental Shakti are represented in this physical body by two important flows known as Pingala Nadi and Ida Nadi respectively.
Flow of Energy
The word ‘Nadi’ means flow. In every electric bulb you have two wires, positive and negative. In the same way, in every organ and part of the body, there is a combination of both of these Shaktis. Prana Shakti and mental Shakti pervade the whole body of man. Pranic force is positive and mental force is negative. When these two are connected, they create energy.
If there is any disconnection, what happens? If you remove one of the wires from a switchboard, the light will not burn. It is the same in the lower and higher organs. If one of the energies flows and the other does not, the organs do not function.
Therefore, according to Yoga, there should be a balanced energy distribution to every part of the body from head to toe. If there is any imbalance, there is illness. Prana Shakti and Chitta Shakti are both physical energies.
Atma Shakti, the third type of energy, is spiritual. It is non-physical, transcendental, formless energy. Mooladhara Chakra produces both physical and spiritual energy, but the spiritual energy is produced by a more significant generator. This energy cannot be conducted by either Ida or Pingala. For this, there is another line called Sushumna which runs the spiritual energy from Mooladhara straight up to Sahasrara in order to open the whole brain.
You know that only one part of the brain is functioning; nine parts are locked. These nine parts of the brain contain infinite knowledge, experience, and power. However, we are not able to utilize it because there is no conscious force when Sushumna conducts this spiritual energy to Sahasrara Chakra, the dormant parts of the brain become active.
Then they not only give you mental health, but also spiritual wealth. When the practitioner of Yoga is able to awaken Kundalini and connect it with Sahasrara through Sushumna Nadi, he becomes the master of the body, mind and spirit.
Distribution of Shakti
Therefore, the secret of human health is the proper distribution of the Shaktis – Prana, mind, and spirit. In Yoga, this is done through the practices of Hatha Yoga which purify the physical body. Pranayama purifies the channels or Nadis through which energy is distributed.
Meditation stops the flow of Prana and mind and leads the spiritual energy directly to the brain, Sahasrara Chakra. The different branches of Yoga such as Hatha, Raja, Kriya, etc. are very powerful systems for the health, not only of this external physical body but the health of the whole man in totality.
Connecting Aspects of Total Health
To gain total health, the spiritual life must become the base of our ordinary life. Most of us think that spiritual life should be led for the sake of improving our physical life.
We have put the cart before the horse. We consider the physical life as the base and the spiritual life as an adjunct, but it should be the other way around.
Man’s life is essentially spiritual; the physical life is just one part of his existence. In the same way, we have been making many mistakes. We say, ‘Oh, the divine is within us’ as if we were the containers of the divine.
When actually it is we who are in the divinity, not the divinity which is in us. This is a different way of thinking which must be developed in order to correct the errors of body, mind, and soul, and create harmony on all levels of our being.
There is no doubt that we have been making mistakes on the mental plane, that we have ignored the mind; and this is how we have become sick and unhappy. When we take to the path of Yoga the most important thing for us is the spirit, then the mind, and then the body.
In materialistic philosophy, the body is alpha and omega, but in Yogic philosophy, the body is not the first and last. This physical body is not everything; it is just a tiny portion of our infinite existence. We must maintain this body correctly, but not through medicines, tranquilizers, and nutritious food alone.
We have to supplement right thinking, philosophy, principles, and beliefs. More than that, we have to develop the art of Dhyana Yoga, wherein the eyes are closed but the mind is expanding and becoming more and more brilliant, more aware.
Where this little world of name and form alone is not there, but where the infinite existence is before us in an ever-expanding vision of universal life.
If you feel inspired by this article, feel free to publish it in your Newsletter or on your Website. Our humble request is to please include the Resource as follows: –
Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio.
A popular studio that helps you find natural solutions for complete health.
Also conducts online Yoga Courses and Naturopathy Guidance.
Mobile: + 919849772485
About the Author
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into this discipline over 25 years ago by the world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh (India).
Dr. Rita firmly believes that Yoga is a scientific process which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has successfully practiced these therapies and providing succor to several chronic and terminally ill patients through Yoga, Diet, and Naturopathy. She is also imparting Yoga Teachers Training.
Dr. Rita Khanna is currently running a Yoga Studio in Secunderabad (Hyderabad, India).
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More About Yoga – A System of Total Health
By Gopi Rao, Faye Martins, and Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Are you looking for a way to improve your overall health and wellness? If so, then yoga may be the solution you’ve been searching for. Yoga is not just a physical exercise but an entire system of total health encompassing the mind, body, and spirit.
With its focus on breathing techniques, meditation practices, and posture alignment, yoga offers countless benefits for individuals seeking to enhance their physical fitness while promoting emotional balance and spiritual growth. Let’s explore how practicing yoga can help you achieve total health and wellness in all areas of your life!
What is a System of Total Health?
A system of total health is a holistic approach that focuses on the overall well-being of an individual. It considers all aspects of one’s life, including physical fitness, mental and emotional balance, spiritual growth, and social connections. This means that every part of your life is interconnected and affects each other.
