Regular practice of yoga can do wonders for your health on all fronts, writes SHEEL VARDHAN SINGH. It is a deeply liberating experience, he adds
Relationships gone sour remain with us as a load for a very long time. They constantly gnaw at our mind, upset our emotional balance and adversely impact our health. It is said that time heals but the scars remain. With the passage of time, wounds turn into memories. However, a small trigger could turn memories into raw wounds again. This vicious cycle can lead to a depressive spiral. Yoga’s healing powers can help to break this cycle.
Yogic healing is achieved with asana, pranayama, dharana and mantra sadhana. What really is sadhana? Sadhana is a way, a path. It is also a method of transformation. Further, sadhana is a journey from the impure towards the pure. The impure relates to the world of name, fame, ideas and that is our normal mind where it is the ego that is interacting with the world. The pure relates to atman and acceptance of the world without delusions or illusions. That is the world, as it exists.
When sadhana is done regularly, with conviction and over a long period of time, it transforms a person into being more simple and natural internally. From this pure mind arises affection, love, compassion and devotion. These bring us closer to divinity and atman bhava — that is, seeing your own Self in others. Above all, this journey on the path of yoga leads us to acceptance of individuals and circumstances.
In yoga sadhana, the healing process is threefold: physical, mental and psychic. At the physical level, we work through asanas and pranayama — that is, Hatha Yoga, to purify the body. At the mental level, we connect to our inner Self and begin the journey within. This is achieved through pratyahara, dharana and mantra. The psychic level is purified by Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Naad Yoga and Laya Yoga. However, most of us need to begin the healing process at a very basic level, that is, at the physical and mental levels and for this, asanas, pranayama, dharana and mantra chanting are useful. They balance, heal and liberate. You feel free.
According to Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutra, asana is sukham-sthiram-asanam, that is, the posture in which one experiences joy, happiness and stability. This is achieved when asanas are done with awareness. Pranayama balances the pranic body and has subtle influence on the mind. According to one’s needs, specific pranayamas are done in order to energise or calm the mind. Dharana sharpens the mind and improves your focus.
Mantras are sound vibrations; they help you to connect the inner Self to the cosmic energy and help you overcome energy blockages within. Mantras are powerful and work at a deep level to transform from within. For centuries, mantras have been used to improve spiritual status as well as to deal with distress. Mahamrityunjaya Mantra, Gayatri Mantra and Goddess Durga’s 32 names are some of the popular beneficial mantras.
With yoga and mantra sadhana, one achieves harmony with the Self and with the world. The body becomes healthy, the prana balances and at the level of spirit, the process ‘sets you free’ and unravels creativity in life.
The only constant in life is change. What sadhana does is to put the sadhak or aspirant on the path of acceptance, change, adaptation and deep within, it inculcates the ability to step back and see the world dispassionately.