This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007

 

Stress management through Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali

Lalitha Panguluri — Mother Theresa Women’s University, Guntur

 

The present world is experiencing the accelerating speed of the modern illness: stress. Selye has defined stress as “the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made upon it.” According to stress researcher Lazarus, stress begins with the appraisal of the situation. Almost every system in the body is effected by stress. The key for management of stress is the positive evaluation of the situation. This is possible through yoga.

Yoga is a way of life. Yoga considers the human being as a whole-body, mind and spirit together. Disintegration of this personality leads to ‘stress’. Yoga aims at harmonizing the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the personality. The Indian Sage Patanjali presented an eight-fold path for attaining salvation. The path is called Ashtanga Yoga or eight part yoga i.e yama, niyama, asana, panayam, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi.

The first four steps have greater effect on the physical personality of the individual and are called Bahiranga yoga and the next four have greater effect on the internal personality of the individual and are called Antaranga yoga.

One can practice this Ashtanga yoga with slight modifications in the present day society without deviating from the basic principles. This makes an individual think and live in a positive way with a philosophical view. This helps him to address the life challenges without distress.

But whether we use yoga for spiritual transformation or for stress management and physical well-being, the benefits are multiple and amazing, if practiced regularly and with faith.

Email the author, Ms. Lalitha Panguluri, at lalitpani@yahoo.co.in