In a system of total health, the goal is to achieve harmony between body, mind, and spirit. It requires you to pay attention to your lifestyle choices, such as what you eat, how much sleep you get each night, or how often you exercise. Doing so regularly can help prevent illness while promoting optimal health.
The ancient practice of yoga offers a unique way for individuals seeking total health by providing tools for managing stress levels through mindful breathing techniques and meditation practices. With regular training in yoga postures (asanas), individuals develop physical strength while enhancing flexibility, leading them toward an optimum level of wellness.
By incorporating this comprehensive approach into our daily lives by practicing mindfulness techniques like gratitude journaling or taking time out from our busy schedules to connect with nature, we can reap the benefits of living in alignment with our whole selves!
Yoga for Physical Health
Yoga has been known to provide numerous benefits for physical health. One of the most common reasons people turn to yoga is to improve flexibility and balance. Through various asanas or poses, yoga helps stretch and strengthen muscles, leading to better posture and reduced risk of injury.
In addition, practicing yoga regularly can also increase overall physical strength. Many poses require body weight as resistance training, which can build muscle mass over time. This increased strength improves physical performance, supports joint health, and reduces inflammation.
Moreover, yoga is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on joints and provides cardiovascular benefits. The flowing movements and deep breathing promote circulation throughout the body, improving heart health while reducing stress levels.
Regular yoga practice has been linked with improved sleep quality and digestion – two crucial components of overall physical well-being. By focusing on breath work, practitioners can calm their nervous systems leading to better rest at night. Additionally, certain poses like twists stimulate digestive organs, leading to more efficient food processing.
Incorporating yoga into your routine provides an array of benefits for physical health that go beyond just stretching!
Holistic Mental Health Care
Of course, Yoga is beneficial for physical health and can also do wonders for mental health. Yoga involves focusing on the present moment and quieting the mind, which can help ease anxiety and stress.
By practicing breathing techniques and meditation, individuals can learn to control their thoughts and emotions, leading to a more peaceful state of mind. Yoga also helps release tension in the body by stretching muscles that may hold onto stress.
In addition, yoga has been shown to increase brain function by improving cognitive abilities such as memory retention and decision-making skills. This is due to the increased blood flow and oxygenation throughout the body during yoga practice.
Incorporating yoga into your daily routine can have significant benefits for mental health. It provides a healthy outlet for managing stress while promoting relaxation and mindfulness.
The Benefits of a Yoga Lifestyle
A yoga lifestyle is more than just practicing physical postures on a mat. It encompasses all aspects of life, including diet, spirituality, and mindfulness. Adopting this way of life can profoundly affect an individual’s physical and mental health.
One benefit of a yoga lifestyle is increased flexibility and strength. Yoga poses to stretch and strengthen muscles, improving posture and reducing the risk of injury. Additionally, incorporating mindful movement into daily life can increase energy levels and improve overall physical function.
Another benefit is improved mental health. Mindful breathing techniques practiced in yoga can help individuals manage stress, anxiety, and depression by promoting relaxation responses in the body. The regular practice encourages self-awareness and emotional regulation skills that translate off the mat.
Incorporating yogic principles such as non-harming (ahimsa) into daily interactions with others fosters more profound connections with others, leading to increased social support systems and feelings of belonging.
Adopting a yoga lifestyle has numerous benefits for both the mind and body. By embracing these principles in everyday life- through healthy eating habits or mindfulness practices- one can significantly impact their quality of life for years to come.
Yoga for Emotional Health
Yoga is beneficial for physical and mental health and plays a significant role in boosting emotional health. People are often stressed and anxious in this fast-paced world for various reasons, leading to emotional imbalances. Yoga helps in regulating emotions by calming the mind and improving overall well-being.
Practicing yoga postures or asanas releases tension from the body and relaxes the muscles, which reduces stress levels. It also increases blood flow to the brain, promoting positive thoughts and feelings. By focusing on breathing during yoga, one can release built-up emotions that may have been suppressed for long periods.
Furthermore, meditation is an essential component of yoga that helps manage emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression, etc., by inducing a state of relaxation within the mind. Meditation requires one to focus entirely on their breath while letting go of distracting thoughts or negative emotions.
Yoga promotes self-awareness through mindfulness practices like gratitude journaling or introspection exercises so individuals can recognize when they feel emotionally overwhelmed and take steps toward restoring balance.
Incorporating yoga into daily life has many benefits, including improved emotional health and wellbeing for both men and women alike.
Yoga for Spiritual Health
Yoga is a physical exercise and an art of spiritual well-being. It helps us to connect with our inner self, which brings peace and calmness to the mind. Yoga for Spiritual Health concentrates on finding meaning in life beyond materialistic things.
Practicing yoga strengthens the connection between body, mind, and soul. It allows us to tune out from distractions and focus on our higher selves. During meditation or mindfulness practices, we can experience profound clarity and insight that lead to more significant spiritual growth.
Practicing yoga regularly teaches us to let go of negative thoughts that hold us back from reaching our true potential. We become more forgiving towards ourselves and others by understanding that everyone has their journey in life.
Moreover, practicing yoga enhances our compassion; it teaches us to love unconditionally without any expectations. We start seeing everything around us as interconnected, which motivates us towards acts of kindness.
