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Importance of Yoga in Cancer Management

Importance of and Need to Complement Conventional Treatment with Yoga Therapy

  • Today most of the normal ailments of human beings are recognized as psychosomatic, that is, lack of integration between the mind and body, and poor interaction between them leads to bodily ailments.
  • It is true that ailments in human being can be due to external attacks by bacteria, viruses, etc. It can also be due to poison or injection of substances not suitable for the body. Ailments can also be due to environmental conditions and violent changes in environment. Some of the ailments are caused by pollution (air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, etc.) It is also known that many diseases are related to genetic disorders. The list is long.
  • However, why is it that when the same viruses and bacteria are present all around, only some get affected and some do not? The answer lies in the ability of the body to adapt to changes in the environment.
  • It is recognized that our body has been designed as a flexible / adaptive instrument, which can quickly adapt to changes in various conditions. Yoga is a tool, which enables quick body adaptation to challenging conditions and constant renewal of the body being subjected to severe external attacks.
  • Practice of Yoga enables the mind to be prepared to face serious negative situations and makes the body flexible to go through tough conditions with ease.
  • The term yoga means integration. The integration is mainly of the mind and body, but also of the multiple bodies that the human being possesses, as per Vedic thinking.
  • Vedic thought recognizes not just one single human body - that is, the physical body, but a set of bodies that work together and enable the physical body to function properly. The other bodies which are holding the various biological systems and the various cells of the body together are -
- Physical body (Annamaya kosam)
- Pranic body (Pranamaya kosam)
- Mind (Manamaya kosam)
  • - The programmed model of the body (which is used as the benchmark as per which the restoration of the body takes place after any problems that change the body shape, condition etc. are overcome) - What is today known as genetic programme of the human body. (Vignanamaya kosam) this is recognized as body in itself and acts as the benchmark for growth of various organs and body shape and size from the womb to post teen age long after birth.
  • - Bodily radiance (Anandamaya kosam) - it can also be considered as the set of 'satisfiers' that drive all human beings and their bodily functions. The variations in this body are reflected as variations in personality traits and drivers of individuals.
  • - Soul (Atma)
  • The soul is said to drive each one of the lower levels through various stages right up to the physical body.
    Yoga aims to integrate the physical body with the mind and the pranic bodies. Yoga can be practised in three forms

    Types of Yoga:

    • Physical Yoga (Yogasanas)
    • Pranic Yoga consisting of Pranayama, Mudra (body postures) and Bandha (holding certain organs tight).
    • Mind level yoga consisting of various kinds of meditation, yogic sleep (yoga nidra), visual imagery (chidakasa dharana) etc.
    • Out of these, in the high speed modern days, yoga nidra is found to be highly effective, along with different yogasanas.
    • For patients practicing yoga, the body and soul get ready and well prepared to receive the medical treatment - modern medicine or any other alternative or complementary therapies.
    • With practice of yoga, the speed of recovery of patients would be much higher.
    • Depending upon the type of disease and the strength of the body, different practices can be recommended.
    • For people, who are in good health, a combination of physical yogasanas - carefully chosen as per the specific needs of the patient - , pranayama and meditation to get the best benefits is recommended. If the work atmosphere is highly stressful, he or she should practice daily yoga-nidra.
    • It is known that migraine, constant pain and low level of bodily immunity, external attack of viruses, bacteria, etc. can be controlled with the practice of yogasanas combined with pranayama and meditation.
    • I would like to highlight one particular form of yogic practice, which increases the immunity level of both patients and non-patients, which is called yoga Nidra. Yogic sleep can be termed in clinical terminology as Psycho-neuro-immuno-therapy. In this patient need not have to do any special exercise. His body is at deep rest as if he is in deep sleep. The mind and the brain are not at sleep and are fully awake. The brain waves of very low stress are released - that is, predominantly deep sleep type of brain waves are released (low frequency alpha rays?? - to be rechecked)
    • While doing Yoga Nidra the mind is fully awake while the body is in deep sleep. Attention is rotated around various organs of body, joints and the neural and blood flows, etc. Depending upon the need of the patient, or the healthy individual, the organ/s, which are affected are paid special attention to and softly yellow glowing prana or red glowing prana is allowed to caress around the organ. The message for the ailment is given softly to release the body from the problem. This is found to be very effective. At the end of the so called "Tour of the Mind", the mind is taken outside the body and beyond to rest in very satisfying and happy environmental conditions like moonlight, lakes, forests, sunrise, places of worship that gives satisfaction to the person concerned.
    • At the end of the yoga Nidra session, the mind is brought back into the body and the normal behaviour is resumed.
    • As part of the yoga Nidra, often the practice of Chidakasa Dharana (yogic visualization) is recommended. In yogic visualization, the mind is made to visualize extremely positive situations in respect of the afflicted part of the body. For example, in case of lung cancer, we can visualise the lungs to be in good condition and fully recovered and performing well.. As part of the Chidakasa Dharana the pranic power in bright yellow / red colours is allowed to be used. Surprisingly its practice reduces the problem with the organ concerned. Even though the relief may be marginal in some cases, because there are no negative effects, it should be practiced. Over time it improves the quality of life substantially.
    • Today practice of yoga is being accepted worldwide particularly in western countries. To include it as adjuvant to conventional therapy, would speed up the recovery, reduce possibility of unrest and definitely improve the quality of life. Brief notes on Yoga Nidra and Chidakasa Dharana are enclosed.