Application of Yoga in the management of stress-related illnesses

Nishi Misra, R.K.Tripathi, Aquib Javed & U.D. Panday
Defence Institute of Psychological Research

This is practically a quote from the Mother -- Illness is the outer expression of a disharmony in the inner being. Unless this inner disorder is healed, the outer cure cannot be total and permanent. There are two kinds of disequilibrium: functional and organic. Generally, illnesses due to functional imbalance are cured much more quickly than the others. The causes of this imbalance can be both internal and external. There is a relation between the body and the mind. It is the mind which makes the body ill. The fast life of today, due to the numerous technological changes, has given rise to a number of stress-related illnesses, prominent being the psychosomatic ailments. Drugs are not the total cure as these illnesses involve a man's body and mind. Yoga as a form of holistic therapy has proved very efficacious. According to the Yogic text there are 5 kosas or sheaths in a person's personality -- the annamaya kosa (the physical frame), the pranmaya kosa (the life principle), the manomaya kosa (creative power), vijnanmaya kosa (the power to discriminate) and the anandmaya kosa (the embodiment of bliss). The integrated yoga therapy aims at correcting disturbances at these various levels or kosas by means of kriyas, asanas, pranayam, mediation and self-analysis. The aim is to heal from within, i.e. in a holistic way so that external aids can be dispensed with. The present paper discusses in detail the basis of Yoga therapy, its benefits and the use of Yoga as a therapeutic aid in the management of stress-related disorders, particularly psychosomatic disorders like bronchial asthma, diabetes, mellitus, hypertension, migraine, coronary disease, thyroid disturbances, menstrual disturbances, peptic ulcers, colitis, and the like. The advantages of Raj-Yoga in health and healing have also been discussed.

This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002