Yoga for Spiritual Health creates a space where one can explore spirituality at its core while improving mental health simultaneously.
System of Total Health Benefits
The benefits of adopting a system of total health through yoga are numerous and far-reaching. This holistic wellness approach addresses physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
One significant benefit is improved flexibility, strength, and balance. Asanas or yoga postures work on different muscle groups in the body, which help support overall fitness levels.
Another significant advantage is stress reduction, as yogic breathing exercises calm the mind and slow the nervous system’s response to stressors.
Yoga can also help improve sleep quality by reducing anxiety levels that lead to insomnia. The practice allows individuals relax their bodies before bedtime, leading them into a deep state of restful slumber.
In addition to these physical benefits, practicing yoga cultivates mindfulness, and self-awareness and promotes positive thinking patterns while providing an avenue for introspection.
Incorporating a regular yoga practice into your lifestyle contributes significantly to developing inner peace that reflects outwardly in one’s relationships with family members, friends, co-workers etc.
Importance of Breathing in a System of Total Health
Breathing is an essential part of our lives and significantly impacts our health. In yoga, breathing techniques or Pranayama improve the overall quality of life. It is considered as one of the foundational benefits of practicing yoga.
Regular breathing exercises can help reduce stress levels, anxiety, and depression. It also helps in improving lung capacity, strengthening respiratory muscles, and increasing oxygen supply to the body’s tissues.
Incorporating proper breathing techniques into your daily routine can help you maintain good physical health by enhancing blood circulation throughout the body while relaxing your mind.
Slow deep breaths using the diaphragmatic breathing technique send signals to the brain that triggers a relaxation response. This process relaxes tensed muscles, reducing fatigue levels and improving sleep patterns.
Incorporating proper breathing practices into your daily routine not only provides physiological benefits but also leads to mental clarity and emotional balance making it an integral part of total health system through consistent practice over time.
Meditation for Total Health
Meditation is an essential part of a system of total health. It helps calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve focus. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and its benefits have been scientifically proven.
When meditating, it’s crucial to find a quiet and peaceful place where you won’t be disturbed. You can sit on the floor or a chair with your back straight and your hands resting on your lap. Focus on your breath as you inhale slowly through your nose, hold for a few seconds, then exhale through your mouth.
As thoughts emerge during meditation, observe them without judgment or attachment. Acknowledge them but don’t let them distract you from focusing on your breath.
Regular meditation has numerous benefits, including lowering blood pressure, improving sleep quality, boosting the immune system, and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders.
Integrating meditation into daily life can help promote overall well-being by providing mental clarity that leads to better decision-making skills while cultivating inner peace throughout each day.
Posture for Total Health
Posture is crucial to overall health, and incorporating yoga into your daily routine can significantly improve posture. Yoga helps strengthen the muscles supporting good posture, such as the core, back, and neck muscles. By practicing yoga regularly, you develop an awareness of your body’s alignment and learn how to correct postural imbalances.
Sitting at desks for extended periods or staring down at phones can cause poor posture over time. This can lead to chronic neck, shoulders, and lower back pain. However, practicing yoga poses like downward-facing dog or bridge poses regularly can relieve discomfort caused by prolonged sitting.
Another benefit of improved posture through yoga practice is better breathing habits. When we stand tall with an open chest, it allows us to take deeper breaths which increases oxygen flow in our body, leading to higher energy levels.
Moreover, having good posture improves digestion because all organs are aligned properly, allowing food to pass through smoothly without any difficulty or blockages. It also reduces stress on spine nerves resulting in decreased spinal-related pains.
Incorporating yoga into your daily routine is one way to improve your overall physical health while developing proper postural habits that will last a lifetime!
The Foundational Benefits of Yoga
The foundational benefits of yoga go beyond just physical health. Yoga is a holistic practice that promotes overall well-being. At its core, yoga brings balance to the mind and body.
One of the primary benefits of yoga is increased flexibility and strength. The various poses in yoga help stretch and tone muscles, improving mobility and reducing the risk of injury.
Yoga also helps reduce stress levels by promoting relaxation through deep breathing exercises and meditation techniques. By calming the mind, you can better manage your emotions, improving mental health.
Another foundational benefit of yoga is improved posture. Many people spend countless hours sitting at desks or staring at screens, leading to poor posture habits that can cause chronic pain or discomfort. Practicing yoga regularly helps counteract these effects by strengthening core muscles essential for good posture.
One underlying benefit of practicing yoga consistently over time is increased self-awareness and mindfulness. As you become more attuned to your body’s needs through regular practice, you may make healthier choices both on and off the mat.
Yoga is a system of total health that can benefit your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It offers numerous benefits to help you achieve balance in all aspects of your life.
Incorporating yoga into your lifestyle can improve posture, breathing techniques, and meditation practices. You’ll also be able to cultivate awareness of the mind-body connection while reducing stress levels and anxiety.
The foundational benefits of yoga make it an excellent choice for anyone looking to lead a healthy life. Whether you’re new to yoga or have been practicing it for years, there’s always something new to learn about this ancient practice.
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